[NPS Arrowhead] U.S. Dept. of Interior National Park Service Archeology Program
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enhancing public outreach (photo) NPS interpreter with young visitors to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

A recent Harris poll, sponsored by the country's top archeological organizations, shows that Americans are strongly interested in archeology. The poll, however, revealed some major gaps in understanding. Heightening public awareness is pressing given the threats to archeological sites across the nation.

Federal agencies' mandate for public outreach continues to inspire innovations. Passport in Time is a successful Forest Service program where people take part in a variety of volunteer activities. At Colorado's Anasazi Heritage Center volunteers contribute invaluable time and service. Federal archeologists are taking the message to school children too, through initiatives such as BLM's Project Archaeology and the National Park Service’s Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans. The National Park Service has developed distance learning courses and other training for park rangers, archeologists, and others who educate the public. Such initiatives bridge the gap between the public and federal agencies and help to cultivate an ethic of stewardship.