Earth Science week is on its way, and at least two units of the National Park System are marking it with activities for the entire family.
At Grand Canyon National Park, a variety of activities will be held the week of October 9. And at nearby Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, programs will be offered October 8 to mark National Fossil Day, with additional activities to follow the next week.
Earth Science Week in the National Park System promotes understanding and appreciation of the value of earth science research and its applications and relevance to our daily lives. And with its wide open expanse of geology, Grand Canyon National Park is an ideal place to celebrate Earth Science Week, as the park is a natural classroom and laboratory for the earth sciences, and is one of the world’s most well-known and most scenic geologic landscapes.
In conjunction with Earth Science Week, National Fossil Day is Wednesday, October 12. It is a celebration organized by the National Park Service to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values.
Throughout Earth Science Week, the Grand Canyon staff will offer a variety special programs. Daily Fossil Walks will be offered from Sunday, October 9, through Saturday, October 15. Fossil Walks begin at 10 a.m. at the patio behind Bright Angel Lodge. The walks will take you to visit a fossil bed containing the remains of a variety of marine organisms exposed near the rim of Grand Canyon. The programs will last approximately one hour and include an easy half-mile walk.
Ranger evening programs offered during the week will be on the earth sciences. Evening Programs begin at 7 p.m. and last approximately one hour and are presented in the Shrine of the Ages Auditorium. Topics include the geology of the canyon, the age of Grand Canyon rocks, caves, and weather.
On Tuesday, October 11, the park will celebrate No Child Left Inside Day as part of Earth Science Week by offering a special family-oriented Fossil Walk at 4:30 p.m., meeting on the patio behind Bright Angel Lodge.
The Junior Paleontologist Program, a self-guided activity booklet for kids ages 5 through 12, will also be available at Park Headquarters and Visitor Centers. Kids can learn about ancient life, complete fun activities, and explore some of the national parks that offer a look into the past in the Junior Paleontologist booklet. Upon completion, Junior Paleontologists will receive a Junior Paleontologist badge.
The Grand Canyon Association, the official nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park, will have a special sales promotion of 20 percent off selected geology titles in their bookstores and online at http://www.grandcanyon.org/. Proceeds from sales benefit the educational, scientific, historical and research efforts of the National Park Service.
You can also follow Grand Canyon National Park’s celebration of Earth Science Week on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/GrandCanyonNPS . Park staff will be posting park geology-related information on Twitter throughout the week.
At Glen Canyon, meanwhile, the park staff and the American Geological Institute will again partner to host the second annual National Fossil Day on October 13 as part of Earth Science Week. Locally, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will celebrate National Fossil Day with public programs on October 8.
Visitors are invited to participate in several fun activities led by rangers at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center on Saturday, October 8 from 12 noon to 3:00 p.m.. Kids and adults can make dinosaur clay models, dig for dinosaur bones, earn a Jr. Paleontology badge, attend a special dinosaur painting watercolor workshop for beginners, and meet the park’s paleontologist for a talk about the center’s feathered therizinosaur exhibit.
Fossils preserved in the rocks of Glen Canyon NRA are evidence of the life and changes that occurred during the Mesozoic Era (65 – 200 million years ago). The National Park Service preserves and protects these resources for future generations. Dinosaur tracks can be viewed at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center and the Wahweap District Ranger Office.