Casa Grande Ruins – part 1

Our Adventure – Casa Grande


We have just completed our third day as Volunteers at the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.  It is FANTASTIC!

The museum and site are outstanding.  The museum is well laid out with beautiful and informative displays, even the movie is an award winner (really, it won in 2013!). As visitors go through the museum, they are “blown away” by the history of the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People and their accomplishments.  As we talk with visitors, again and again the express their amazement at the accomplishments of these ancient people.

The park service (at least here) encourages the interpretive guides to create a presentation that reflects the personal interests of the presenter.  They have found that the presentations are much more engaging if the presenter has a personal connection to the topic.  So Judith and I have been poring over the many books and resources available to us to develop our own presentations – presentations that are both factually accurate and strike a resonant chord for each of us.  I completed my talk/outline and actually gave my first presentation today to a very small group (four people)!  Judith is still finalizing her outline.  The staff and other volunteers have been good to work with, and are very supportive and complementary of our efforts and progress.

We have our volunteer ranger uniforms! Judith with her ALT quilt and standing close to the Casa Grande for perspective.

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The busiest time at The Ruins is in the winter months after Christmas when there is a great influx of “snow birds”.  So we currently have had time to investigate much that the site has to offer and to do our research.  We have also been working with the Junior Ranger program – working with kids age 6 – 12.  A workbook is provided for the kids (and their parents)  to learn about the site and the ancient people, including puzzles, questions, mazes, etc. that can be answered as they explore the museum and site, watch the movie, and play at the interactive “touch table”.  When complete, we have the child  repeat the Junior Ranger pledge.  They receive a certificate and pin, and have a photo opportunity for their parents to snap a picture of their child receiving the award with the Casa Grande in the background.

The visitors and kids have generally been delightful.  Questions lead to conversations, and we have a wonderful time!

There are three owls who have made their residence in the rafters of the roof over the Casa Grande.  Several nights we have heard them “Who-Who”ing in the middle of the night.  This evening we also heard a pack of coyotes howling and squabbling nearby.

Within the confines of the grounds are numerous midden heaps where the ancient people had thrown their trash.  One of the head rangers walked us around with us and pointed out several of these heaps.  On just a short walk yesterday we saw many interesting sherds of pottery lying on the ground – off the “beaten path” but right out in the open!  And they are just a few feet away from the path to our trailer!

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Of course, the weather is nearly perfect!  Afternoon highs in the low to mid 70’s.  Blue skies. And brisk, starry nights.

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5 thoughts on “Casa Grande Ruins – part 1

  1. So thrilled that you love the site and your jobs! Both of you will make excellent guides. Who knows may be I can be ones of those snow birds that come down…maybe during the holidays. ..haha

  2. Sounds like you are having a wonderful adventure. learning as much as your visitors. They are lucky to have the two of you as their guides.

  3. What a wonderful experience u r having🎈🎈 i know it sounds funny, but i told sharon i am ending this friendship. I had enough of her inconsiderations finally. 25 years late Not like u and nancy did it right away. I am much happier with out her. Yeah. Be well. Love the pictures. Xo

  4. You, two are the perfect guides. Mark, working with the kids is reminiscent of Boy Scouts isn’t it?
    Smashed pottery!!! A potter’s worst nightmare. I will research the information as I find the designs on the shards fascinating!
    Miss you.

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