Posted July 5, 2017 12:28 pm - Updated July 5, 2017 12:31 pm

Lubbock Lake Landmark: Archeology, Nature, & Family Fun

The Lubbock Lake Landmark is a historic archeological site and natural history preserve in Lubbock, Texas. The Landmark includes 336 acres and over four miles of nature trails that are open to the public. We talked with Susan Rowe, Education Program Manager, who told us more about the Landmark. The Landmark was added as a National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and is one of the most important archeological sites in North America. Texas Parks and Wildlife owned the Landmark until Texas Tech University acquired it in 2000 and it became Lubbock Lake Landmark. The Landmark is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 9AM-5PM and Sunday from 1-5PM. They offer self-guided tours and guided tours to groups of eight or more. Their mission is to provide leadership through stewardship, research, and education to reveal culture and natural heritage for the public and scientific communities. (Lubbock Lake Landmark, N.A.)

The Landmark has a free exhibit where you can journey back 12,000 years ago. The first explorations on the site were conducted in 1939 by West Texas Museum, which is now the Museum of Texas Tech University. In the late 1940’s the Landmark found bison kills from the Folsom period. They also found remains of bison bones that were turned into tools and are likely to be from the Paleo-Indian period. We encourage you to go see the history at the museum at the Landmark. The museum exhibit hours are open during the hours stated above.

The Landmark has a field laboratory near their archeological site to do research on the natural history found there. The field laboratory is used to study geology, soils, and conduct radiocarbon dating. The Landmark has been doing excavations since 1972 and research and education for over 65 years. The Landmark is committed to preserving the evidence that has been found on the Southern High Plains for almost 12,000 years. The Landmark has found many things at the archeological site such as ancient bison, Columbian mammoths, camels, plant, and geological specimens, and pottery chards.  The Director of the Landmark, Eileen Johnson, has been there since 1972 and she estimates that only 5% of archeology materials have been removed from the site. The archeological site is very important to study and do research in order to observe past climates. The archaeological site contains a geological stratigraphy, which is a layer of sediment that represents different periods of time. According to the Landmark website, “each layer of the wall represents different time periods, plants and animals, group of peoples, and climate and environment from 12,000 years ago.” (Lubbock Lake Landmark, N.A.)

The Landmark has a wide range of events, camps, and activities that are open to the public.  They host a summer youth camp for age groups 5-6, 7-8, and 9-10 that is completely free of charge that runs for six weeks beginning in June. The camp educates children about the environment through teaching about weather, pollinators, migratory birds, plants, animals, and social studies. This camp always has a fun twist; last year the kids entered into a turkey vulture art contest and won 1st and 3rd place! A couple Saturdays a year are designed for kids age 3-4 to come with a parent to learn about nature through stories, take-home activities, and outdoor explorations. The goal of these camps is to provide children with a fun experience in hopes that they will grow up and continue seeking places like the Landmark to further their environmental education.

The Landmark has events that are geared towards older children, adults, and families. One of their largest events, called Archeology in Action, which occurs this year on July 22nd from 9AM-3PM. The archeological site is open to the public for one day of the year and the archeologists explain their research done at the site. Another great family event is the monthly night hikes, where the public is guided through some of the Landmark’s trails to enjoy the nature and wildlife. The Landmark has spotted many animals on or by the nature trails such as cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits, bull snakes, Texas horned lizards, waterfowl, kingbirds, bobcat, foxes, coyotes, burrowing owls, and prairie dogs. The next hike is scheduled for July 15th at 8:30pm. Finally, the Landmark offers workshops for groups that want to further their environmental education. In the past, the Landmark has given workshops to teachers on how to teach about the environment in the classroom. The Landmark also hosts special events for groups such as an Epilepsy 5K and more 5Ks are welcomed!

There are several groups that meet at the Landmark such as Texas Master Naturalists and Texas Native Plant Society. Also, the TTU Association of Natural Resources hosts an event called Scales, Tails, and Trails in which they discuss their current research.  There are many volunteer opportunities at the Landmark including giving tours on the trails and of the museum, working at the kids’ camps, assisting lab staff, and much more. Go to the website to find out more information about volunteer opportunities and when events are taking place!

 

 

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