During a surprise ceremony Wednesday at the Anasazi Heritage Center, local resident Marty Costos was presented with the BLM Volunteer of the Year award for her dedication to archaeology education and public lands stewardship.
“You really don’t know why I’m here do you?” said John Mehlhoff, BLM acting state director for Colorado, before announcing the award at a well-attended BLM potluck.
“I had no idea,” Costos said. “Thank you so much. I feel like I’m winning an Oscar.”
Her performance as a 12-year volunteer with the AHC deserves such an honor, Mehlhoff said.
“Your extraordinary efforts have gone above and beyond, so we thank you and look forward to many more years,” he said.
Costos is well-known for her curator tours of the impressive archaeology archives below the museum, a must for every local, and a special treat for visitors who find out about them.
“Since Marty began doing the tours, locals have come back multiple times to hear her explain our collection,” said Bridget Ambler, supervisory curator for the Center. “She is amazing and we could not do what we do without help from all of our volunteers.”
Mehlhoff took Costos’ archive tour before the award presentation, observing her enthusiasm and knowledge of the collection first hand.
The Curatorial Department at the BLM Anasazi Heritage Center and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument nominated Costos for the award.
As a volunteer, Costos has developed educational collections, cataloged archaeological materials, taught school groups, assisted with artifact conservation, completed condition reports for exhibit materials and assisted in inventorying archaeological artifacts excavated on sites as part of the Dolores Archaeological Program. She also provided weekly “behind the scenes” curation tours for the public. The tours often have a waiting list and are very popular with visitors.
Costos has been a dedicated volunteer at the Anasazi Heritage Center since 2002. So far, she has dedicated 1,676 hours of her time, the equivalent of a full time staff person for a year.
“Marty has consistently stepped up to the plate, and always has a great attitude,” said Marietta Eaton, BLM manager for Canyons of the Ancients. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
The BLM Colorado Volunteer of the Year Award has been presented annually since 2006.