Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 11:15 AM


KOLLAR, Albert D., Section of Geology and Invertebrate Paleontology, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 and BREZINSKI, David K., Section of Geology and Invertebrate Paleontology, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213,

To communicate the science of geology to the public of western Pennsylvania, an educational geology program was created, seven years ago, by the Section of Invertebrate Paleontology of Carnegie Museum. The program called PAlS emphasizes through regional fieldtrips and topical seminars, the geologic history of the region. The paleoenvironments that formed the rocks that characterize the geologic period named after western Pennsylvania, known as the Pennsylvanian Period, was a time of climate change, with tropical coal swamps at the equator and glaciers at the polar regions. The rocks that formed during this geologic period; coal, limestone, sandstone, and shale, played a major role in the development of the coal, steel, and coke, industries of the Pittsburgh region. When oil and gas deposits where discovered deep below the coal seams, western Pennsylvania became analogous to the energy capital of the world in the late 19th century. The PAlS motto “Geology Underlies it All,” exemplifies the natural resources present today in western Pennsylvania as the product of geology and geologic history.

The PAlS programs consist of lectures, workshops, and guided hikes meant to illustrate the laboratory that is the outdoors of western Pennsylvania. Key to the PAlS programming are printed self-guided tours dealing with a sundry of topics. Geology guides of the City of Pittsburgh Parks, Schenley, Frick and Riverview, North Park in Allegheny County, the Montour Trail in Washington and Allegheny counties, Geology and Botany of Spruce Flat Bog in Westmoreland County, Geology of the Marcellus Shale embodies the PAlS motto that Geology does underlie it all.

PAlS lectures and hikes over the past several years have reached nearly 2,500 individuals. Lectures in addition to their annual meetings have been given to Powdermill Natural Reserve, McKeesport Heritage Center, Squirrel Hill Historical Society, Senior Men’s Club, Maryland Outdoor and Environmental Educators, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Osher Institute of the University of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Geological Society. Geology nature hikes have been conducted in collaborations with several environmental and watershed organizations, Nine Mile Run Watershed, Venture Outdoors, South Fayette Conservation, Allegheny Land Trust, Duquesne University Biology Department, and Peters Creek Watershed.