A Beauty Queen, an Archaeologist and Wildlife Biologist find common ground at Hudson-Meng

Contact(s): Dennis Kuhnel, 308-432-0300

Luke Hittner demonstrates how to throw an atlatl

Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Research & Visitor Center was a non-typical gathering place for three young professionals; Miss Nebraska beauty queen contestant and aspiring teacher, anthropology student, St. Cloud University in Minnesota, and a recent graduate of Colorado State University’s Wildlife Biology program. All three arrived last week to work at one of the world’s most important archaeology excavation sites to advance their future careers in secondary education, the aspiring archaeologist hopes to join a federal land management agency, and just graduated Wildlife Biology student looking to use wildlife skills to study local habitats.

“The 2012 Hudson-Meng staff brings many different perspectives to their interactions with the public and school groups,” said Dennis Kuhnel, Director of the Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Research & Visitor Center.

Mariah Cook, a Miss Nebraska candidate said, “I am so excited to get this job to help prepare me for work as a teacher in secondary education and Social Sciences. Conducting tours for our visitors every day is great experience.” Mariah also wanted the opportunity to work for the federal government, not only to build an attractive resume’ but a future place-holder if she decides she does not want to spend the ‘next 30 years in a classroom.’

Luke Hittner is a senior anthropology student from Minnesota who appreciates working at a site that offers a direct link between archaeology, site interpretation for visitors and active excavation. “You just can’t learn hands-on archaeology in a classroom. It’s good to be out here and learn to excavate, measure, label and document ancient findings while you talk with visitors. It’s a rare opportunity to, “put a face on my profession!”

Katy Damon recently graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Wildlife Biology and emphasis in conservation biology. “I am very excited to spend the summer immersed in the Great Plains! Hudson-Meng offers many opportunities to learn about contemporary and prehistoric grasslands,” she said. While there, Katy’s skills will be used to help with studies looking at bats and prairie dog habitat, and insect studies.

The visitor center will be open seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fees are $5 for adults; $4.50 for seniors, $3 for children ages 5 – 12, and age 4 and under is free. For more information call the Visitors Center at 308-665-3900.