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Grand Canyon National Park to Celebrate Earth Science Week October 11 through 17
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Contact: Allyson Mathis, 928-638-7923
Grand Canyon, Ariz. - Grand Canyon National Park will celebrate Earth Science Week by offering a variety of special programs and activities during the week of October 11 – 17, 2009. Ranger and resource management led programs on the park’s geology and other earth science topics will be offered, and exhibit panels from the Mapping the Canyon exhibit developed by Grand Canyon Association will be on display in the lobby of park headquarters. A geology field trip on Desert View Drive led by U.S. Geological Survey research geologist George Billingsley on Saturday, October 17 will culminate the week’s events.
Earth Science Week promotes understanding and appreciation of the value of earth science research and its applications and relevance to our daily lives. Grand Canyon National Park is an ideal place to celebrate Earth Science Week, as the park is a natural classroom and laboratory for the earth sciences, and is one of the most well known and most scenic geologic landscapes on the planet.
Superintendent Steve Martin said, “Grand Canyon National Park is very pleased to offer special events in recognition of Earth Science Week. The earth sciences are essential tools that the National Park Service uses to preserve and protect Grand Canyon. We’re very excited to offer a variety of earth science programs throughout the week, especially the geology field trip on Desert View Drive, which will provide a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about the canyon’s geology from George Billingsley, a field geologist who has dedicated his professional career to studying the geology of the Grand Canyon region.”
To commemorate Earth Science Week, Fossil Walks and Geology Walks will be offered daily from Sunday, October 11 through Friday, October 16. The Fossil Walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. from the patio behind the Bright Angel Lodge and will visit a fossil bed containing the remains of a variety of marine organisms exposed near the rim of Grand Canyon. The Geology Walk will begin at 1:00 p.m. from outside of Yavapai Observation Station and will overview the canyon’s geologic story. Each program will last approximately one hour and include an easy ½ mile walk.
On Tuesday, October 13, the park will celebrate No Child Left Inside Day as part of Earth Science Week by offering a touch table on the rim of the canyon in the historic village near the El Tovar Lodge from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The touch table will help kids and park visitors explore the canyon’s geology by providing a variety of hands-on activities.
Several evening programs offered during the week will be on the earth sciences. On Monday, October 12, Park Ranger Chris Carroll will present “Arizona Monsoon? Surely You Jest! (The Summer Climate of Grand Canyon).” Evening Programs last approximately one hour and are presented in the Shrine of the Ages auditorium. On Tuesday, October 13, Parker Ranger Jim Heywood presents “How the Grand Canyon Came to Be: Grand Canyon Geology.” On Wednesday, October 14, Margaret Cook, Environmental Director, Gila River Community will present “People, Culture and Environment.”
On Saturday, October 17, USGS research geologist George Billingsley will lead a special Earth Science Week geology field trip on Desert View Drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The field trip will begin and end at Grand Canyon National Park Headquarters and include stops at Desert View, Grandview Point and Yaki Point. Free transportation for the field trip will be provided by a park shuttle bus. Billingsley has spent his career mapping the Grand Canyon region and has 131 professional papers and geologic maps on the region’s geology. During the field trip, he will provide a nontechnical overview of Grand Canyon geology and share some of his experiences while conducting geologic research in the canyon. The field trip is free. Participants should bring a sack lunch, water, and a light jacket.
The theme for this year’s Earth Science Week is Understanding Climate. Grand Canyon National Park will be hosting a Climate Friendly Parks workshop for park staff and park partners October 14 – 15 in order to develop an action plan for Grand Canyon with specific emission reduction goals and strategies to adapt to climate change impacts. The Climate Friendly Parks program provides national parks with management tools and resources to address climate change.
To learn more about Earth Science Week activities at Grand Canyon National Park, please contact Allyson Mathis, Science and Education Outreach Coordinator, at (928) 638-7923 or visit http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/earth-sci-week.htm.
Did You Know?
From Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the drop to the Colorado River below is 4,600 feet (1,400 m). The elevation at river level is 2,450 feet (750 m) above sea level. Without the Colorado River, a perennial river in a desert environment, the Grand Canyon would not exist.