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Archaeological and Cultural Education

Educational Partnership with Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

During the winter months, Open Sky partners with Crow Canyon Archaeological Center to offer students a unique experiential education opportunity. Our winter course area, located in southeastern Utah, is part of a landscape that has been utilized by humans for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It is not unusual for students to find Ancestral Puebloan artifacts, such as pottery shards, a stone’s throw from the teepees in which they shelter. To enrich students’ understanding of the cultured history of the landscape on which they’re living, Crow Canyon educators from meet students and guides in the field to facilitate hands-on learning activities. These activities are meant to strengthen students’ awareness, respect, and stewardship of both the land and culture of the native peoples who inhabited this place before us.  

For all Open Sky students experiential learning with Crow Canyon is an integral part of their educational experience. The curriculum also meets state standards for science credit for our adolescent students. The curriculum is composed of two modules. The first module gives participants an understanding of what archaeology and anthropology are, as well as the scientific processes used to study human histories and cultures. Students also engage in important discussions about the legal, moral, and ethical implications of interacting with the artifacts they encounter and the importance of being good stewards to the land. The second module focuses on the nuts and bolts of archaeological recording. Students are introduced to some of the diagnostic indicators and tools used to understand, define, and record artifacts and working together, they record and map a section of the course area.

Our partnership with Crow Canyon exposes students to an educational experience they would be unlikely to receive in a traditional classroom setting, imparts powerful lessons about cultural history and land stewardship, and helps students contextualize their own position in the world. They learn that the challenges and successes previous civilizations faced are not so different from those faced by society today. Developing an understanding that humans have survived and thrived on the very same landscape helps to both widen students’ worldviews and give them the confidence that they too can survive and thrive in wilderness.