DOINews: BLM Utah, Partners Introduce Urban Youth to Utah's Rich Natural, Cultural Heritage

Last edited 09/05/2019

Youth displaying his work during a rock-art activity.

Fremont Archaeology Day includes a Creative Rock Art activity. Photo by BLM-Utah.

This summer, the BLM Utah, in partnership with Discovery Gateway Children's Museum in Salt Lake City, presented the “Utah's History, Heritage and Geology” series. The program featured weekly speakers who taught young visitors about Off-Highway Vehicle or OHV safety, engineering, recreation, archaeology and American Indian culture. The events were scheduled Friday afternoons throughout July and August and were free to the public.

The series kicked off with an outdoor safety and recreation demonstration. Participants rode an ATV simulator and met Tread Lightly's mascot, Lightfoot the Squirrel. Kids who completed all safety stations won helmets and safety gear through a raffle sponsored by ATK Motorcycles.


Lightfoot the Squirrel shows YMCA campers how to Tread Lightly! while exploring Utah's public lands. Photo by Jeanette Shackelford, BLM Utah.

The following week, Stacey Smith (Bureau of Reclamation) guided a STEM-based dam building/engineering lesson. It was exciting to watch the kids invent their own unique structures!

Youth taking part in a water-conservation and dam-building activity.

The water conservation and dam-building activity taught kids to think like engineers. Photo by Bureau of Reclamation.

Next, BLM National Historic Trail Lead Rob Sweeten inspired history buffs with his presentation on Utah's famous Pony Express, Old Spanish and Mormon Pioneer trails.

Two youth seated at a table; one holding up a photo of public lands.

Youth learn about Utah's famous historic trails. Photo by BLM-Utah.

Fremont Archaeology Day was presented by Jeanette Shackelford (BLM Utah) and Ashley Smith (Discovery Gateway Children's Museum), who engaged youth with Discovery Trunk artifact replicas, corn-grinding and rock art activities.

Two youth learning how to use tools made of rock to grind corn.

Grinding corn using a mano and metate is harder than it looks! Photo by BLM-Utah.

The series wrapped with Navajo educator Eileen Quintana's session on Utah's tribal history and heritage. She discussed cultural traditions while using plants, cradleboards and arrows to show how Utah's indigenous peoples lived. She even brought along Navajo youth dancers wearing traditional costumes.

Navajo educator standing beside a dancer she brought for her cultural presentation.

Navajo Educator Eileen Quintana (at right) brings dancers for her cultural presentation. Photo by BLM-Utah.

Through this new series, hundreds of urban youth and their families gained appreciation and respect for Utah's rich natural and cultural heritage.

By: Jeanette Shackelford, youth program lead, BLM-Utah

Oct. 6, 2014

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