Intern Projects Include Audio Tour of the Anza Trail in the Sonoran Desert
by Cheryl Blanchard, Archaeologist, BLM
Last year, the Academy of American Studies at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix, Ariz., contributed three talented, accomplished, and enthusiastic interns to work with the Bureau of Land Management’s Lower Sonoran Field Office. Archaeologist Cheryl Blanchard sponsored the students.
Julie Rankin worked on the use of new media as a way to create a cell-phone audio tour at Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground. She researched several of the historic era stories that are evident at the site and has created some draft audio messages. These messages will be uploaded to the cell phone-based system that will allow visitors to scan a QR code and retrieve them for listening.
Forrest Revolinski worked on a similar audio tour for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail within the Sonoran Desert National Monument.
Emma Wood worked on an Interpretive Plan for the historic Big Horn Station. An interpretive plan is a document in which the themes, sub-themes, and potential messages are developed for a site. Big Horn Station is a 1920s era gas station and residence situated along old Highway 80, the main route to California. The BLM envisions this site as a place where some interesting stories can be told. Emma is an artist and decided that one of her art projects should center on a view of the old historic Big Horn Station. She presented her watercolor painting of this wonderful historic building to Cheryl.
All three interns worked on an additional element during the course of their individual projects: how to get youth interested in visiting public lands and historic sites. Each student has provided some insights into communicating better with this segment of the American public through interpretive materials.
The Academy of American Studies is a special program in the Deer Valley School District which emphasizes high academic achievement using in-depth lessons of U.S. history within a rigorous four-year program. The program culminates in an internship and senior project with an organization that reflects some of the interests of the students.
The three interns showed enthusiasm, insight, and discipline as they have accomplished their personal goals, as well as the three official BLM interpretive projects. They earned the right to proudly wear the additional red, white, and blue Academy tassel on their graduation caps! Huzza!! All three interns are currently in college.
Cheryl Blanchard with Forrest Revolinski and his display on Juan Bautista de Anza.