2011 Project of the Year: Tribal Preservation Crew Wows National Park Service

 

Winner: Southwest Conservation Corps

Cornell Torivio was instrumental in working with the Southwest Conservation Corps to create a Corps at the Acoma Pueblo. As a member of the community, Cornell has always strived to blend his two primary professional interests: historic/prehistoric preservation and work with Native American youth. With his 10 years of experience doing preservation work for the National Park Service as well as at the Acoma Pueblo, Cornell decided that he could offer more.

Working with local National Park Service (NPS) partners, Cornell has now helped to create a Tribal Preservation Program crew. The crew is comprised entirely of young Native Americans who have been trained by Cornell to preserve valuable historic and cultural sites.

The first project the crew successfully completed was stabilization work on a historic depot tank stage station at Petrified Forest National Park. The NPS was so impressed that it plans to develop more projects for the crew.

Program participants gain many marketable skills through the work. These skills include knowledge of how to document and photograph all work that is being accomplished at the site; how to implement “leave no trace” methods into the daily work routine so as to cause the least amount of impact; how to identify different types of mortars, stones, and adobe used at historic and prehistoric sites; knowledge of historic and current NPS standards and policies, as well as interpretive knowledge of the parks; and professional preservation trade skills and career development. While it is unlikely that all program participants will go into preservation work, some of the program graduates will likely fill the ranks of retiring NPS and other professional preservation workers.

But without doubt, all program participants gain greater appreciation of the value in preserving our country’s historic treasures. The partnership has also allowed the National Park Service to gain a dedicated and well-trained preservation crew that might also provide the agency with a good portion of its future archaeological preservation staff.