News Release 620

Geology careers explored at Missouri Department of Natural Resources in Rolla

Volume 38-620 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

ROLLA, OCT. 26, 2010 – What do Mark Twain, St. Patrick, wildcats and the month of October have in common? Not much, if anything. However, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geology and Land Survey recently brought together Rolla fifth grade students from St. Patrick Catholic School and second grade students from Mark Twain Elementary School along with freshmen from nearby Licking High School (whose mascot is the powerful wildcat) to learn about earth science, careers in geology, and ways to protect our environment.

October is always a busy month for DNR in Rolla, because for many years, that is when the department has celebrated Earth science education. Topics front and center were rocks, minerals, fossils, water protection, household hazardous waste, industrial minerals, earthquakes, sinkholes, and related environmental issues.

Students from Mrs. Block’s fifth grade class at St. Patrick Catholic School received a visit from Joe Gillman, state geologist and the Department’s Geology and Land Survey Division director. The students celebrated Earth Science Week (October 10-16) with Gillman who encouraged everyone to discover the Earth sciences and engage in responsible stewardship of our precious natural resources. Gillman and staff participate each year with school children to bring awareness to the fact that earth sciences are fundamental to the health, safety and welfare of all Missourians.

Gillman said, “This year, along with many other partners across the nation, we participated in the First Annual National Fossil Day Wednesday, Oct. 13, by highlighting the fossil collection in our Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology.  As a special treat that day, visitors to our museum received a crinoid stem fossil. The crinoid is the official state fossil.”

One hundred second grade students from Rolla’s Mark Twain Elementary visited the museum during Earth Science Week to learn about rocks, minerals and fossils. While onsite, they also learned about handling and disposal of household hazardous waste, illegal dumping and ways they can protect the environment. 

Jeanne Goggins, teacher and coordinator for the field trip said, “Our field trip to the Department of Nat. Resources was a wonderful experience for second graders. Students learned about some of our local resources in a fun environment.  All students had the opportunity to experience the museum, choose a rock, and win trading cards about Missouri.  It was a great way to reinforce skills taught in second grade science lessons.”

The latest group of young learners to visit the Rolla campus came from Licking High School. Seventy freshmen explored geology-related career choices. Major energy and environmental issues are better understood via geology. Geologists play an important role in society's use and protection of our natural resources. Staff geologists covered topics that include mapping, earthquakes, industrial minerals, water tracing, waste management, geologic resources, environmental geology and more.

The Department has a long history of providing geologic expertise to Missouri citizens, business, industry and the academic community.

The Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology, located at 111 Fairgrounds Road, Rolla, where fossils, rocks, minerals and other items are on display is open to the public for self-guided tours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Admission is free. Additional information may be found on the division’s website dnr.mo.gov/geology

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Editor: Photo is available at /newsrel/images/marktwain2010.jpg.

Caption:  Francisco Medina, a second grade student in Lisa Baxter’s Mark Twain Elementary school class shows off the geologist created. Building a geologist was one of the many hands-on learning experiences Medina and his classmates enjoyed during their visit to the Missouri Geological Survey in Rolla.

Medina also sports stamps of the state fossil, dinosaur, a trilobite and the shape of the state.