A group of Lassen County residents check out some ancient petroglyphs. Photos by Sam Williams

Archaeology Month student essay contest for third graders hosted by the Lassen National Forest open to students in seven counties

If you’re a third-grade student with an interest in archaeology, here’s a contest just for you.

Who knows how many years have passed since an indigenous person carved this message into a rock in Lassen County. Ah, but what does it mean?

The Lassen National Forest hosts an essay contest for third grade students in Lassen, Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Plumas, Siskiyou and Modoc counties in celebration of California Archaeology Month in October. Submissions will be accepted from Oct. 1, through Oct. 21.

Archaeology is the study of things left behind by people from the past. We use these to learn how people lived in specific times and places.

To participate in this contest, students should submit an essay on a place that is at least 50 years old that means something to them, why they like it, how old it is, and why it should be preserved.

“We are excited to learn about the places that are important to you and our communities,” said Jennifer Norton, acting Forest Archaeologist on the Lassen National Forest. “We want to encourage the development of writing at a critical age where children are making the transition from learning to read, to reading to learn.”

Partners at the Shasta Historical Society have donated prizes for this contest. First prize will be one adult ticket and one child ticket to the museum at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding.

Indigenous people left these mysterious carvings for us to ponder today.

The runner up will receive a copy of “Can you Dig it” by Amanda Baker.

“This contest is a chance for young people to express connections to the outdoors and places that are special to them through their own creativity,” said Forest Supervisor, Deb Bumpus. “I look forward to seeing what they create. Thank you to the teachers and parents that support these students, and to our partner for their generous donation of tickets for this essay contest,”

Submit your essays with the entry form to SM.FS.LNFHeritage@usda.gov no later than 5 p.m. Oct. 21.