Casa Grande Ruins National Monument near Coolidge, Ariz., is working to develop a Native American Conservation Corp program thanks to a grant from the National Park Foundation. Casa Grande was chosen to participate in the 2012 America’s Best Idea program, which funds park projects designed to connect diverse, under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways. Casa Grande’s program will employ a crew of six local Native American youth ages 15 to 18 for a period of six weeks. Crewmembers will work with monument staff to complete a variety of cultural and natural resource management tasks. The focus of these tasks will be preserving and protecting archaeological sites and revegetating previously disturbed areas.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument protects the multi-story “Great House” and the ruins of other ancient structures built by the people of the Sonoran Desert more than 800 years ago. Established as the nation’s first archaeological reserve in 1892, the Ruins sparked the beginning of the archaeological preservation movement in America. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cagr.