Saturday, October 15, 2011
MESA PRIETA PETROGLYPH PROJECT EDUCATION PROGRAMS:
Katherine Wells with rock art panel.
Photo: Peter Faris, September 2011.
In addition to recording the rock art and working for its preservation the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project has a major focus on educational programming. One facet of this is providing docent-led tours of rock art, including tours for a 4th grade level curriculum they have developed for local public and Pueblo schools as a adjunct to the study of New Mexico history in the 4th grade social studies curriculum. These classes complete at least six classroom activities before visiting the Wells Petroglyph Preserve on Mesa Prieta for a field work day. In the field these students participate with adult volunteer docents in discovery hikes and identify petroglyph themes and elements and compare relative patina or rock varnish to estimate relative age. Such field trips give the students a real sense of the history and cultural significance of the rock art. Many of these students are descendants of the people who created the images centuries ago and they can experience a personal identification with the imagery and what they have learned about its creators.
In addition to helping these children develop a sense of identity with the creators of the rock art it is very hard to imagine that any of these students in later years will participate in vandalism against rock art sites. Such a program seems like a win-win situation for all concerned and could serve as a model for other rock art sites. It certainly deserves support and encouragement.
Donations may be mailed to: Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project, P.O. Box 407, Velarde, NM, 87582.