The grand history of interpreting paleontological resources at Grand Canyon National Park

Boudreau, Diana M.; Colvin, Ronnie; Spamer, Earle Within the many units of the National Park Service, visitors marvel at the scenic vistas set aside for their enjoyment, gaze at the wildlife managed by park scientists, and imagine ancient cultures
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  Start |Grid View |  Author Index | Meeting Information  GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019     Paper No. 97-13 Presentation Time: 11:35 AM THE GRAND HISTORY OF INTERPRETING PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES AT GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK BOUDREAU, Diana M. 1 , COLVIN, Ronnie 1  and SPAMER, Earle 2 , (1)National Park Service, Grand Canyon National Park, 17 S Entrance Road, PO Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023-0129, (2)Retired, Philadelphia, PA 19103 Within the many units of the National Park Service, visitors marvel at the scenic vistas set aside for their enjoyment, gaze at the wildlife managed by park scientists, and imagine ancient cultures occupying preserved ruins. One of the things the National Park Service does best is convey information about their park resources to the public through informative wayside signs and engaging ranger programs. Grand Canyon National Park is no different, particularly with their paleontological resources. From early geologists describing fossils in the canyon walls, to hardworking Civilian Conservation Corps crews constructing exhibits, to current paleontologists conducting inventories and planning outreach events, paleontology has always been, and continues to be, an important facet of this iconic landscape. Nearly every layer exposed by the Colorado River contains examples of prehistoric life, providing park scientists and interpretive staff a myriad of ways to collaborate. In recognition of Grand Canyon Natio nal Park’s centennial anniversary, the stories presented here celebrate the progress of paleontological outreach over the past 100 years and inspire continued interpretive advancement in the many years to come. Session No. 97 T184. Geoheritage: Sharing Earth’s Legacy for Scientific, Societal, and Economic Advancement I   Monday, 23 September 2019: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM Room 101C, West Building (Phoenix Convention Center) Geological Society of America  Abstracts with Programs.  Vol. 51, No. 5 doi: 10.1130/abs/2019AM-340594 © Copyright 2019 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions. Back to:  T184. Geoheritage: Sharing Earth’s Legacy for Scientific, Societal, and Economic Advancement I  << Previous Abstract | Next Abstract   NOTE: Paper Number changed to 96-13. Presentation time Monday, 23 September, 11:35-11:50 AM, Phoenix Convention Center, Room 101C, West Building.  OUTLINE: The Grand History of Interpreting Paleontological Resources at Grand Canyon National Park Slide 1:  Introduction (myself, my title, the 2019 GRCA paleontology project) Slide 2:  Inspiration for this GSA talk stems from Earle Spamers history of paleo paper in our Paleontology Inventory Resources Report. However, 100 years of paleontology is a lot to cover in 15 minutes so the park’s foundation statement helpe d me narrow down the focus to history of conveying paleo to the public (“for the benefit and enjoyment of the visiting public”).   Slide 3:   Broad overview of GRCA paleontological resources; large amount of earth’s history preserved as well as the fossil record; GRCA considers paleo to be a fundamental resource meaning that fossils are considered in park planning and funding decisions Slide 4: The First individual to be “bit by the paleontology bug” was john strong newberry. Doctor for the first trip on the Colorado river with John Christmas Ives. Newberry was also a trained geologist and learned much about the natural world during training in France to develop his skills as a surgeon. He wrote the first descriptions published of the fossils in the park (before it was a park). Luckily for us, he saw the intrinsic value in the rocks and fossils of the canyon (read quote). Slide 5:  Quick overview of the protection history of GRCA (others started to see that intrinsic value and decided federal protections were needed). Slide 6: Revisit Foundation statement  –  the park has been preserved and protected (slide 5 is the basis) Slide 7: But I wanted to know more about the “benefit and enjoyment of the visiting public” aspect. This talk will present two stories of sites at Grand Canyon that exemplify the actions paleontologists and the park staff took to ensure this aspect of the foundation statement was met in novel ways. Slide 8, 9, 10: Tell the story of Charles Gilmore (at GRCA 1902-1928); Vertebrate paleontologist at the Smithsonian that worked extensively on the tracks and traces found in the Coconino sandstone. Main project you can still see today include the Hermit Tracksite “exhibit”. Built in 1924 by the CCC, it is a rather discreet exhibit (no signage to draw attention). However, a set of steps allow visitors to get close to the trackways without stepping on or damaging the tracks. Slide 11: However vandalism is still an issue  –  providing an opportunity for fossil stewardship outreach that Gilmore had not initially intended for the site. PRPA and fossil protection message. Slide 12: Example 2 of paleontology interpretation  –  Fossil Fern Exhibit. Built in 1937 by the CCC with help from paleobotanist from the Smithsonian museum David White. Located along South Kaibab Trail this exhibit showcased fossil plants found in the hermit shale. Slide 13: This exhibit changed over the years as outdoor exhibits are exposed to a variety of environments (new roofs, interp signage, etc) compare images from 1937 to 1956. Slide also showcases what the fossil plants looked like at the quarry. Underrepresented in the paleo education realm so it’s a great opportunity to talk about paleo environments Slide 14-16: Fossil Fern Exhibit is more than a portal to Earth’s ancient hist ory. There is also a record of human history there too. Attempt to have the audience guess who is photographed in this image at FFE  (add NASA logo as a hint). Then use slide to showcase NASA astronauts lunching at the exhibit in 1964 as part of a geology training before the first man on the moon. Slide 17: Updates continued to the exhibit most recently in 2008 with a rededication ceremony, new sign, plexiglass, roofing, etc. Slide 18: Continued advancement with the development of another restoration project to start fall of 2019 after repeated vandalism. Slide 19: Other ways that GRCA is interpreting fossil resources today  –  classic interp/ranger programs Slide 20: Highlighting NFD event hosted at GRCA past 5 years and plug for the event happening this year September 28 th  on the South Rim! Slide 21, 22, 23: Novel and non-traditional interpretation techniques are being done. Pop-up exhibit and trading card sets, as well as 3D models of fossils to use in interpretive programs or by academic researchers Slide 24: Outline plans the park has for future GRCA paleontology projects (even those outside interp because they will provide the information needed to develop interpretive programs and activities) Slide 25: Highlight the importance of having passionate people at the park to promote paleontology Slide 26 & 27: Acknowledgements and quetsions  Diana Boudreau, Ronnie Colvin, Earle Spamer A Grand History of Interpreting Paleontological Resources atGrand Canyon National Park  Grand Canyon National Park’s purpose is to preserve and protect Grand Canyon’s unique geologic, paleontologic, and other natural and cultural features for the benefit and enjoyment of the visiting public.
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