NativityMiguel Students Travel Back in Time On the Shores of Lake Erie

NativityMiguel Students Travel Back in Time On the Shores of Lake Erie

By Doug Knorr, NativityMiguel Volunteer

 

Picture the scene on the stormy shore of a vast inland sea, with (nearly) four seasons of Buffalo weather in one day, spent with wise and caring guides, and great eager students finding fossils in a world-famous geological area called The Bluffs.  Then you will come close to understanding this wonderful experience. 

 

   In the earth’s geologic time-clock, it was only a few seconds before midnight and mankind had been  around for about a couple of minutes. As we left the  parking lot of the St. Monica Campus, headed toward Lake Erie, we were time-travelling back and back through vast periods of geologic time. Travelling through the driving rain we came upon a vast inland sea and marveled at it.

Our guide, Dr. Jan, talked about how the area had changed over the millions of years. He spoke about the cliffs we were on, how they were the results of ages-long sedimentation. The students correctly stated that this rock is called sedimentary rock. Dr. Jan spoke about the evidence we would find there of creatures that lived so long ago: fossils.

     Once the storm had passed, the way was clear for a trip further back in time, down the cliffs to study the actual record of the history we had learned about from Dr. Jan. On the shore of the vast inland sea (Lake Erie), the students quickly took up the job of fossil-hunters.

The scene was indeed prehistoric, with the sea many hues of green and blue and the waves crashing to shore. The students’ sharp eyes spotted Brachiopods of various kinds, Cephalopods, Gastropods, Paleozoic corals, horn fossils and bits of Trilobites.

As it began to hail we made a hasty but orderly retreat back up the hill.  Just before we reached Dr. Jan’s house there was a tremendous clap of thunder, as if the vast past ages would not let us go back to the present so easily.

After the students dried off a bit, the volunteers helped the students identify their treasures. Many notable fossils were identified and packaged for the trip home.

 

Editors note: Thank you Dr. Jan & Ms. Marie, our hosts; our volunteer leaders, Mr. Doug and Ms. Marilyn; our school representative and photographer, Ms. Bartella; and Mr. Bill Rogers, for again helping as a guide. To learn more about our volunteers and how they support our mission, please visit our Annual Fund Page.  Thank you!