As my time draws to an end working as an archaeological resource assistant with the US Forest Service, I'd like to reflect on all that I accomplished and all that was made possible BECAUSE of this program.
While working as an RA I developed a database of all African-American archaeological sites within Florida's three national forests, I wrote a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Doe Lake Recreation Building, a significant structure built specifically for African-American recreation during the deep south's segregation era.
I performed microscopic analysis of prehistoric ceramics, some as old as 4000 years old, and developed a database for cataloguing the ceramics analyzed.
I analyzed raw lithic materials used for making stone tools and even performed ultraviolet radiation testing on them to make them glow!
I performed extensive background research into the history of the Apalachicola National Forest during the early 20th century to make determinations of archaeological site eligibilty for the National Register of Historic Places and was even able to determine some sites as significant, saving them from future commercial projects.
I was able to spend time in all three national forests: Apalachicola, Osceola, and Ocala, and I was able to find wonderful mentors who have committed themselves to ensuring my success with my future employment with the Forest Service.
I planned and executed an archaeological expedition along the St. Johns River within the Ocala National Forest to locate archaeological sites and was able to correct site coordinates through this project and even located 2 additional unreported Indigenous mound sites.
I was able to perform extensive fieldwork and live the daily life of a forest archaeologist. I was able to fulfill my dream of archaeology and look forward to a permanent career in forest archaeology.
This has been a wonderful opportunity that has both humbled me and made me more sure of my career choice. I look forward to how I can continue to improve upon the Forest Service's mission, promote more public archaeology, and use my career to give voice to the people and cultures lost or silenced throughout time.
Thank you MANO Project and thank you Hispanic Access Foundation for this once in a lifetime opportunity! I am forever grateful.
Agency: U.S Forest Service
Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)
Location: National Forests in Florida - Supervisors Office