2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


RUEGER, Bruce F.1, AIGLER, Brent V.2, CHARSKY, Alyssa M., DELANO, Catherine L.2, GUEST, Rachel L.2, HUNT, Caroline G., NEWBURY, Sophia S.4, ORNELL, Cassandra E.2, PINKSTON, James C.2 and SMITH, Amanda M., (1)Colby College, Department of Geology, 5806 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901-8858, (2)Department of Geology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901, (3)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, bfrueger@colby.edu

Existing as one of the most densely populated locations on Earth, Bermuda has a substantial number of national parks and nature reserves set aside for greenspace and recreational purposes. Many contain beaches and eolian limestone outcrops as part of their configuration. Thirteen of these areas serve as the focus of a field course on Bermuda's geology and natural history.

Each student and the instructor selected parks in locations providing island-wide coverage for which they would develop a 3-5 page field guide. The rubric formulated included directions to the park by personal vehicle and public transportation, significant geologic features, formations present, historical aspects, and vegetation types. Each guide had a generalized map that would include geologic features of note, such as cross-bedding, fossils, caves, and paleosols. Formations occurring in the park were determined by analysis in the field assisted by use of geologic maps. Quality of beaches was determined using the 60-point rating system devised by Dr. Stephen Leatherman. As many of the sites were of historical significance, forts or other structures were noted and a brief description included. The flora of Bermuda is influenced by proximity to the ocean and altitude so generalizations regarding floral types in each park were also presented in the guide. The flora has also been anthropogenically altered and reduced since colonization so the presence of native and endemic plants at each site was considered significant and such species were identified and noted.

Given time to research their selected park prior to arrival on Bermuda and while on the island, the guides for the parks were developed. At the end of the field component, a visit to each site took place where the researcher for each park led a brief field trip, explaining the geology, the historical significance, and the vegetation present at the site. Students were also given time to explore the park and ask questions of the presenter.

The goal of this exercise was to develop experience in field observation by doing the research for the project and confidence in those observations through the presentation to peers. Continuation of this project will lead to the development of a layman's field guide to the parks, beaches, and natural history of Bermuda.