Sunday, April 2, 2023

Pups Celebrate National Poetry Month

The Grand Traverse Area Rock and Mineral Club’s Pebble Pups and Teen Earth Science Scholars Celebrate National Poetry Month

Green as emerald
Ancient civilization
Sacred rituals

    By Nathan Peters, 10th grade

Photomicrograph of a chrysoprase bead made
by the ancient Pyu civilization.
This artifact measures 9.5 mm across.
Photo © Steven Veatch.

I am forgotten
But not lost—formed by pressure
A story of the past

    By Tim Bashore, 10th grade

A puddingstone found in a Michigan
 farmer’s field. Photo © Steven Veatch.

An asteroid hit
The Triceratops and others died 
Life started again
    By Bo White, 1st grade

A Triceratops out for a
Mesozoic stroll. Sketch by S. W. Veatch.

Saber is coming!
Mammoth gets stuck in the tar 
Saber eats the mammoth.
    By Clayton Sedlacek, 3rd grade

A sabertooth cat stalks prey.
From the S. W. Veatch postcard collection.

It flies with its wings
The Archaeopteryx takes meat
Dinosaurs are dead
    By Brady Sedlacek, Kindergarten

An Archaeopteryx gets ready to fly.
Sketch by S. W. Veatch.

The color purple
This amethyst is bumpy
To hold and to touch
    By Scarlett Sedlacek, 2nd grade

Formerly known as “grape agate,”
these specimens are now considered to be amethyst,
not chalcedony. Source: Photo © Steven Veatch.

Friday, March 31, 2023

The Grand Traverse Area Rock and Mineral Club’s First Pebble Pup Class Meets in March

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in geology and rockhounding among people of all ages. Whether it's the thrill of finding a mineral, rock, or the satisfaction of identifying a fossil specimen, there's something about rockhounding that captures the imagination.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in a new rockhounding class for children, the Pebble Pups, which has been a smashing success. The class, which is taught by passionate and knowledgeable instructors, has attracted a wide range of students, from 5 years old to 16 years old, who are eager to learn about the fascinating world of geology.  Two groups comprise this program. Elementary students are Pebble Pups. Middle school students and high school students participate as Earth Science Scholars. The older students work on research projects and help work with the younger students.

The first class met March 15, 2023. There were 5 Pebble Pups, 2 teenage Earth Science Scholars, 3 parents, 3 pup teachers, and 3 adult visitors. The Pebble Pup classes cover a range of topics, from basic geology and mineral identification to more advanced concepts like plate tectonics and geological time. Through a combination of lectures, hands-on activities, and field trips, students are able to deepen their understanding of the subject and develop a love for rockhounding that will stay with them for years to come.

Melanie Ackerman and Steven Veatch begin the first Pebble Pup lesson.
Pebble Pups meet from 5: 30 to 6:10 pm, the same night
the club meets at the VFW. Photo by Shelly Veatch.

One of the reasons the class has been so successful is the enthusiasm and dedication of the instructors. With years of experience in the field, they are able to share their knowledge and passion for the subject with their students, making the class engaging and informative. The instructors are Steve Veatch, Melanie Ackerman, and Michelle Peters. Nathan Peters, who participates as an Earth Science Scholar, is the program assistant. 

Melanie Ackerman is teaching the group how to write a short poem a
bout a rock, or mineral, or even a fossil. This mixes writing with science
to produce something artful, a poem. April is National Poetry Month
and the pups will participate. Photo by Shelly Veatch.

Another factor contributing to the success of the class is the way it is structured. By combining traditional classroom learning with hands-on activities and field trips, students are able to experience the subject in a variety of ways and develop a deeper understanding of the material.

But perhaps the most significant factor in the success of the class is the students themselves. With their natural curiosity and willingness to learn, they have embraced the subject and are eager to explore the world of geology and rockhounding.

For these students, the class is more than just an opportunity to learn about rocks. It's a chance to connect with the natural world, to discover the beauty and complexity of the earth, and to develop a sense of wonder and appreciation for the world around them.

As the success of this new rockhounding class demonstrates, there is a growing interest in geology and rockhounding among young people. By providing them with the tools and knowledge to explore this fascinating subject, we are helping to cultivate the next generation of rockhounds, and that's something for the Grand Traverse Area Rock and Mineral Club to be proud of.