Another successful Summer Youth Intern Program has drawn to a close. Our interns made huge headway cataloguing three proveniences on Mesa Prieta. This year hundreds more petroglyphs were discovered and recorded by our hardworking interns, and for eight days our young people worked alongside their adult mentors in the field.
MPPP Project Director, Janet MacKenzie, a MS prepared archaeologist, organized and led the two-week program. The first day training of interns and adults took place at Historic Los Luceros, thanks to the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. The adult volunteers mentors attended the training as well to refresh themselves on the skills and concepts that the interns are being taught. Interns participated in a powerpoint presentation. One Team Leader conducted the sessions on metric measurement, safety and compass work. Joaquin Gallegos, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences at Northern New Mexico College trained the interns in GPS use. Summer Youth Intern Program alumna Aileen Cruz, Education Coordinator at Ohkay Owingeh, addressed the interns and emphasized how important the program is and how the skills learned will help interns find employment later on. Lunch was provided.
This year the Summer Youth Intern Program completed the recording of about 60 acres of very rugged terrain; much more climbing was necessary this year to reach proveniences above those done in 2015. Features from four time periods were identified: Archaic, Ancestral Puebloan, Historic and American periods.
The process of documentation includes taking metric measurements of the petroglyphs, using a GPS to record their location on a boulder, taking a photograph of each image, drawing the image and image categorization.
Because of the emphasis on working in teams, the interns develop interactive skills through learning and cooperation with their teammates and adult mentors. The temperatures often reach 90 degrees or more, but the interns suck it up and carry on with their work – another life lesson learned!
Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Goyette, also oversaw the implementation of a new pilot program to introduce an environmental education component into the Youth Program. Interns were instructed in the methodology of nature journaling in the field and spent the first half hour of each day observing, contemplating and writing and drawing their surroundings and expressing their thoughts about that and the activities they were doing in the program .
Northern New Mexico College donated the use of a computer lab for the final day's instruction by GIS/CAD professor Joaquin Gallegos in entering and managing recording data in a GIS database. The experience in the computer lab provides an introduction to a marketable skill for the interns.
After the process, as well as the two weeks, is over, it is time for a celebration! MPPP T-shirts, Certificates of Appreciation and a stipend were given to each student, and everyone ate a hearty lunch provided by Angelina's Restaurant in Española.
David Martinez, with five years of experience behind him, was a team leader for the 2016 season. "The hunger that I have for knowledge about these ancient people is never-ending ... one day we will finally be able to determine why these people would leave pictures for us to find. It is fascinating to me that science can help us discover the past. By analyzing and recording the petroglyphs we are bringing science and heritage together. I am glad I have been a part of this project because I am helping preserve the past and learning about scientific ways in how to do that."
On the post-program evaluation
94% of the interns indicated they wanted to pursue post-secondary education
72% wanted to obtain a science degree.
Summary of Summer Youth Intern Program, Years 2002-2016
Participants: Number of Youth Interns: 192, average 12.8 annually
Number of Young Leaders: 29, average 3.6 annually since 2009
Number of Adult Volunteers: 210, average 14 annually
Recording statistics: Number of proveniences recorded: 40
Total number of petroglyphs recorded: 9537
Total number of Cultural Landscape features recorded: 925
Average number of petroglyphs recorded per intern/leader: 43
A big THANK YOU to all our
Summer Youth Intern Program Participants!