Looking Up! Virtual Stargazing

Thursday May 21 – 8:30 pm

The Buffalo Astronomical Association, Explore & More, and Penn Dixie team up to bring you Looking Up!, a virtual stargazing experience. View planets and stars from the safety of your home and learn a few things from astronomy and astrophotography experts, too!

Kids: Want to participate? We’re inviting three science enthusiasts under age 18 to join our program. To participate, email your questions in advance to phil@penndixie.org. We’ll select three individuals to appear on the program and ask their question directly to our astronomers. A parent/guardian must be present at the time of the event and willing to provide consent for the child to appear on the program. You’ll need Zoom and access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet with camera and microphone.

Format: Join our Facebook livestream and pose questions in the comment section. Don’t have Facebook? Email phil@penndixie.org and we’ll share a link shortly before the start time.

Penn Dixie thanks Erie County, NY, Township of Hamburg, NY, & Southtowns Regional Chamber of Commerce for their support!

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.

Recent Discoveries in the Science of Paleontology

Wednesday June 3, 7 pm – Virtual Presentation

By Dan Krisher, Retired Fossil Hunter

The advancement of knowledge in many fields of study typically proceeds at a relatively slow and incremental pace. If you were to look back over the years in fields such as economics, engineering, the social sciences, and mathematics you would see a slow progression where one advancement builds upon another. The “hard” sciences such as physics, astronomy, biology, and geology tend to display a somewhat different pattern.

The slow accumulation of knowledge certainly takes place, but these sciences also have an inherent tendency toward rapid and dramatic discoveries and reinterpretations which can dramatically change a given field of study. This talk will touch on some of the recent discoveries and concept changes which have occurred in the field of paleontology over the past year.

Dan is a paleontologist who retired from Ward’s Natural Science a few years ago where he was the head of Geology and Paleontology. Since his retirement, he has had more time to pursue research which is focused primarily on the Silurian and Devonian coral faunas of NYS. He has also been very involved in public outreach in a wide variety of venues and settings including being a volunteer at Penn Dixie for 6 years (as of the 2020 season).

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

Erie County Earth Science Day

On Saturday October 5 join us from 9 am to 4 pm, rain or shine, to learn about Western New York’s natural history, ecology, and resources through interactive exhibits and demonstrations in a family-friendly setting. Experience hands-on learning under the big tent from:

Thanks to the generous support of Erie County and our sponsors, Earth Science Day is FREE to ALL. All ages welcome. This event is accessible to those with mobility impairments and we recommend the use of a reach tool for fossil collecting.

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Our famous fossil hunting is FREE on Earth Science Day!

In the spirit of reducing plastic waste, our first 500 Earth Science Day guests will receive a complimentary reusable fossil collecting bag. Additionally, complimentary fossil collecting trowels will be available to all guests during the event.

Special thanks to WIVB News 4 Buffalo and the Buffalo Association of Professional Geologists for supporting Erie County Earth Science Day.

news4_logo    BAPG 2018 image

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Lloyd Taco Truck will return as our official lunch vendor!

Teachers: Download our Earth Science Day Flyer or contact us in advance to schedule your group. There is no charge for unguided group tours on Earth Science Day but we request advance notice to help with our parking planning. Guided group tours are available at our usual rates.

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This FREE event is made possible by Erie CountyTown of Hamburg, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of WNY. Donations are welcome through the day of the event and will support Penn Dixie’s community education efforts.

Spring Homeschool Day

Monday May 4, 10 am to 1 pm

Rain date: Wednesday May 6, 10 am to 1 pm

Learn about the geological history of Western New York at Penn Dixie! This special program for homeschoolers includes a complete educational tour of Penn Dixie led by our trained educators. All participants are welcome to take home all the fossils they find!

Registration opens late March and is $6 per student — save $1 per student with early registration. Children must be accompanied by an adult. There is no charge for children aged two and under. Program is for grades 1-12; please specify your child’s grade when registering. Register by Monday April 27 to receive $1 off admission. Registration closes at 5 pm on Friday May 1.

The program begins promptly at 10 am; check-in at 9:30. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow for check-in, bathroom use, other preparations. Younger siblings of students are welcome. One free adult/chaperone is included with every registered student. Siblings and additional adults are welcome at $6 per person.

Fossil hunting tools are provided to all attendees. We encourage you to bring your own bucket or bags to store fossils.

If you are unable to register online, please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. For these guests we will accept cash and credit card payments at the start of the program. Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate registrations made after May 1.

Refund policy: In the event of light to moderate rain, the program will take still place as scheduled. Guests are advised to wear boots and rain gear. If there is heavy rain or we detect lightning on site, the program will be rescheduled to the rain date. We will make this announcement via email and over our social media. If both programs are canceled by Penn Dixie due to weather, all guests will receive a refund. Otherwise, our usual cancellation policy applies.

Camps & Workshops

Children ages 8 to 13 discover the natural sciences through four different Penn Dixie adventures that emphasize hands-on learning, outdoor fun, and teamwork. All camps and workshops are open for enrollment unless otherwise indicated.

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Dinosaurs, Fossils, and Nature Camp (5 Days)

IMG_0565Our most popular camp is back! Science comes alive at two exciting sites right in your own neighborhood. On Monday and Tuesday, campers will explore geology and paleontology at Penn Dixie while collecting fossils that are older than dinosaurs. On Wednesday, campers will venture off to Past & Present in Blasdell to tour the museum and discover the mysteries of the dinosaurs from a real dinosaur hunter — Glen LaPlaca!

Campers return to Penn Dixie on Thursday and Friday to investigate our nature trails, learn about local ecology, identify, animal tracks, and more! Campers must be dropped off at partner locations.

Locations: Penn Dixie and Past & Present Science & Nature Store

Schedule: 9 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday; Extended care not available

2019 Sessions:

  • Session 1 – July 15 to 19
  • Session 2 – August 12 to 16

Rate: $200 per camper. Select either Session 1 or 2. Register by May 15 and save $5 per camper! Use code: EARLY19. Penn Dixie members please call 627-4560 for code to receive $10 off registration. Don’t delay — this camp fills quickly!


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Nature Expedition Camp (5 Days)

IMG_0702Children explore the natural world at three great nature centers! Campers will investigate insects and plants and learn important wilderness survival skills at Reinstein Woods. At Evangola State Park campers will visit wetlands, examine skulls, go fishing and more. Campers will head to Penn Dixie to explore paleontology, geology and collecting 380 million year old fossils. Campers must be dropped off at partner locations. Daily schedule varies by session.

Locations: Reinstein Woods Nature PreserveEvangola State Park, and Penn Dixie

Schedule: 9 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday; Extended care not available

2019 Session:

  • Session 2 – August 26 to 30 (Monday at Reinstein Woods, Tuesday-Wednesday at Penn Dixie, Thursday-Friday at Evangola)

Rate: $200 per camper/$190 for Penn Dixie and Reinstein Woods members. Select either Session 1 or 2. Register by May 15 and save $5 per camper! Use code: EARLY19. Penn Dixie and Reinstein Woods members: Call 716-627-4560 for your code to receive $10 off registration.


 

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Space Camp Workshop (3 Days)

IMG_0525Blast off into space fun! Children will explore our solar system through science and engineering. Campers will learn about space flight through rocketry, examine microfossils that may resemble fossil life on other planets, view our sun safely through special telescopes and glasses, and participate in many other fun science and engineering activities.

During the workshop each camper will build, study, and launch two different Estes Model Rockets that he or she can keep. One optional night of stargazing just for our campers will also take place — date and time TBA. All materials are included.

Location: Three days at Penn Dixie

Schedule: 9 am to 3 pm Wednesday to Friday; Extended care not available

2019 Sessions:

  • Session 2 – August 7 to 9

Rate: $140 per camper/$130 for Penn Dixie members. Select Session 2. Register by May 15 and save $5 per participant! Use code: EARLY19. Members: Please call 716-627-4560 for your $10 discount code.


Campers must register and complete all health and emergency contact forms at least one week prior to the first day of camp. Registration closes one week (7 days) prior to the first date of a camp or workshop session. Parents/guardians: Be sure to review our cancellation policy. All campers are bound to our Code of Conduct. For additional help contact Director of Education Dr. Holly Schreiber at: (716) 627-4560 or using our online form.