BLM hits the mark with fourth grade archaeology day

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RBC | The BLM White River Field Office joined forces with Parkview and Meeker Elementary schools to inform and educate fourth graders about archaeology May 10-13 at Elks Park in Rangely and Paintbrush Park in Meeker.

Prior to the field days, BLM Archaeologists Luke Trout and Cody Walton visited classrooms to teach students about appropriate stewardship behavior at cultural sites.

Elementary students in Meeker and Rangely learned about protecting historic artifacts and got to practice using atlatls, prehistoric spear replicas | COURTESY PHOTOS

“We live in an area with a number of archaeologic sites, and once artifacts are illegally removed, you lose important evidence,” said White River Field Office Archaeologist Luke Trout. “It’s important to begin educating our children about treating cultural sites on public lands with respect.”

During activity days, students learned about rock art, Native American beadwork, and how archaeologists study the past by making inferences about artifacts. A highlight for the students was earning their BLM Jr. Ranger Badge and the chance to learn how to use the pre-historic atlatl to throw 5-foot long darts.

“I wanted to get our children interested in archaeology and the history of the area,” said White River Field Office Planning and Environmental Coordinator Heather Sauls. “I wanted to impress upon them the necessity of protecting our resources.”

The BLM also partnered with local site steward volunteers to put on the program. BLM site stewards receive training to monitor historic archaeologic sites throughout the state to preserve and protect local resources while educating visitors.

“We always liked archaeology and when we retired, we found our way into it [site stewards],” said Lynne Green, BLM site steward. “We went to a meeting and here we are…it kind of found us.”

The White River Field Office hopes to make this an annual event with the activity day at Canyon Pintado National Historic District so students can view rock art in person.

“We feel that school’s benefit by having a field day that complements the fourth grade social studies curriculum,” said Sauls. “The BLM also benefits by helping to educate students on how to ‘visit with respect’ when at a cultural site and also by getting the word out about our incredible resources in Rio Blanco County.”

Interested in visiting historic sites on public lands? For more information, visit https://www.blm.gov/visit/canyon-pintado-national-historic-district.


PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times