Ecological History Day to Explore Missouri Ice Age, Where Dinosaurs Lived, Ecological History of Southeast Missouri

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

May 27, 2008 – Residents from throughout the region interested in plant and animal fossils are invited to participate in Ecological History Day June 21 at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center.

Free events for adults and children will begin at 10 a.m. and run through 4 p.m.

Participants may learn how Missouri’s landscape has changed through time, investigate what Missouri was like during the last ice age, gather information on research being conducted at a nearby dig site and learn were dinosaurs lived in Missouri’s past.

Those attending are asked to bring fossils they have gathered and talk to experts from the Southeast Missouri State University Fossil Club. The Club will have an exhibit of fossils on display, and a quarry pile will be available for young paleontologists to explore and collect their own fossil specimens, said Christine Aide, advisor to the club and Southeast instructor of geosciences.

“It will be very exciting,” she said. There will even be a flintknapper” on hand.

Aide says she hopes those who attend “gain an appreciation of our earth’s past and what our region looked like during that time. If you stop and think, we have had dinosaurs to mastodons to us today. There will be lots of good things to look at and good things to do.”

Three speakers will make presentations throughout the day. Matt Forir of Green County, a Missouri Naturalist, executive director of the Missouri Institute of Natural Science and professor of speology at Drury University will present “The Riverbluff Cave Paleontological Site: A Window into the Ice Age of Missouri.” Forir will  speak at 10 a.m. Forir and the Riverbluff Cave were recently reported on in the January 2008 edition of Rural Missouri. He also has made a presentation to the Vertebrate Paleontology Society on the Giant Crocodiles of the Marble Hill, Mo., Chronister Site, Aide said.

Brent Ashcraft, amateur paleontologist, local educator and lifelong southeast Missouri resident will speak on “The Sands of Time, A Look at the Geologic and Ecological History of Southeast Missouri.” His presentation is slated for noon.

The final speaker of the day will be Mike Fix, teaching professor of biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and project geologist with the Missouri Ozark Dinosaur Project. Fix will present “Dinosaurs and Associated Faune of the Late Cretaceous Chronister Site of Southeast Missouri.” Fix’s presentation is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Ecological History Day is co-sponsored by the Southeast Missouri State University Fossil Club and the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located east of Interstate 55 (exit 99) and Highway 61 in North County Park.

For more information on the event, call Aide at (573) 651-2338.