Dana Foster


Yosemite National Park SCA Museum Intern

As a SCA Museum Intern at Yosemite National Park, Dana Foster (above left) is sharpening her cultural resource management (CRM) skills and making it easier for people to connect with the historical, cultural, and interpretive resources that illuminate the connections between cultural identities and the natural landscape. She’s preparing for a career that will help steer our parks through the Next 100 years.


Why is the work you’re doing as a SCA intern at Yosemite National Park important?

I serve as a Museum Intern at the Yosemite Museum by cataloging ethnological, archaeological, and historical items, assisting with exhibit preparation, and pitching in on other various tasks as needed. The importance of reducing the backlog of uncatalogued museum collections is that it makes cultural information that’s essential to our understanding of ourselves and the land more accessible and searchable to park employees and the general public.

What motivates you to serve the planet?

Most peoples’ first thought when they hear the word ‘conservation” is natural resources, but my passion is really for the cultural side of things. Historic sites, archaeological sites, museums—these places not only keep a collective memory, but also strengthen understandings of local, regional, and national identities, and reflect change and continuity in an area’s historical development. They’re of crucial importance and we must not neglect them.

What’s your SCA story?

I decided a career change was necessary but wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do. I filled out a few volunteer applications on the volunteer.gov website and figured I’d start there. Luckily, someone in the volunteer office at Yosemite passed along my application to the Museum. I was offered the opportunity to serve as a SCA intern and assured that my background in anthropology would be put to great use.

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen or been involved in the great outdoors?

I participated in the Shivwits Project Archaeology Field School through UNLV’s Anthropology Department as an undergraduate student. I spent six weeks living out of a tent at the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona. We decided to hike to the rim of the Grand Canyon one weekend from camp using just topography maps and compasses. The guys led us into a ravine on the way there so we challenged them to a guys vs. girls race home on the way back. Needless to say, we won.

What’s your favorite park or other outdoor space?

I remember Opa would let me pick cherries, apples, and plums with him in his backyard when I lived in Borsborn, Germany as a child. I’d try to run inside to stash my loot but their dog Mobley, a Bernese mountain dog, would chase me down and knock me over before I ever made it inside. I never stayed in the house, I was either in the backyard picking fruit or dragging my Mom through the village so I could ride my bike or go volksmarching.

What’s your next earthsaving goal?

I am really hoping to put my anthropology degrees to good use. Cultural resource management (CRM) has always been on my radar. I plan to continue to gain valuable experience in museums and possibly historic preservation in the future so that I can pursue a professional career in CRM.

PHOTO: SCA Museum Intern Dana Foster, NPS Interpretation Ranger Rachel Zott, and SCA Museum Intern Nikki Schmidt at Yosemite National Park.