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Here is a link to the program:
Kay Stone has been working with
students now for years, teaching them about fossils and the world
around them, and bringing other educators into the mix to help kids
Newest postings are at the bottom of the
4/29/08 We had a request from Kay
(Auburn University) in Auburn, Alabama for donation of fossils to a school in Alabama, which we were
only too happy to send. The response has been so
gratifying! Here is Administrator Kay with several of the
Dear Glenn and Heidi,
We enjoyed the first of our field days today
with 6th graders of D. C. Wolfe Elementary School in Shorter, Alabama,
part of our Black Belt Environmental Science & Arts Program, doing
the paleontology module.
It was a huge success. The students had
studied fossils and geologic time in the classroom earlier this semester
and they were THRILLED to get to touch and keep some of the fossils.
We presented several boxes of labeled fossils to the classroom including
one that was completely made up of your fossils as well as copies of the
booklet. We included stickers on the box and booklets that noted they
were donated from you along with the web page address for future
We had put some small ones in bags of sand for
them to 'find' and identify, then take home. I was happy to see that
most of them were very focused on the task.
Here are a few photos and we will send more
from the upcoming events. Have a great week.
You are already listed on our sponsors page
under private organizations. Thanks again for helping to make the
program special for these kids.
Kay, Outreach Program Administrator II
Auburn University Environmental Institute,
5/12/08 Update from Kay
Another week of fun in the Black Belt. We
were part of a "Nature Day" at one of the State Nature
Preserves and I opted to display fossils since they had most wildlife
and plants covered. See the photo of my display including fossils from
you and a few on loan from the state. We had a small crowd due to
stormy weather, but the display was a hit with both children and
The other photos are from another field day
with sixth graders. The younger lady in the blue shirt is an AU grad
student in geology that was helping out.
the poster in the background. We scanned it and had a copy printed for
Tara also got some lemon and bull shark's
teeth to go along with the meg tooth that each child got to keep.
Then they had
their bag of sand with all kinds of finds including coral, dental plates
from rays, etc. Everyone was so excited, but also so well behaved. It
was a pure pleasure to share with these students.
We made up a special "door prize"
in a small Riker-type box and the little girl was thrilled that she
won it. The others gathered around to see it when the photo was over.
Thanks again for helping to make these events
so successful. Your donations took a good module and put it right over
the top. We are headed out Monday again and will be focusing on
archaeology. I already have your posters packed so I can show them to
Several of the teacher asked me to relay
their thanks as well.
Have a great weekend.
5/16/08 Update from Kay
You and Heidi are wonderful. We had a great
time on the dig. Hope to get to download photos on Monday as I am
still unpacking equipment. I can't wait for our next batch of
goodies. You are so nice to share. Your t-shirts will go out Monday
as well. They were a big hit on the field day circuit.
Dr. Cottier, AU archaeologist and the other
"diggers" at our river camp were impressed with the point
poster. We had it up each day the students were there.
Have a great weekend. Kay
5/21/08 Update from Kay
Dear Heidi and Glenn,
The latest box arrived
just before lunch and I am like a kid at Christmas. The office
staff gathered around to see what cool stuff you sent. Everything
is wonderful and I plan to spend a good bit of time this summer
putting together fossil programs for fall. The books will be very
helpful as well. I can't believe how lucky we are that you are so
Here are some photos from last week's
field days with eighth graders in Wilcox County. The young man
in the photo did the art work for the T-shirts. (note the poster
in the background) Auburn University's archaeologist Dr.
John Cottier and I are the other two in the photo. The building
in the background is our camp kitchen and the only structure at
the site other than tents and two Porta-potties.
The other photo is of two students
working at the excavation site.
(p.s. from Glenn and
Heidi) WE GOT THE T-SHIRTS AND THEY ARE TERRIFIC, KAY.
Also, this is not about US, but how much we have sent that is SO
USEFUL to YOU and the STUDENTS. Thank you for letting us be
part of the fun!
Heidi and Glenn,
The posting looks great. I am hoping to go to a nearby
location with some graduate students next week to look for
shark's teeth. It is a creek about 30 miles from here and is
supposed to have good teeth to find. We shall see.
June 26, 2008 We realized on our way to Louisiana we
were going right by the exit for Auburn University in Alabama,
so we stopped and surprised Kay and her boss Dennis there.
Here is Glenn with Kay in her office, showing off a slate she
found on a recent dig, it has a Trigonocarpus seed pod of a medullosa
plant on it, and another of Kay with Heidi.
She describes the dig: We visited an un-reclaimed
coal mine that is now owned by the State and protected due to
the extensive prehistoric animal track ways found in the shale.
I mostly got plant fossils, but did find one piece with burrows
in it. I also got a piece of shale with small animal tracks. I
am in the process of identifying them. It was a great time, but
was very hot. The tree fern seed pod was my best find.
Here is a recent photo of Kay finding this
fossil, is that the look of a happy child or what? It's
better never to grow up.
August 28, 2008
Dear Heidi and Glenn -
I visited a local elementary school to present a "Rocks,
Minerals and Fossils" talk to a third grade class. They got to look
at and handle lots of specimens and then of course they each got two
sharks teeth to keep as a starter for their fossil collection. I also read
them the book "Everybody Needs a Rock" by Byrd Baylor, then we
played "speed rock" a little activity that helps them learn the
three types of rocks.
May 22, 2009
Collection WAS A HIT!
Our spring field days are over and again thanks to you they were a
huge success. The students loved learning about fossils and getting to
search and keep their own. One sixth-grade in Bullock County had just
studied them in science and they were so thrilled to be able to answer
our questions. You can see some of the students looking through
the "dirt" which I had seeded with a few of your larger
fossils along with the small ones. I was even able to find some
mini-magnifiers that the students could keep to study their treasures.
The books were a hit as well since many of the fossils they found could
easily be located in the books.
As always, the coprolite is a huge hit during the discussion.
(July 9, 2009) I (Kay) have put together my "poop" display and like the way it
turned out. I have attached a photo. I set it up so I can take the
specimens out and let the students see them. I also have a couple of
extra specimens that they can handle. I want them to get the tactile
experience and besides they like to sniff the coprolite despite my
assurance it doesn't smell.
9/18/09 Poop Meeting!
Kay writes us: "I was asked to help
with an outreach program on campus last Tuesday night hosted by the
College of Sciences and Mathematics. It is called "GUTS" Getting
Under the Surface of... various science and math modules. Ours was
entitled "Fossil Frenzy". We had 13 first through third graders
and their parents. The local paper featured two parents looking at
my coprolite collection. Here is a photo provided by the COSAM office."
Yes, it IS a fascinating collection, Kay!
My poop ensemble has gotten quite a few
comments and will be a great addition not only to the coprolite
discussion, but also when we talk about animal signs (scats and tracks) on
our trail walks.
WHALE & COPROLITE LECTURE
Kay invited us to speak at the Wehle Nature
Center in Bullock County, near Midway Alabama to sixth graders. We said YES!
Here's info on the Nature Center, a short video on Alabama news:
We had the students bring in all the whale
fossils from the car, then we identified them and talked about interesting
whale species and facts such as the beluga and narwhal. We also
shared megalodon and great white shark teeth and many other weird items.
the students are outside at the picnic tables, identifying fossils in the
sand packets Kay gave them. Fossils from Aurora NC
Here we're sharing our Bowhead
Whale Baleen with some help from the kids
has some helpers holding up the whale rib while he talks about the size of
the right whale this came from
This is the right whale vertebrae just behind the
skull. Behind Glenn is a blueprint of the whale's skeleton and skull
Heidi's making a strange face, almost as bad as
photographing someone that's eating. But I kept this photo to show the
whale poster behind
Kay is introducing Glenn, who put this large dinosaur
coprolite (fossil poop) in the middle of the room.
He had the kids all come together to touch it (not
knowing what it was), told them to look up, imagine a big hole through the top
of the center, and then made a big rude farting sound, and told the kids they
had just been pooped on by a dinosaur!
Needless to say, they all ran away laughing and
screaming, only to listen closely to more information about fossil poop and how
nature preserves it. A great teaching tool with humor!
Heidi is describing the shark tooth necklaces (in her
hand), one of several necklaces each of the kids received as gifts
goofy gift to Kay was a Grand Poo-bah (moose poop) necklace and matching
earrings she is showing off here
of the day's team teachers assembled by Kay. What a great group of
assets for the students!
and with Glenn and Heidi in the picture
Hello, Glenn & Heidi
We do not know how to say thank you for coming to our
field day. It was such a wonderful experience for all of us. I am sure
the students will remember it for years to come. I love the great
"poop" moment that Glenn pulled off.
Here are a couple of photos from our program
this fall (2009) in Macon County. These are students from D.C. Wolfe
Elementary School in Shorter, Alabama. They are identifying their
fossils in the first one
and then using our "how big is a Megalodon?"
cut outs to visual the length of a megalodon
and the size of its
I received the Macon County evaluations in the
mail today and they are so cute. Of the three modules we taught, the
FOSSIL MODULE was listed most often as the favorite.
Many liked learning about how Alabama has
been under water during various geologic periods and that the fossils we
find in our area are most often from ancient marine animals and plants.
Again, your generosity has allowed us to let each student go home with
their own fossils and sparked the imagination of many young minds.
December 2009 From
Here are a few pictures
of Tonto, the gopher tortoise and "little kid" Kay.
Here are her
comments: They are a protected species in Alabama and Auburn
University has an ongoing research project with the state wildlife
folks. Tonto came to us before Christmas when someone "found"
him and dropped him off at the office. He was dehydrated and had
pneumonia, but with IV's and antibiotics, he is MUCH better. We have
been buying a variety of fruits and veggie for him. He seems to have a
sweet tooth as he will eat bananas, apples and strawberries before his
greens and squash. Mushrooms are not his thing as he pushes them aside.
Come spring Tonto will go
to live in one of the National Forests in the south part of the state.
As a large male, we hope he will find him a lady friend and help
regenerate the population.
2/17/10 Krogers donated a bunch of
apples today so he will be happy as they are one of his favorites.
update from Kay:
Spring can't be far away as the chrysalis I
found on my porch rail and brought to the office opened into a beautiful
spicebush swallowtail yesterday! It will be fed indoors as too
cold and no flowers for it to eat from right now.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION ASSN OF ALABAMA
3/10/10 From Kay - Dear Heidi and
Hope you are enjoying the spring-like weather.
Our trip to the Environmental Education Association of Alabama
conference got off to a rough start. We were sitting at a stop light
here in Auburn and were struck from behind by a pickup. There were three
of us in the SUV and one passenger in the front hurt enough that she
didn't travel on with us to the conference. The driver and I were sore
(neck and back), but the vehicle suffered minor damage and we were able
to continue our trip.
The conference was wonderful with a night
nature walk for star gazing and looking at lichen. We had a presentation
from a professor at Auburn who has located a population of Ivory Billed
Woodpeckers in the swamps of Southern AL and NW FL. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/science_math/cosam/departments/biology/faculty/webpages/hill/ivorybill/
They have audio and video evidence but a
clear definitive photograph still eludes them. It was most interesting.
The keynote speaker was Brian "Fox" Ellis a historical and
ecological storyteller http://www.foxtalesint.com/
He performed his Adventures of John James Audobon and it was wonderful.
I purchased several of his books and CD to donate to some of our
Our auction was not as well attended this year
- I guess the economy has everyone pinching pennies. But the jewelry you
donated got lots of attention and raised $150.00. I was a little
disappointed, but glad we were able to get that much considering some
items went really low. Again, I thank you for your help. I put
together some photos of your visit and included the business cards on
A number of people were very interested in
knowing more about your business so I hope it results in some contacts
As always, the wildlife was one of my
favorites. From the bald eagles nesting and soaring over the lake to
slimy salamanders crawling around in the Cathedral Caverns.
And yes, I got to see interesting fossils
including the shark's tooth that protrudes from the ceiling
as well as an archimedes bryozoan.
MINKIN FOSSIL SITE, COAL MINE
3/26/10 From Kay: Heidi and
I don't know if I mentioned that some of the
State Lands people invited me to tag along last week to the Minkin
Fossil site. This is the un-reclaimed strip coal mine where all
the fossil critter tracks have been found. I visited there during
a week-long workshop almost two years ago. The weather in March is MUCH
nicer than it was in June.
We had a great time and found some nice plant
material plus a few interesting tracks. Hope to have time this summer to
go through it and identify specimens plus set aside pieces to give to
students and teachers.
I am amazed at the wonders we found and we all
sat on the rocks and pondered what the site was like for the plants and
creatures that came 300+ million years before us. We concluded our wildest
imaginations would not match their reality.
Hello, Glenn and Heidi -
We visited with 58 third grade students this
morning to talk about reptiles and amphibians. Thought you would enjoy
the photos. I think the teachers enjoyed it as much as the students.
Mr. Pace (the teacher) was a bit wary of Elvis (the snake), but I had
him holding him before we left. He was more comfortable taking the
alligator back around for the students to see. They were fascinated with
the back and foot, with a few thinking they were fake. I really
appreciate you sending them to us as they are a great way to demonstrate
the features of reptiles without having them squirm around. The tree
frog I took to talk about amphibians promptly peed on me as soon as I
got it out of the box. The cane toad and two snakes were much
better behaved. We used the cane toad to talk about invasive
Where on Earth responded: "We are
so pleased to have our gator items used to educate young people,
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