Dr. Fatimah Jackson, CRL Director secured a second cooperative agreement with the National Park Service (NPS), totaling $30,000 for Howard University students to conduct a research investigation on site the Grand Canyon National Park, one of our Nation’s most valued treasures. The goal of this project is much aligned with the mission of the CRL, in that we are telling our own stories. With that said, NPS contracted the CRL to investigate the role and contributions of African Americans and other minorities to the Grand Canyon, finding their unknown and/or under told truths, in effort to increase ethnic diversity utilization and understanding of NPS at large. Since, September of 2014, Mr. Christopher Cross, CRL Assistant Curator has been the Program Manager for this agreement and worked with key NPS Staff to help design and build this project which gained IRB clearance before immediate implementation in March of this year. It is with great pride that we are glad to announce the successful completion of our research trip to the Grand Canyon! A lot of hard work from both CRL and NPS Staff, especially Ms. Deidra Jackson, Administrative Officer and Mr. Ian Hough, Archeologist went into all the planning and execution of our trip. It was mentioned that we are the first HBCU to be invited to the Grand Canyon to perform this type of ground breaking research for the National Park Service. Please note our photos from some of the working activities kindly coordinated by both Deidra and Ian. Also, a special thanks to Ms. Margaret Hangan, Forest Archeologist and Ms. Danelle Harrison, District Ranger from the Kaibab National Forest, Mr. Jon Streit, Ms. Kathleen Akin and Mr. Stephen Zacharias from Xanterra, Mr. Stephen Fried, Adjunct Professor at Columbia and noted author including the Fred Harvey book, Darryl Haley from WHUR, and of course Diana Allen, Chief from Healthy Parks Health People, in addiction to many others for their time and wealth of information they generously shared that we will certainly include in the generation of our final report.
In March 2015 the Cobb Research Lab (CRL) was invited to the Grand Canyon National Park to research and recover narratives concerning the participation of ethnic minorities in the National Parks and the National Forests. With the help of The National Park Services and Healthy Parks Healthy People program, CRL researchers were able to experience the Grand Canyon in a unique and dynamic way. This weeklong exploration brought insight into the National Park Services system and created a more in depth and well rounded picture of the Park’s creation and development. With the help of archaeologist Ian Hough, Deidra Jackson from Healthy Parks Healthy People, Danielle Calloway from the National Park Services , the National Park Rangers, and the National Forest Service, this week long experience allowed the our researchers to look at the archives and view the documented history of the Grand Canyon National Park in great detail. Ethnic minority groups were very present in in the area even before the National Park’s creation and we were able to gather many of narratives about them. The purpose behind these studies is to use the history of National Park-ethnic minority interactions to encourage ethnic minorities to visit the National Parks. CRL researchers were also able to hike the Grand Canyon and experience the natural wonder of the Grand Canyon first hand. This provided an experience in practicing mindfulness that will contribute to our second research goal which is to explore how the National Parks can reduce stress and its harmful consequences. Supplied with hiking gear, our team was able to climb up and down the rugged terrain, allowing us to experience new wonders, decompress, and relax within the National Park environment.