Terevaka Archaeological Outreach (TAO) launched in 2003 as a volunteer program, with archaeologist Britton Shepardson
trying to find a better way to balance scientific research and community engagement on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile). TAO
began to work with local high school students on the island to achieve three primary objectives:
(1) Education - To offer experiential learning opportunities specific to cultural and natural resources that surround the local community.
(2) Conservation - To promote awareness and expertise in conservation measures and sustainable development.
(3) Research - To document and study both cultural and natural phenomena of the past and today.
By 2012, TAO began to offer opportunities for university students from around the world to participate as volunteer interns
in the program, acting as mentors, research assistants, and friends to the local high school students.
By 2013, the world's leading expedition company, Explora, became a major supporter of the program. Explora Rapa Nui regularly
provides an area for the yearly educational campouts, as well as food and ground transportation, for TAO students and staff.
By 2015, TAO incorporated as a U.S. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Flagstaff, Arizona.
By 2019, TAO had provided educational opportunities to more than 200 local students on Rapa Nui and 20 university interns. TAO's
projects had also been presented in more than 20 publications around the globe.
Between 2021 and 2023, TAO enters a new phase of expansion, aiming to serve rural and indigenous youth across an additional five locations
with Explora hotels in South America. TAO also expands its operations with university students, helping to launch Northern Arizona
University's first-ever South America NAU program...