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.