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Front Page » September 5, 2006 » Scene » Paleontology camp on the San Rafael Swell
Published 3,827 days ago

Paleontology camp on the San Rafael Swell

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Jack Rogers, geologist, sits with participants in the paleontology camp. Participants included: Joel Jensen, Gatlan and Chance Huntington, Kamron Stilson and Hayden Christianson.

The Emery County Education Council, a community development sub-committee of the Emery County Economic Development Council, working in partnership with the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum recently finished up a paleontology summer camp. Four students from Emery County, Kameron Stilson, Gatlan Huntington, Chance Huntington and Hayden Christianson, and one student from Payson, Joel Jensen participated in the five-day camp. Jack Rogers, a professional geologist from Castle Dale, was the camp director for this year's field school.

The College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum works each summer on several quarries scattered throughout the San Rafael Swell recovering dinosaur bones. Dr. Reese Barrick, Curator of Paleontology for the museum, instructed the students along with John Bird Quarry Boss who directed the students in the quarry excavations. Dr. Barrick and his team have been in the national news this year for several new and exciting discoveries.

The field school covered the basic concepts of historical geology, including basic stratigraphic concepts, the concept of geologic time, principles of fossil correlation, the identification of the basic rock types, and paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental analysis, and basic concepts of paleontology, including dinosaur osteology, paleoecology, bone preparation and quarry excavation.

The idea for the Paleontology Camp, geared toward high school age students, came from a fusion of ideas concerning what we have to offer that is unique to our area. We have a world-class paleontology resource right in our backyard. With the exception of one-day field trips, very few of our students have had the opportunity to work with and explore the educational opportunities related to this resource. This camp offered the student a unique hands-on opportunity to get involved with the science of paleontology. The students were able to discover and excavate several dinosaur bones from the quarry. The bones were then cast in plaster and transported back to the bone lab at CEU. There the students cleaned the bones, identified which dinosaur they came from and prepared them for storage.

We are thrilled to be able to offer this kind of program to the students of Emery County. The Emery County School District has been very supportive of all the education camps conducted this year.

Community development is a critical facet of economic development in any community. One of the first questions asked by young families thinking about relocating into our area is 'How is the educational system.' We believe we have a strong core curriculum educational system with good educators that care about our kids. So as a committee, we asked the question, how can we develop a program that will add value to the educational opportunities afforded in Emery County and at the same time work as an economic development tool.

We think there is tremendous potential for future growth in these type of summer educational camps and feel that these camps can add value to our community and to our economy.

We would like to especially thank all of the camp directors, volunteers and partner organizations for helping us put together these terrific camps.

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September 5, 2006
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