The James (Jim) and Audrey Benedict Endowment for Mountain Archaeology was established in 2011 to further geological and archaeological research regarding the Rocky Mountains. The endowment celebrates Jim and Audrey's reverence for the natural and cultural world and their commitment to research, stewardship, and public education.
As a renowned geologist and archaeologist, Jim spent decades studying natural history and Native American adaptions to the alpine country, receiving notable honors such as the C.T. Hurst Award for lifetime achievement from the Colorado Archaeological Society and the Kirk Bryan award from the Geological Society of America. His publication record spans many disciplines, including glacial geology and ecology, lichenometric dating, detailed geoarchaeological site reports, and botanical resources of the Colorado high country. Jim served for many years as a faculty affiliate and friend of the Department of Anthropology at Colorado State University.
As founder and director of the Cloud Ridge Naturalist field program, Audrey has for years highlighted the extreme beauty and fragility of our natural and cultural heritage. Her expeditions and publications persuasively demonstrate the need for the conservation of our shared resources. It is in the spirit of these principles that this endowment was created to celebrate the Benedict's lifetime commitment to this work and to each other.