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Interior Department Recognizes UW’s Kelly

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University of Wyoming Department of Anthropology Professor Robert Kelly received the Secretary of Interior’s Partnerships in Conservation Award for a project that uses ice patch archaeology and paleobiology to track climate change.

The award honors organizations that have achieved exemplary conservation results through public-private cooperation and community engagement. Kelly was cited for his work with the Glacier National Park Ice Patch Archaeology and Paleoecology Project.

“The Partners in Conservation Awards offer wonderful examples of how America’s greatest conservation legacies are created when communities from a wide range of backgrounds work together,” says Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes, who announced the winners at an award ceremony. “These awards recognize dedicated citizens from across our nation who collaborate to conserve and restore America’s great outdoors; to encourage youth involvement in conservation; and to forge solutions to complex natural resource challenges.”

The Glacier National Park Ice Patch Archaeology and Paleoecology Project is a first-ever cultural resources partnership for the park, with tribal and university partners conducting fieldwork to survey, map and sample stable ice patches in the park.

“The research will be used to establish a National Park Service-wide protocol for the collection, documentation, analysis and curation of artifacts recovered from melting ice patches,” Kelly says.

The award citation notes the project has directly engaged Native Americans in National Park Service cultural and natural resource stewardship in an era of climate change. The project has reached a wide audience, including tribal schools, with educational and interpretive materials.

Currently director of the Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, Kelly served as department head from 2005-2008. He oversaw the planning, construction and move to the new Anthropology Building. A past president of the Society for American Archaeology, he is an internationally recognized expert on hunting and gathering peoples, and has worked on archaeological projects throughout the United States and South America.

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