A group of College of Western Idaho (CWI) students took a non-traditional approach to spring break this year heading to Celebration Park, south of Melba, for a week of work, learning, and fun. Members of the CWI Anthropology and Geology clubs spent March 24-29 mapping and recording petroglyphs at the park, kicking-off a multi-year collaboration with the Canyon County Parks, Recreation and Waterways department.
“This opportunity has been tremendous for our students,” says Social and Behavioral Sciences Instructor, Nikki Gorrell. “The experience is providing a really valuable component to their education, giving them a chance to take anthropological theory and apply it to real world context. Along with the field experience, they are also learning teamwork, leadership, problem solving, and critical thinking.”
Gorrell says 15-20 students participated in the project each day, including a core group that camped out all week at the park. Students from the Geology Club helped create GPS mapping, while Anthropology Club students recorded and photographed the glyphs. She says the focal point for the group is recording the glyphs according to guidelines established by the American Rock Art Association, which has never been done at Celebration Park.
“On an academic level this is just incredible, because it is real field experience,” says Anthropology Club President, Jessica Mylan. “For me personally, it is really fulfilling because I get to do this with an incredibly smart group of people who are also some of my best friends. If we could, I would do this for another week.”
According to Gorrell, the goal is to make the partnership a multi-year project to allow students an opportunity to help continue moving the data collection forward.
“It is so rewarding to know we are part of starting this project,” Mylan says. “I hope I can come back and help again next year, if not for 10 more years, to see the project through.”