South Jersey Students Dig Deep at Fossil Park

South Jersey Students Dig Deep at Fossil Park

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MANTUA, N.J. - The Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University celebrated its season kickoff dig event with about 400 Camden and Gloucester County students.

Just in time for Earth Day, hundreds of South Jersey elementary students got the chance to learn a little bit more about prehistoric Earth, as they climbed deep into a Mantua Township quarry to hunt for fossils.

Some local students are getting their hands dirty trying to find some fossils of their own.

“It’s fun to be, like, under all of this stuff, because I wasn’t here millions of years ago," says Lauren Staryu, a 5th-grade student. "So it’s fun to actually be down here and find stuff.”

Although the quarry is not fully open to the public yet, a select amount of lucky students are getting the chance to dig for fossils.

Many people don’t realize that southern New Jersey is the original home for dinosaur paleontology.

“This is a real opportunity for students to make a personal connection with Earth’s past, and to learn that these amazing creatures lived in what’s essentially their backyard,” says Heather Simmons, associate director at Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University.

“I found an iron rock,” says Amaura White, a 5th grader.

After the kids learned about what types of fossils they might find, they descended down to find some 65 million-year-old souvenirs.

“We had to dig and climb this big thing of dirt, and I found this, and he said it’s, like, from the bottom of the ocean, but it’s clam-like,” says Staryu.

“As a child, that’s all we did was read it out of a book, not go and actually find fossils for ourselves,” says Corey Hoffman, a 5th-grade teacher at Paulsboro’s Loudenslager Elementary School. “So for me, it’s a pretty big deal.”

“Many people don’t realize that southern New Jersey is the original home for dinosaur paleontology,” says Heather Simmons.

Simmons says thanks to a $25 million donation made to the facility last fall by Jean and Rick Edelman, the opening a museum, nature trail, and dinosaur-themed playground is slated for April 2020, in order to give the public full access to the prehistoric age.

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Date Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 10:45
Source URL: SNJ Today News