|Graduate falls in a well, lives to tell
RELEASED: Sept. 11, 2003
DANVILLE, KYAfter graduating in May, Centre's Lauren Kallmeyer of Villa Hills, Ky., accepted a position with the Student Conservation Association, a national provider of conservation service opportunities. Kallmeyer's internship at a national park in Arizona is the perfect pairing of her anthropology/sociology degree and her love of adventure. In the following article she gives a glimpse into her life at Montezuma Castle National Monument and how Centre prepared her for the challenge.
In mid-June, while searching the Internet for interesting, adventurous jobs, I came across the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Web site. They were advertising positions that needed to be filled immediately. After noticing a position with "bachelor's degree in anthropology desired," I sent my resume to them via e-mail on a Sunday night.
By Monday morning the SCA had already received my resume and sent it to Montezuma Castle National Monument in Arizona. I immediately got a call from a park ranger named Rex.
After a series of phone interviews with Ranger Rex, I was convinced it was a great opportunity and began to plan my move out west.
Within two weeks, I had bought a new car (the old one couldn't make it 2,000 miles and back), packed up and left for the drive to Camp Verde, Ariz. Four days later, I arrived in the 110-degree heat and desert that was to become my new home for three months.
I live inside the national monument, which is pretty cool because I'm at work as soon as I walk out my front door everyday. Montezuma Well is the park where I spend most of my time. It's a natural limestone sink, similar to the Cenotes in Mexico. Prehistoric Hohokam and Sinagua Native American ruins surround the Well, along with an irrigation ditch that the prehistoric peoples used to divert water from the Well to irrigate their crops.
In fact, this well was held sacred by prehistoric Native American peoples and is still considered sacred to several modern Native American tribes. Two of my favorite areas of anthropology are sacred sites and indigenous peoples. Therefore, after studying Christian and Islamic sacred sites with Phyllis Passariello (Centre associate professor of anthropology) in Europe and North Africa, and the indigenous Latin American culture with Rick Axtell (Centre associate professor of religion), I feel very lucky that I'm able to continue my interest in these areas through my work at Montezuma Well in Arizona.
As an SCA intern, I perform all the basic duties of a park ranger which include patrolling the park roads and trails and talking with visitors. I give at least one interpretive program to the public each day. I also have several side projects I'm working on, such as a prehistoric pottery demonstration and a display about native medicinal plants in the area.
This job covers a wide array of subjects. I learned about many of these while at Centre, and others are new. I've had to learn all of the plants and animals that live here at the Well, and a few of these species are found nowhere else on earth. I work with environmental science, botany, biology, zoology, anthropology and archaeology on a daily basis. Just like my liberal arts education at Centre, I feel as if I'm getting a new sort of "liberal Arizona desert" education, and I love it!
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