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Chimney Rock Interpretive Association

CRIA is important because it preserves history & culture and without protection and preservation it is lost forever. When you donate to CRIA you are supporting an organization that is devoted to educating, preserving, protecting a culturally significant piece of history in southwest Colorado.

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Geology of Chimney Rock Tour

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
General population
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

This 1.5 hour guided tour explores local geology and it relationship to the daily lives of the ancestral Puebloans who live at Chimney Rock. Rock types impact structure, pottery, tools and soil productivity; geological processes determine the landscape and at Chimney Rock, play a central role in climate. This special tour is offered only a few times during the season and was introduced in 2018. It is a huge hit with the visitors!

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

We have received many positive comments via trip adviser and our customer satisfaction survey cards.

Stories at Sunset

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

General population

Description

Gather at the Great Kiva as sunset approaches to hear about Native American culture, history and stories. Native American guest speakers from various tribes across the southwest will join us for this rare and enriching experience at Chimney Rock. Afterwards, guests return to the upper parking lot to enjoy the sunset. Guest can bring a blanket or camp chair for comfort, a light jacket and a flashlight to light your back to your vehicle after sunset.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Trip adviser and customer survey cards are gathered for all events at the monument and documented. This is a new program for 2018 with two special dates only. Data will be complied at the end of the season of the success of this program.

Life at Chimney Rock

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
Children (4-12 years)
Families
General population

Description

This free, family-oriented festival is held at Chimney Rock's Visitor Center area. Step back in time as volunteers and artisans demonstrate ancient tools and crafts. Visitors may make a pot, throw an atlatl (a type of throwing spear), pound yucca leaves to release their fibers, carve their own petroglyph, grind corn with a mano and metate, watch a volunteer spin dog hair using a drop spindle, see an expert flint knapper create hand tools, and learn how Native Americans make flutes. The two day festival is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day and includes Native American arts and crafts for sale. CRIA financially supports the Native American vendors that travel long distances to this event.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Customer satisfaction cards are distributed to the public. This event is a huge hit for people of all ages!

Night Sky Program

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Families

Description

CRIA offers two different Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Programs; Stars & Galaxies and Our Solar System. For both programs, your evening begins with an interactive discussion at the Visitor Cabin. Topics will include how the ancient people who periodically inhabited the site lived, how they used the unique landscape of the Chimney Rock area to view the sky and what special astronomical events they might have seen. We will also talk about the current night sky and what planets and other objects we hope to see. As sunset approaches, we'll drive to the High Mesa parking lot where volunteer astronomers await with telescopes to provide a closer look at the wonders of the night sky. While we wait for our eyesight to adjust to the growing darkness, a short talk will explain how telescopes help us to better view night-sky objects and how the different types of telescopes work. Telescopes will focus on different features and the volunteers will change that focus periodically during the viewing time. Even if several telescopes happen to be pointed at the same object, the view will likely be different because of variations in telescope design, eyepieces, aperture, and magnification. What do you notice? Viewing is scheduled to continue until about one hour after maximum darkness or the last guest leaves, whichever is later.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Customer satisfaction survey's are distributed with each program and trip adviser reviews are calculated. Very positive results! In the 2018 season our attendance has grown to capacity for this event.

Audio-Guided Tours

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Disabled
Families

Description

Audio-guided walking tours offered daily between 10:30 am and 3:00 pm. Pre-recorded audio commentary gives in-depth information about the structures viewed and the people who lived there.
The audio tours include breathtaking overlook of the Piedra River Valley and Peterson Ridge. One-third-mile loop, paved, ADA accessible, takes you to our 44-foot diameter excavated Great Kiva as well as excavated pit house and other unexcavated structures.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Customer satisfaction survey cards are distributed and trip advisor comments are calculated. 95% of the reviews gave us 4 out of 5 stars.

Guided 2 hour site tours

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Families
General population

Description

Our two-hour tour includes the Kiva trail (approximately first hour of the tour) and the Pueblo Trail (approximately second hour of the tour). The tours are unscripted by volunteers. No two tours are the same with volunteers adding their own flar to each tour!
Breathtaking overlook of the Piedra River Valley and Peterson Ridge. One-third-mile loop, paved, ADA accessible, takes you to our 44-foot diameter excavated Great Kiva as well as excavated pit house and other unexcavated structures.
Awe inspiring 360°views views of the San Juan Mountain Range and the twin spires from the Great House Pueblo. Can only be accessed through a guided tour. This moderately challenging unimproved trail has a 200-foot elevation gain and exposure to heights. Features a multi-family dwelling, several unexcavated structures and a Chacoan Great House Pueblo (7,600-feet elevation).

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

customer satisfaction surveys and trip advisor reviews give us over a 4 stars out of 5 each year!

Sunrise Programs

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Families
General population

Description

There are two sunrise programs offered by CRIA at the monument. The summer solstice and the fall equinox.
Observe the summer solstice and fall equinox amid the ancient ruins of Chimney Rock mesa. Attendees enter the National Monument in pre-dawn darkness and meet a volunteer program leader who will escort them to two special places on Chimney Rock mesa. First, an unexcavated ruin, now called the Sun Tower, offers a dramatic vantage point to watch the sun rise over a notch in the San Juan Mountains. The volunteer program leader describes several alignments at Chimney Rock and their possible importance to ancient residents.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Customer satisfaction surveys are distributed and trip advisor reviews are calculated. This is an extremely popular event that sells out each year with high reviews.

Lecture Series

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

General population

Description

Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) hosts a Lecture Series five times a year to offer the opportunity for the public and CRIA volunteers to gather and hear a speaker whose topic typically relates to southwest archaeology, archaeoastronomy and/or Chacoan culture. The lectures are free of charge and also serves as continuing education for our current volunteers and recruitment of new volunteers. Experts in the field travel to Pagosa Springs to present at this series.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Attendance has doubled in the past two years for our lecture series.

Full Moon Program

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adults
General Public
Outdoor Recreationists
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

Each month during the summer, volunteers light the trail to the mesa top for a full moon program before the twin spires. A speaker tells the story of the people and their likely relationship with the moon, sun, and stars. Watch the full moon rise over the eastern mountain peaks to the music of a Native American flute. You'll be torn between looking West to see the spectacular sunset or focusing on the eastern mountain range to see the first sliver of moon.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

The full moon program is by far are most popular special event we have each year. We receive many emails, trip advisor reviews, facebook, and survey cards from people all over the world praising CRIA for this unique program and recommending it to others.

Volunteer Recruitment & Training

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adults

Description

It is crucial to recruit new volunteers each year to meet increased demand, to replace volunteers who leave the area or can no longer volunteer. There are significant costs involved in recruiting and training new volunteers and retaining 80 volunteers annually. Total amount needed is $12,000. Here's the breakdown:
a. Monthly potluck dinners bring volunteers together and serve as a continual educational opportunity. Renting the meeting space costs $600 annually.
b. As a recruitment tool, CRIA invites community members to attend potluck dinners, enticed with special speakers. This lecture series doubles as training for current volunteers. Speaker honorarium and travel expenses total $3,200 annually.
c. Each spring, all volunteers receive a free two-day training workshop. Space rental, food, and training materials costs total $2,200.
d. New and returning volunteers need First Aid/CPR Training at two-year intervals at $80 per person. Cost is $3,000 annually.
e. Volunteers receive volunteer uniforms which cost $2,300 annually.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

With introduction of the lecture series, CRIA doubled the number of volunteers who attended the two-day Spring Training workshop. At least half of those volunteers are active into mid-season, an amazingly high percentage considering the demands placed on them. All volunteers are surveyed regarding their satisfaction of the training and mentoring program. Comments have been overwelmingly positive and constructive feedback has been implimented each year to make training even better and continue high retention volunteer rates. We have many volunteers that have been with us over 20 years and counting!

FREE School Group Week

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21

Description

A week prior to opening the monument, Chimney Rock Interpretive Association volunteers offer free tours of the to all schools and other student groups. Tours are age-appropriate and include hands-on activities at preset "stations". Since introducing school group week in 2017, our attendance has tripled for this special week. Several hundred students experience a day learning about the ancient Puelboans at no financial cost to them or the school districts.
CRIA offers free tours to school groups all season but what makes school group week special is the added interactive activities and the intimate setting of having the monument all to themselves for a day!

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

We receive hundreds of thank-you letters from students and a number of teachers who bring their class each year. We have received thank you letters from entire classes that have visited during this week in addition to surveys we sent to each teacher. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Mobile Classroom

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21

Description

A committee composed primarily of retired elementary, secondary, and post-secondary teachers has proposed a series of projects to enhance the educational experience of students on special tours of Chimney Rock National Monument. Projects include:
▪ A newly redesigned Nature Trail will be developed in 2018/19 at the Monument. Stops include information about flora, fauna, and geology. Printing of a Nature Trail guide will be needed for this project.
▪ A Mobile Classroom kit that enables teachers to prepare students to get more value from the free tour of the Monument will need funding for replenishing materials. Kits will include books and samples as well as curricular material.
▪ Volunteers visit classrooms within an hour radius of the monument to prepare children for their visit with a talk and video.
▪ CRIA offers a "school group week" in the spring and fall prior to opening for free to regional schools. Stations are set up with various interactive activities for the children to obtain a deeper knowledge of the people and the place followed by a 2 hour tour of the structures.
▪ After their tour is complete each child receives a Junior Archaeologist workbook and upon completion a Jr. Archaeologist badge to wear home!


Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

As a test, a Pagosa Springs 2nd grade class used a sample kit to prepare for its free tour of the Monument, completed the Junior Archaeologist booklet, and enjoyed a variety of hands-on activities. CRIA received a thank-you letter from each student. This class teacher serves on the Education Initiative committee and provided feedback to the committee.
In May of 2017 CRIA had their first School Group Week- it was so popular we had to add an additional week in the fall after closing! Schools from as far as 2 hours away attended.

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