Downcast Ice Age Trail Field Trip for Extreme Survivors program

As part of IRW’s Extreme Survivors program, focusing on Kimberly Ridley’s latest book Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot, students from three Washington County schools met in the bright autumn air to explore and observe traces and indications of glacial movements and other ice age features on the Downeast Ice Age Trail. How have large changes over eons impacted the landscape around us? And how do the creatures in Kim’s book manage to survive all that? (That last question will be answered in a presentation and workshops at each school!)

Teachers Cathy Morse (Lubec) and Rosie Griffith (Pembroke) shared their knowledge of glacier movement, rock formations, and terrain. Professor Hal Borns (UMaine Climate Institute) trained them himself during a teacher field trip in June, so both educators knew the Downeast Ice Age Trail map and used it to explain what students were seeing. The field trip gave them and their students (and 5th & 6th graders from Beatrice Rafferty) an opportunity to put their knowledge to work outdoors.

Some of the questions the teachers posed: How do glaciers form? Where did the rocks come from? How do geologists know this deposit of rocks came from the Ice Age?

Many of the students had done work with their teachers ahead of time to prepare for the exploratory visit. They were familiar with and could explain what moraines and eskers are when prompted.

After an overview and noticing the surrounding rocks and vegetation, students split up into two groups. They identified rocks by color, size, shape, texture etc. Some lucky archeologists in training even found fossils! They also had an opportunity to make small nature journals and wrote a story about their chosen rock’s journey in either fiction or non fiction perspective, including a budding young author (from BRS) who shared her story of  “My Rocky Life.”

In November, Kim Ridley will meet with these same students and connect her book to the geological drama of theirsurroundings, and reveal to them that some of these creatures are hiding in their own backyard!