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Science Teachers:


Fossils of the Black Belt – A Hands-On Field Workshop


Space is Limited!


Visit and collect in some of the Southeast’s most fossiliferous formations!


Where: University of West Alabama in Livingston and vicinity.

When: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost: $15, preregister early

What you get: A certificate of participation (8 C.E.U.’s), a field guidebook, Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks ($25 value), other books and 3 Discovering Alabama DVDs (Geologic History of Alabama, Tracks Across Time, and Black Belt Part I, a $60 value), a geologic map of Alabama, fact sheets on Alabama fossils, box lunch, a fossil kit you will make as part of the workshop, and more. You must participate in the workshop to receive these materials.

Who Should Attend: In-service and pre-service science teachers who will be teaching earth science or other science courses with earth-science components, life science, biology, and environmental science.

Contact: Dr. David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Geological Survey of Alabama, P.O. Box 869999, Tuscaloosa AL 35486-6999. Phone: (205) 247-3695 (office) or (205) 246-9346 (cell). Fax: (205) 349-2861. Email: dkm@gsa.state.al.us

Sponsored by: Geological Survey of Alabama, The University of West Alabama, Discovering Alabama, and the Alabama Geological Society




8:00-8:30 am: Registration and Orientation (at the University of West Alabama, Livingston)

8:30-1:00 pm: Field trip to Cretaceous sites in west Alabama, Sumter County

1:00-1:30 pm: Box lunch (provided)

1:30-4:30 pm: Curriculum development workshop (at UWA, Livingston, AL)


Registration Form


Name: _______________________________ Position: _________________ School: _______________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________________________________________




Home phone: _____________ School phone: _____________ Fax: _____________ Email: __________________________



REGISTER SOON. Attendance is limited to 26! Late registrants will go on a waiting list and will be included if possible. More details, including map & directions, will be sent to registrants two weeks before the workshop.



Return to David Kopaska-Merkel, Geological Survey of Alabama, PO Box 869999, Tuscaloosa AL 35486-6999. Make checks out to Alabama Geological Society.

Workshop Summary


Sign up for a one-day workshop in paleontology (the study of fossils)! The workshop is geared for elementary school, middle school, and high school science teachers (both in-service and pre-service), and has four objectives:


  • To familiarize participants with the study of fossils and field geology, so that they will be more comfortable imparting this information to their students.

  • To provide information about well-documented sites that can be visited by classes, or used to provide material for classes.

  • To provide the teachers an opportunity to develop fossil kits, under supervision by experienced geologists, for classroom use. All objectives will further the goal of integrating real earth science into the school curriculum. Workshop participants will be better able to recommend meaningful science-fair projects in earth science and to assist students with the projects.

  • To give participants a copy of the book Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks, a major resource for teaching the geology and geologic history of Alabama, and the Discovering Alabama DVDs Geologic History of Alabama, Tracks Across Time, and Black Belt Part I.


This course will provide material useful for, or training in, Alabama Course of Study/Science Processes and Applications in all grades, the Geology and Earth & Space Science electives at the high-school level, concepts in the high-school biology core, and concepts in the life-science strand at all other grade levels.


Children love collecting fossils; field trips are excellent attention-grabbers and often seem like Easter-egg hunts. Alabama is one of the best places in the world for fossil collecting. In an area the size of England, Alabama has well-preserved fossils of almost every age. Amateur and professional paleontologists come from all over the world to collect fossils in Alabama.


The workshop will follow the 3-part format of previous years. The first part will be spent at the University of West Alabama in Livingston, where the principles of field study in earth science will be briefly introduced. The emphasis will be on the basics: keeping a field notebook, reading geologic and topographic maps, and proper collection and labeling of samples. Laws regarding fossil collecting will be discussed. The second part of the workshop will be spent at two (or more) excellent outcrops of fossiliferous Cretaceous marine strata near Livingston. The outcrops contain diverse marine fossils, including oysters, other bivalves, snails, bryozoa, worm tubes, and shark teeth. If very lucky, someone might find remains of ancient sea turtles or of a large mosasaur (a giant sea lizard). The third part of the workshop will take place at The University of West Alabama. Participants and project leaders will identify and label fossils that were collected that morning, developing fossil kits that the teachers will take back to their schools.


Workshop Leaders


Dr. David C. Kopaska-Merkel is head of the Petroleum Systems and Technology Section at the Geological Survey of Alabama. He has studied trilobites and other fossils, and has led workshops and field trips for teachers, children, and others. Dr. Kopaska-Merkel has written many educational publications.


Dr. Andrew K. Rindsberg has been studying the paleontology of Alabama since 1989 and currently teaches at The University of West Alabama. He is a specialist in marine invertebrate paleoecology. Dr. Rindsberg has written numerous reports on Alabama geology, including field trip guidebooks and educational publications on fossils.


Dr. Doug Wymer is an environmental scientist at The University of West Alabama. Dr. Wymer has co-led other geological and biological workshops for teachers, children, and the general public. His main interests lie in ecological restoration, particularly Blackland Prairie restoration. A visit to his prairie restoration project is part of the workshop.


Dr. John C. Hall is Curator of the Black Belt Museum at The University of West Alabama. He is retired chief naturalist at the University of Alabama Museum of Natural History. He has led archaeological and paleontological programs throughout Alabama since 1979 and has published on Alabama meteorites and famed naturalist William Bartram.


Previous workshops: 1997, 1998, 2001-2009!

02 May 2010 @ 09:18 am
I saw two stink bugs mating.  When I noticed them, they were about 3 feet above the ground on the outside wall of the house.  They faced each other, just a few millimeters apart.  Then the male jumped on the female, flipped around in the air so they were facing the same direction, and landed on her back, but displaced towards her right side.  It looked like an attack, and she quivered for just a moment when he made his move, as if to flee.  He appeared to fumble around with his abdomen until he got in the proper position and then stopped moving. They stayed motionless for a few minutes and then she started slowly walking up the wall.  He remained attached to her, but let go with his legs (if he had still been holding onto her with them), and was gradually dragged around so that they faced away from each other.  10 minutes later the situation remained unchanged and I left.
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20 April 2010 @ 07:18 am
http://www.dailycabal.com/2010/04/everyones-a-carnivore/ -- GM people is teh funny
15 April 2010 @ 07:51 am
gods, bugs, and everyday life -- http://www.dailycabal.com/2010/04/fly-away-now/