Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 7th, 2009
The Windham Christian Academy crew looks at its discoveries. They are, from left, sitting: teacher Dave Earle, the Rev. Paul Veit and Roy Mickelson; and, standing, Hsing-Sheng “Sean” Yang, Jona-Lynn Hagerstrom, Sarah Howe, Liz Trefethen, Connor Briggs, Hannah Pratt, Christian Briggs, Derek Hayes and Ji Sen Yoon.
Students at Windham Christian Academy recently had the thrill of a lifetime after uncovering dinosaur tracks at quarry in Granby, Mass.
A group of seven students and three foreign exchange students worked together to chisel and move a slab of stone, one measuring 6 feet long and 5 feet wide. Underneath it, they discovered a single footprint thought to be from a meat-eating carnivore measuring 15 feet long. The dinosaur thought to have made the huge footprint was a Dilophosaurus.
“My heart was pumping,” said Dave Earle, a math and computer teacher who organized the field trip. “It was awesome. This is something I have wanted to do since I was a kid. I don’t think all the kids truly understood how unique this experience was. Oh, man I’d like to do that again.”
It took Earle two years to secure the field trip with the Dinosaur Encounter of Bridgton. Students spent a day and a half excavating a site in the Connecticut River valley.
The process to excavate the footprints is tedious. Earle said they used a tool similar to a butter knife to split the slate beds. When the slate begins to crack, you search for the next layer and spread the knives around the slab to even out the pressure, he said.
“You don’t want to crack the slabs or you would ruin the footprint,” Earle said.
“The students did really well. They worked hard and stayed with it. When they picked up the slabs and found a footprint, they were excited. I think many of them were surprised.”
One of those students is Jona-Lynn Hagerstrom, 17, who said they learned two different views on how the rock area was formed with the fossils in it. She said one view suggests that each rock layer represents a different time period. Another belief suggests the rocks were formed in a great cataclysmic flood in the Old Testament.
“It was a really exciting feeling. Dinosaurs had actually walked where we were standing,” Hagerstrom said. “It was so much fun. It was so cool.
“Some of the footprints were so defined you could feel the bumpiness on the bottom of the dinosaur’s feet. Some were so good you could see all the wrinkles.”
The students uncovered roughly six large footprints measuring about 14 inches long. They also uncovered several footprints that were 2 to 3 inches long, most likely coming from a dinosaur that measured 3 to 5 feet tall.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Connor Briggs, a junior at the academy. “Not many people would have the chance to touch a dinosaur footprint or even find one. They are more common than people think.”
Sarah Howe, 17, said it was incredible to see the evidence that dinosaurs existed.
“It was awesome. We had so much fun digging up these enormous tracks,” Howe said. “It was really awesome to be close to my classmates and work together as a team to uncover these amazing footprints.”
Source. Close to Home: Dinosaur discoveries – Students from Windham Christian Academy unearth prehistoric footprints during a Massachusetts field trip,” by Melanie Creamer, Staff Writer, Portland Press Herald, June 3, 2009.