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UWA to host “Fossils of the Black Belt” Oct. 19

LIVINGSTON – The University of West Alabama and the Geological Survey of Alabama will host a “Fossils of the Black Belt” workshop in Livingston on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Geared toward both in-service and pre-service elementary, middle and high school science teachers, the fossils workshop offers a hands-on-experience for teachers seeking experience in the field of paleontology.

The workshop is designed to help familiarize participants with the study of fossils and field geology, provide information about well-documented archeological sites, provide an opportunity to develop fossil kits for classroom use, and offer necessary resources for teaching the geology and geologic history of Alabama.

Hosted by Dr. David C. Kopaska-Merkel of the GSA, the workshop will follow the three-part format of previous years. The first part will be spent on the UWA campus for a brief introduction to the principles of field study in earth science.

The second part of the workshop will be spent at two or more excellent outcrops of fossiliferous Cretaceous marine strata near Livingston. The outcrops contain diverse marine fossils, including oysters, other bivalves, snails, bryozoa, worm tubes, and shark teeth. If very lucky, someone might find remains of ancient sea turtles or of a large mosasaur, a giant sea lizard.

After the fossil dig, the participants and project leaders will return to UWA where they will work to identify and label fossils that were collected that morning, developing fossil kits that the teachers will take back to their schools.

In addition to making fossil kits, all participants will receive a certificate for eight continuing education units (CEU), a field guidebook, copies of Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks and three Discovering Alabama DVDs.

Participants will also receive a geologic map of Alabama, fact sheets on Alabama fossils, and a box lunch.

This course will provide material useful for training in Alabama Course of Study/Science Processes and Applications in all grades, the Geology and Earth & Space Science electives at the high school level, concepts in the high school biology core, and concepts in the life-science strand at all other grade levels.

Dr. Kopaska-Merkel will be aided by UWA professors Dr. Andrew K. Rindsberg and Dr. Doug Wymer as well as Curator of the Black Belt Museum at UWA, Dr. John C. Hall.

Registration and orientation will begin at 8 a.m. The workshop will continue until 4 p.m. The workshop requires a $15 registration fee prior to the event.

Space is limited to only 26 participants. To register, contact Dr. Kopaska-Merkel by e-mail at dkm@gsa.state.al.us or call (205) 247-3695.