Science Talk Doubleheader

Monday August 23, 7 pm

Get ready for Dig With The Experts with two science talks on one night!

First, Executive Director Dr. Phil Stokes presents Britain to Buffalo: The Fossil Connection. His talk will provide an overview of the local rocks and Devonian Period marine fossils found at Penn Dixie. For context, he will discuss the history of geology, Mary Anning, William ‘Strata’ Smith, and their stories connect to the rocks and fossils found in Western New York.

Our second and keynote speaker is Paleontologist Joe ‘PaleoJoe’ Kchodl of Midland, Michigan. PaleoJoe’s talk, Trilobites: Arthropods of the Ancient Seas, will highlight Penn Dixie’s famous fossil — the trilobite — and its cousins from around the world. Learn about the life and death of trilobites and how the Cambrian period became known as the Age of Trilobites.

This is a FREE virtual program thanks to the support of Erie County and the Town of Hamburg. Register here by 6:30 pm on the day of the talk to receive a Zoom invitation. Space is limited to the first 100 participants.

The History of the Niagara Gorge

Wednesday May 27, 7 pm – Virtual Presentation

By Catherine Konieczny, School Programs Manager, Buffalo Museum of Science

Niagara Falls is one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the world, it also happens to be in our backyard. Learn what makes this geological wonder so dynamic.

Explore the historical and cultural significance of the oldest state park in America and how it impacts us today. Journey down through time to discover how Niagara Falls got its shape, how it’s still changing today, and what secrets lay beneath.

Key topics:

-Historical significance: Native Americans and early development

-Geomorphology: The last ice age, weathering and erosion

-Geology: Stratigraphic column and fossils

-Human mitigation: Hydropower and Dewatering the Falls

To participate you’ll need to Register Here and download Zoom. We’ll email a link to the talk shortly before 7 pm.

#AskAScientist

Teachers: Want to add something new to your virtual classroom?

Expert Dr. Holly Schreiber
Dr. Holly Schreiber is a paleontologist and one of our local science experts.

This spring Penn Dixie is pleased to offer your students a virtual lesson from a local science expert. Our #AskAScientist program is informative, interactive, and meets Next Generation Science Standards. And, thanks to the generous support of Erie County and the Town of Hamburg, there is no charge for this program.

Here’s the details:

  • #AskAScientist is 30-45 mins in length
  • Program features presentation using digital slides and fossils/rocks
  • Includes question and answer session
  • Must be scheduled at least a week in advance
  • Perfect for middle and high schoolers
  • Teacher must help to facilitate virtual class (use your program or send students a link to our Zoom platform)

Available programs:

  • WNY Fossils – Our most popular program! In this interactive lesson, students will learn the basics of fossils and fossilization. Students will become paleontologists and view fossils commonly found around WNY. Students will use deductive reasoning to understand extinct animals and infer prehistoric environments from the fossils.
  • Geology Rocks! – Rocks and the rock cycle are explored. Students will view rock samples to explore the rock cycle and three primary types of rocks, with a focus on sedimentary rocks. Educators will discuss local rock formations present in WNY and the importance of sedimentary rocks for paleontologists.
  • Geologic Time – Learn about the long history of geologic time. Find out where the rocks of WNY fit into our Earth’s history in relation to major events like the extinction of the dinosaurs.

We can work with you if you have a specific earth science topic they want us to discuss. We use Next Generation Science Standards while integrating in the Common Core Curriculum. Programs address: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity; The History of Planet Earth; Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions; and Earth Systems: Earth Materials and Systems. Penn Dixie is also willing to accommodate any program idea or topic that you are currently covering with your students which would allow us to further meet the specific needs of your classroom.

For more information, please email Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org.

Support for this program is provided by Erie County and the Town of Hamburg.

Erie-County-Seal     Hamburg seal

Official Penn Dixie Field Guide

Thanks to the New York State Geological Association, we’re pleased to offer a digital version of our definitive guide — Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve: A Window Into The Devonian Period of Western New York. The guide appears in the 89th Annual NYSGA Meeting Guidebook — print copies available here. You may download the Official Penn Dixie Field Guide for educational use only.

The guide was written by Executive Director Dr. Phil Stokes — a geologist — and Director of Education Dr. Holly Schreiber — a paleontologist — and provides a broad introduction to the history and science of Penn Dixie. Topics in the 18-page paper include:

  • Geological setting of New York State in the Devonian Period
  • Plate tectonics affecting the Catskill Basin and WNY
  • Why many different types of fossils are found at Penn Dixie
  • An overview of the main types of fossils found, including brachiopods, bryozoans, trilobites, crinoids, bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods, plants, and fish
  • Images of our fossils with updated nomenclature
  • A discussion of the fossil-bearing layers at Penn Dixie
  • Our organization’s history, and how we ended up as Penn Dixie!

Earth Science Day 2016

While Penn Dixie may be covered in ice and snow, we can always think ahead to the coming spring and summer months when the site will be visited by fossil collectors of all ages and experience levels. This spring, we’ve got Earth Day on April 22 and Dig with the Experts scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, plus many school field trips. In the summer we’ll host a full array of science and nature programs, but fall will be a really special time when we host our 20th Annual WNY Earth Science Day on Saturday October 7. To get in the sprit, take a look back at Earth Science Day 2016 — Saturday October 8 — with some photos courtesy of superstar volunteer Jake Burkett and his family.

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Despite the chilly and wet morning, exhibitors and visitors who chatted under the big tent stayed mostly warm and dry.

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The drill rig demonstration got a bit muddier than usual.

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UB Geology might have brought the messiest activity: goupy glaciers that flowed through 3D models.

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By late morning the skies cleared and our fossil collecting was in full swing.

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These folks came down from Ontario and were very eager to find the perfect trilobite.

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At just the right time, LLoyd Taco Truck arrived and satisfied the hungry lunch crowd — even T-rex.

For the full gallery visit the Google Drive gallery — thanks Burketts! We are grateful for the following organizations that made Earth Science Day possible:

  • 3rd Rock LLC
  • Aquarium of Niagara
  • Animal Advocates of WNY
  • Buffalo Association of Professional Geologists
  • Buffalo Geological Society
  • Buffalo Museum of Science
  • Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
  • Canisius College Seismographic Station
  • Cradle Beach
  • Earth Dimensions, Inc.
  • Ecology & Environment, Inc.
  • Erie County Department of Environment and Planning
  • Evangola State Park
  • Lloyd Taco Trucks
  • Past & Present Rock Shop
  • Penn Dixie Site
  • Reinstein Woods/NYS DEC
  • SJB/Empire Geo Services, Inc.
  • StratResources Geologic Consulting, LLC
  • SUNY Brockport Earth Science and Meteorology Club
  • SUNY Buffalo Undergraduate & Graduate Geology Clubs
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — Buffalo