WNY Earth Science Day at Penn Dixie

Autumn Evans, News Editor

SUNY Buffalo State celebrated the 17th annual Western New York Earth Science Day earlier this month at the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center.

“It was great,” said Jeffrey Dietz, Penn Dixie’s director of education and Buffalo State graduate student in the creative studies certificate program. He said the event, held Saturday, Oct. 11, was “well-represented by Buffalo State,” and was attended by the school’s geology department and student geology club. Earth sciences professor Richard Batt was also on-site signing copies of his book, “What Do You Mean, Dinosaurs Didn’t Live in Hawai’i?”

“It’s kind of cool to get students from Buffalo State down, especially because we have a really awesome geology club, which does a lot of things for the site and on campus,” Dietz said.

Science education professor Catherine Lange, also on the Penn Dixie board of directors, ran a geology-themed table with fossils, rocks and minerals and a microscope to view microscopic crystals. She also spoke to visitors about Buffalo’s State’s science programs. She said there were about 10 Buffalo State students at the table as well, and that the geology and astronomy clubs often visit Penn Dixie.

“We had a great time,” Lange said. “It was so much fun. There were a lot of people there, a lot of earth science geeks. We’re always happy when that happens ­– we’re right in our element!”

Other attractions during Earth Science Day included digging for fossils, a drilling demonstration and vendors. More than 500 people attended, according to Dietz.

“It’s really fun for people to come out and meet people from all different countries,” he said, adding that the site did many in-school and out-of-school programs, and students were welcomed to stop by.

Penn Dixie is open weekends as the weather permits, and then runs lectures during the winter. Both the lectures and regular astronomy nights are free to students who have purchased $20 year-long memberships.

Photo courtesy Jeffrey Dietz/Penn Dixie
Photo courtesy Jeffrey Dietz/Penn Dixie