Mission and Programs

Our Mission

The mission of The Friends of Chaco is to support and assist Chaco Culture National Historic Park in preserving and protecting the Park’s resources and the visitor experience. The Conservancy is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors. A full 100% of all donations go to support our work for the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The Friends of Chaco programs fall under four broad areas: Education & Interpretation, including K-12 school programs; Special Events, and Community Outreach; Voluntarism, including Site Stewardship, Trail Maintenance, and Campground Hosting; and Research & Preservation of Natural and Cultural Resources, Rock Art, and Archaeology.

The Friends of Chaco also protects and enhances Chaco Culture National Historic Park’s Dark Sky resources with an observatory, reduction of light pollution, and visitor programs.

Would you like to become a member of the Friends of Chaco ?  As a member you support Education, Interpretation, Volunteer Research, Volunteers, and The Dark Skies Initiative:

Education: Chaco Rock Art is known the world over and has been the subject of much research. The Friends of Chaco support the respectful viewing and study of this precious cultural resource.

Interpretation: The Friends of Chaco supports the two Parks’ tribal consultation meetings by funding the costs for printing, travel reimbursements, and catering. These events promote the circulation of ideas, information, and research from Chaco, while ensuring important tribal input for the Parks.

Research: Wildlife cameras are essential for managing the elk and other wildlife, like bobcats, bears, and wolves, in the parks. The Friends of Chaco has funded the purchase of several infrared cameras to set up near springs, seeps, washes and on Chacra Mesa where elk and other animals are found, to monitor population size, movement, and uses of the park resources.

Volunteers: The Friends of Chaco helps cover the travel, lodging and meals costs for our volunteers who are essential to the research and interpretation goals of the Park.

The Dark Skies Initiative: Chaco is the fourth  National Park to achieve the Dark Sky designation from the International Dark Sky Association! The Park’s telescopes are used for public viewing during the night sky programs. The Conservancy provided funds to purchase parts and materials for a 17.5” reflecting telescope set up on the observing field behind the Chaco Visitor Center. The Conservancy also supported the retrofitting of outdoor lights on the Chaco Visitor Center to make them “night-sky friendly” and comply with standards set by the Dark Sky Park program.

Our Programs
Conservancy programs fall under four broad areas:

  • Education & Interpretation
  • K-12 school programs
  • Special events
  • Community outreach
  • Research & Preservation
  • Natural and cultural resources
  • Rock Art
  • Archaeology
  • Volunteer
  • Site stewardship
  • Trail maintenance
  • Campground hosting
  • Dark Sky Resources
  • Observatory
  • Reducing light pollution
  • Visitor programs

To volunteer

For more information regarding Chaco Culture National Historical Park volunteer program, please contact the Park Volunteer Coordinator, Jeremiah RisingBull Maybee by email at jeremiah_maybee@nps.gov or phone at 505-786-7014 x 264.

An active Astronomy program at Chaco is staffed predominately by volunteers. If you have knowledge of astronomy and would like to share that knowledge in one of the county’s premier night sky vistas please contact the Park’s Astronomy Coordinator, Steve Speth, at emiluni70@gmail.com

Site Stewards monitor archaeological and cultural sites within Chaco NHP on a regular basis to document and report both natural decay and vandalism of these many sites. For information on volunteering as a Site Steward, contact  brittany_bankston@nps.gov or phone at 505-786-7014 x 244.

You can learn more about Volunteering at Chaco NHP on their volunteer website.