Coconino NF volunteers recognized by Forest Service Chief

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Jan. 20, 2021 — A number of Coconino National Forest volunteers have been recognized by the Chief of the Forest Service for their dedication to archaeology projects throughout the forest.

Congratulations to each of the following who were all awarded for volunteering more than 1,000 hours each with the Coconino National Forest's Heritage Program:

  • Jennifer Blue
  • Nancy Brian
  • Marlene Conklin
  • Lisa Deem
  • Jerome Ehrhardt
  • Hanna Flagg
  • June Freden
  • Walter Gosart
  • Diana Graceffa
  • James Graceffa
  • Heather Green
  • Ned Greeneltch
  • Keith Greiner
  • Jeanne Greiner
  • Spence Gustav
  • Gary Hellems
  • Richard Henderson
  • Dr. Ronald Krug
  • Scott Newth
  • Iris Restivo
  • Sharon Olsen
  • John Schaefer
  • Joan Sexton
  • Bill Sexton
  • Jeanne Smith
  • R.J. Smith
  • Jerry Walters
  • Thomas Woodall
  • Anne Worthington
  • Rick Zabor

The Heritage Program was founded in 1974 by Peter Pilles, the Coconino National Forest’s first archaeologist, and was created to research, preserve and interpret archaeological sites within the forest. Each year, volunteers donate about 30,000 cumulative hours of work to the program, which equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in value.

As part of their work, volunteers have recorded petroglyphs and pictographs at rock art sites, completed excavation and stabilization work and worked as part of a long-term archaeological survey team.

Volunteers have also worked to analyze, photograph and document thousands of artifacts. These artifacts have been collected from excavations – conducted by the forest as well as various universities and museums – and material confiscated by Forest Service law enforcement officers during investigations of site vandalism and looting. These volunteer efforts have allowed the Forest Service to return ancestral artifacts to the Hopi Tribe and the Pueblo of Zuni.

The work of Coconino National Forest volunteers not only improves trails, campgrounds and recreation sites, but also assists with public education and visitor information.

“We expect and hope 2021 will see the revitalization of our Heritage volunteer program, which has come to a standstill since the COVID pandemic struck,” Pilles said. “Volunteers are the foundation of our public program. They are truly one of the forest’s greatest resources.” 

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