Planning Porta-Pottys and Preserving America
Since 2017, there have been 37 Preserve America Youth Summits, which provide on-site, interactive learning experiences for students and educators which engage them in the study of historic preservation, conservation, and heritage tourism. Julie Savage, a Community Volunteer Ambassador at Mesa Verde National Park, organized and coordinated the 2019 Preserve America Youth Summit, attended by 55 students and chaperones. Yucca House National Monument served as a primary stop on the Summit’s tour of national landmarks in the Four Corners, planned around the monument’s centennial celebration.
Julie Savage, CVA at Mesa Verde National Park, poses with an EcoBag during the Preserve America Youth Summit
Julie was tasked with tackling the challenge of making this 100-year-old site accessible and accommodating to the visiting group. As with any event, some logistical challenges arose during the planning process. Surprisingly, one of the biggest hurdles proved to be the porta-johns. Though anticipated to be a straightforward task, transporting the temporary restrooms into the historic site turned into a legally fraught situation, with juggling conversations with private property owners bordering the national monument and finding a delicate balance between monument regulations, landowner wishes, and the summit’s logistical needs. Julie’s ability to manage relations with private landowners and park officials to facilitate a successful summit is just a glimpse into the great work she has done over the past two years with the Stewards. Out of all the projects she has accomplished in that amount of time, this Summit is the one she is most proud of - though that is likely due to the numerous porta-john conversations she had leading up to it.