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Instructor Spotlight

Tom Prang (continued)

Prang is an archaeologist and educator, but he’s done many other things, including wildland and structural firefighting, forest restoration in Oregon, being a guide and naturalist in Alaska, running an ambulance crew, and being a backcountry ranger.

When Prang discovered archaeology in his 20s, it proved to be the perfect combination of outdoors work and academics. He became an educator in hopes of giving other students the same experience he did: a well-rounded education with a healthy dose of dirt.

“If you’re doing archaeology work, you have to do math, you have to do writing … it’s all those things. I don’t find that with other programs, and I think that’s what keeps me interested,” he said. “You can show people that it doesn’t have to be incredibly technical. I can take college level things and teach it to high school or grade school students by taking out those technical terms and showing them how it really works.”

The spring class will meet one evening at WVC and will also meet at the Cashmere Museum.

He said that people are often drawn to the artifacts and history, even if at first, they didn’t think they had any interest in archaeology.

“If I have a stone tool artifact, people can’t not pick it up. I think we’re hardwired for these things,” he said.

Plus, Prang said he is willing to teach whatever his students are interested in.

“I will take it in whatever direction people want and I think they will want more.”