1 comment for “Archaeology and Outreach at the National Park Service

  1. Judson Finley
    October 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Dear Robert and Barbara,

    Thanks for this extremely insightful post about NPS efforts in archaeology and public outreach. I would like to add to this discussion by talking about my own experiences in both of these areas, which speaks also to the role of public outreach and archaeology in the Department of Earth Sciences here at the University of Memphis. Let me begin by saying a few things about the Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Units (CESU), which is a large cooperative of federal agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations with NPS serving as the lead and administrative entity. CESUs developed over the last decade and are an effort to promote cooperation between agencies and institutions for creative resource management solutions. Public outreach and student involvement are primary outcomes of cooperative agreements. CESUs are organized in several national regions (see the main CESU website at http://www.cesu.psu.edu/) and provide a network for members to work in all other units. This is a major and extremely successful outreach effort in my opinion that we can give thanks for to NPS. The University of Memphis is one of the newest members of the Great Rivers CESU, which has allowed me to work collaboratively with National Parks in other units.

    I would like to add to Barbara’s discussion of NPS-sponsored public outreach by saying a few things about a project I got off the ground this summer working with Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribal members in a collaborative Tribal Historic Preservation Training program involving the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Memphis, Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, and St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. I have worked for several years on NPS-sponsoroed archaeological research at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and have worked to develop relationships with local Native communities. Recently a group of THPOs and tribal elders requested the NPS to provide archaeological training opportunities for tribal members to promote growth of THPO programs. We successfully launched this program in July and August of 2011 with a six-week archaeological field school attended by eight Crow and Northern Cheyenne students. I developed a curriculum of applied archaeology that focused on fundamental tenchiques of archaeological survey, site identification, and documentation but also brought in relevant elements of cultural resource law such as NEPA, NHPA, ARPA, and AIRFA. We also spent considerable time discussing ethnography and traditional cultural properties (TCPs). All eight students completed the six-week program and earned an archaeological technician certificate from Northwest College. Several of these students have since entered college or continue to work as NPS interns. This program is a GREAT success and is sponsored almost entirely by NPS. To see a news article publised in the Billings, Montana Gazette, please visit http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_c87fc235-88c0-5c0b-8ae3-2ae0f143c52e.html.

    Thanks again for this great post on NPS efforts in public outreach. I (and others) could say much more about my own experiences in this matter–in fact a recent CESU-sponsored symposium at the Rocky Mountain Anthropological Conference in Missoula, Montana was dedicated to this very topic!!!

    Best Regards,
    Judson Finley

    Asst. Professor
    Dept. of Earth Sciences
    University of Memphis

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