From Camper to Teacher: “Lucky” Crow Canyon Educator Comes Full Circle”

Posted May 10, 2019

Tyson Hughes knew from a young age that he wanted to be an archaeologist.

The only problem was that there didn’t seem to be a clear path to making that dream a reality. Then he came to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center for a summer camp.

Some 20 years later, he’s still here—proving that dreams sometimes do come true.

“I was lucky,” says Hughes. “Crow Canyon Archaeological Center had developed three residential camp programs that accept students from all walks of life, from all over the country and immerses them in the world-class archaeology of the central Mesa Verde region.”

“I was awarded a scholarship to attend one of these programs—the 1998 High School Field School—and was set on a course that would fundamentally change my life for the better.”

Today, Hughes is an educator at Crow Canyon and is passing along the spark of curiosity with students ranging from 4th Grade through high school. For Hughes, that spark began here in the summer of 1998.

“After spending weeks at Crow Canyon learning about and practicing archaeological research, connecting it to the cultural traditions that persist today and expanding my understandings of humanity- I finally saw a path towards pursuing my dream career as an archaeologist,” says Hughes.

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center offers three teen summer camp programs—a one-week Middle School Archaeology Camp, a one-week High School Archaeology Camp, and a three-week High School Archaeology Field School. In addition to offering a fun time and the chance to make new friends, the three camps gives teens the opportunity to excavate at the Haynie site, the focus of our current research project—the Northern Chaco Outliers Project.

Hughes says that even after the three-week High School Field School program ended, Crow Canyon staff continued to mentor him through college—which led to a decade-long career as a cultural resource management archaeologist, working on projects across nine different states.

“Eventually, my scope narrowed and I wanted to focus on the archaeology and cultural histories that I was first introduced to by Crow Canyon,” says Hughes. “And once again, I was lucky. Crow Canyon hired me as an educator for their student programs. I was suddenly working alongside and in the footsteps of those who had mentored me all those years ago at the place where my dream was realized.”

Today, Hughes leads the same High School Field School program that made such a transformative impact on his life all those years ago.

“I’m honored and privileged to share my passion for understanding the world through the lens of archaeology with students who are perhaps looking for the same illumination that I sought when I came to Crow Canyon,” says Hughes. “There truly is something magical and enduring about these premiere programs that has, at least for me, made the world a better place.”

There’s still time to sign up for one of Crow Canyon’s summer camps—but spots are filling up fast! For more information, call 800-422-8975 to talk to one of our enrollment specialists.