Do you know that annually there is an entire day dedicated to celebrating fossils? Fossil Day! Last month on October 15, hundreds of Buddy Bison students from Washington Jesuit Academy, Neval Thomas Elementary (Washington, D.C.) and Harmony Hills Elementary (Silver Spring, MD) experienced the wonder and fun of fossils at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a program in partnership with the National Park Service and Smithsonian.
Students visited a variety of educational stations where they held and observed many well-preserved specimens ranging from tiny sea critters to early human ancestral skulls. I even saw two students carrying a femur bone (leg) that must have been three feet long – now that’s a big animal! The students even used sophisticated state-of-the-art microscopes that archaeologists work with to examine fossils.
By far the biggest attraction was the fossil room in the Barbara and Craig Barrett Lab, where students “dug” for fossils from trays of dirt and rocks and identified them just like real paleontologists. And the best part? The students got to keep their fossil finds – a wonderful souvenir of their day. Fossils last forever just like park memories.
Exploring Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
The Washington Jesuit Academy 5th-grade boys from Washington, D.C. visited Rock Creek Park for a day of fun learning activities and hiking with Ranger Scott. Wally said, “I wish my mom would bring me here again!" They also visited the park's planetarium and learned about star systems and planets. More Rock Creek photos here! I love to look at the dark sky at night and discover stars and planets too!
Rock Creek Park
Washington Jesuit Academy toured Rock reek Park this April with Buddy Bison. At the beginning of the tour everyone recieved their own Buddy to explore with. While they were there they had all kinds of adventures including touring space in the planetarium, learning about habitats, hiking to the creek, and practicing rock skipping. They also learned about plants and wildlife, especially local trees and poison ivy. At the end of their adventure they were sworn in as Junior Park Rangers. Congratulations!
LIVE Food Chain!
|WJA students learning about the food chain.|
Over the past month our friends from Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) presented special programs to our Buddy Bison students.
ECC's Daryl Wallace visited several D.C. schools with a LIVE food chain featuring raptors, snakes, and small mammals. Washington Jesuit Academy (WJA) welcomed Daryl and his programs.
Click here to read some of the students reflections of ECC visit.
Thank you Daryl and the ECC for bringing park experiences to our students during the cold winter months!
Making no Bones about celebrating Fossil Day on the National Mall
My friends from Washington Jesuit Academy celebrated the 3rd annual Fossil Day in DC by visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Fossil Day is a day when kids can have fun at our parks learning about our planet and the animals that walked it millions of years ago.
During their trip, the kids saw dinosaurs that lived in North America long before we did and we were given a VIP tour of the storage and research rooms where all the bones are kept - there were over 3 million fossils down there! They even got to see a real triceratops skull, a raptor claw, and even some fossilized dino scat (dino droppings) that was over 75 million years old!
Outside the museum at the National Mall, the National Park Service, Maryland Dinosaur Park, and the National Science Foundation had education stations where we got to learn more about fossils. My buddies sifted for fossils of shark teeth, coral, and ancient shells. The park rangers even had a replica skull of one of my ancient bison ancestors that my friends took a picture with. Thanks to all my Washington Jesuit buddies and the Fossil Day volunteers for a fun day of exploration! To view more photos from the day, click here!
WashingtonJesuit Academyand a Horse Named Steely Dan
Officer Mariea Clowers – a Buddy Bison Ambassador – rode into Washington Jesuit Academy on her horse Steely Dan to give the students a presentation about her role with the National Park Service. Officer Clowers and Steely Dan work together to protect citizens in Washington D.C. when they gather for parades, political rallies, and demonstrations. The students were impressed by Steely Dan’s crowd control maneuvers and Officer Clowers’ equipment (which they got to try on).
Most importantly, Officer Clowers discussed the importance of making good decisions and told the students of WJA that if they continued to work hard and be dedicated park stewards, they will one day become leaders in their community.
Students from Washington Jesuit Academy with Buddy Bison Ambassador Mariea Clowers and her horse Steely Dan.
Fun on Fossil Day
On October 12th, Students from Washington Jesuit Academy joined Buddy Bison on the National Mall for the 2nd Annual Fossil Day as part of Earth Science Week. In the shadow of the
Park rangers and volunteers taught the students how to identify their findings and helped them analyze the skeletons of alligators and birds. They even had the chance to create their own miniature bird feeders by covering pinecones with nuts and honey. When it started to rain, the students escaped into the Museum of Natural History where they studied more skeletons and other ancient artifacts.
Click here to see more photos from the 2nd Annual National Fossil Day.