Strivings of a “Renaissance Mountaineer”
CCC has numerous “characters” in its faculty, one of whom is Bryan Bates. Raised in Missouri, Bryan learned the value of hard work when his uncle had him bucking, hauling and stacking hay, feeding cattle before breakfast and mending fences till dark. Bryan attended Culver Military Academy (a prep school) where he learned diligence and perseverance in academia. He earned a BA degree in Native American Studies through a self-directed learning program at Westminster College (Missouri) and his MA in Environmental Science at Univ. Illinois, Springfield. It was while living in Crested Butte, CO (between his BA & MA) that he decided he didn’t want to be a lawyer, and would instead pursue the natural sciences. After teaching jr. & sr. high science at Rough Rock Demonstration School for 5 years, he continued studying Chemistry, Biology and Geology at NAU. His major effort was to examine the effect of acid rain on electron transport systems in photosynthesis.
Besides teaching, Bryan is a naturalist at heart. He began as a camp counselor in Colorado leading backpacking, mountaineering and fly-fishing trips. After completing the NOLS Guides course, he began to guide for organizations such as American Assoc for Advancement of Science, Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic. He continues to lead backpacks and river trips across the Colorado Plateau, including some for “at-risk” kids. His real passion is helping people experience and re-connect with nature, an attribute that led him to teaching.
In 1988, Bryan designed and built (with the help of a master carpenter) a two-story, solar Hogan (a traditional Navajo home that is more energy efficient than square houses). In 1998, he was one of the first recipients of the Coconino County Solar Home award and his home has consistently been on the solar home tour.
Bryan is probably best known for his research in the development of astronomy and science in Native cultures. He was the Chair of and Editor for the Proceeding of the VII Oxford International Conference on Archaeoastronomy. He is co-Editor of the next issue of Journal of Archaeoastronomy and has just agreed to be Co-Editor of a book currently titled Reference Manual for Research in Archaeoastronomy, the first of its kind. Archaeoastronomy (PHY 253) will be offered in the Spring, 2011 semester.
Locally, Bryan serves on the Board of Directors for the Flagstaff Festival of Science (and thus drags his CCC colleagues to FFS events), the SEDI Educational Sustainability committee (when he can make the meetings), and the Conference on Archaeoastronomy of the American Southwest (CAASW, a founding member.) But his real love is helping people better understand how nature functions, why it is important to leave the planet in better shape than we inherited it (though one might not believe it now) and how to experience the depth of life through family, community and education. That is why he continues to teach at CCC.