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Paleontology Camp

By MARC STILSON

The students carefully sift through the debris.

The Emery County Education Council, a community development sub-committee of the Emery County Economic Development Council, working in partnership many other individuals and organizations recently finished up three educational summer camps.

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 help supplement this system with a program that will add value and at the same time work as an economic development tool.

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. At the same time, this is the type of camp that can and did attract students from across the country.

Three out-of-state students participated in this year's camp; one from Washington D.C., one from Texas and one from California. They all have a strong interest in paleontology and choose this camp because of the "hands-on" experience this camp provided.

We are absolutely thrilled with how all three camps turned out (theater, science and paleontology). We think there is tremendous potential for future growth in these types of summer educational camps and feel that these camps can add value to our community and to our economy. The Paleontology camp particularly has the potential to blossom into a tourism destination type event. One unexpected but very exciting facet of the program was that the family of the student from Washington D.C. came out and spent the week in Emery and Carbon counties touring the area while their son was at the camp. We hope to partner with some of our local businesses for next year to offer a "parents/family program" for families that would like to recreate and vacation in our area.

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





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