A local archaeologist and educator has been named executive director of Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance.
Shaine Gans will lead the nonprofit, which focuses on environmental work, education and archaeological stewardship as a friends group for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
Gans switched jobs with longtime exectuive director Diane McBride, who will take over Gans’ previous job of assistant director.
Gans has a graduate degree in museum studies and a background in anthropology and archaeology. She has experience with education and public outreach programs and is an outdoor enthusiast.
“I will continue to engage the community with education and stewardship activities in partnership with monument officials,” Gans said. “We want to increase opportunities for the community to come out and visit the monument.”
Southwest Colorado Canyons Alliance runs archaeological site stewardship programs, monitors wilderness study areas, conducts archaeological education training for teachers, hosts volunteer work days and provides monument and museum tours for local students. It relies on a board of directors and about 80 trained volunteers to fulfill their missions.
For 2020, it anticipates 1,000 local students in grades K-12 will participate in the tours.
“We are working hard to inspire the next generation of stewards to protect these places for the future,” Gans said.
One of her goals is to emphasize the ancestral connection of archaeological sites with current Native American tribes through speakers and workshops.
“I’m interested in building and strengthening partnerships with descendant communities to share their diverse perspectives on the natural and cultural landscapes,” Gans said.
SCCA utilizes the national Project Archeology program to train teachers in curriculum and project-based earning. The workshops are in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and are open to any licensed teacher. In the most recent 3-day training, 18 educators came from Durango, Cortez, Mancos, Montrose, California, and Florida.
Other projects this year include recruiting new board members, hosting Four Corners Lecture Series presentations, helping the BLM install informational kiosks at monument trailheads, scheduling volunteer workdays and planning special events for this year’s 20th anniversary of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
“One of the perks of the job is the opportunity to get out on the landscape with people, whether adults or students, to see and appreciate the archaeological sites,” Gans said. “I look forward to field trips – every time you see and learn something new.”
SCCA is looking for dedicated volunteers to help with their missions, she said. A volunteer orientation is scheduled for March 7, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum.
For more information visit their website, or email [email protected]
Museum volunteers wantedInterested in working at the front desk at Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum? Contact Amala Posey-Monk, museum manager, at [email protected] or 970-882-5621.