Paper No. 43
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


WHALEY, Peter W., 26312 Kensington Lane, Salisbury, MD 21801, HULSLANDER, Christina S., Assateague Island Alliance, 7206-2 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811 and GARRETT, Brian, Delmarva Discovery Center, 2 Market Street, Pocomoke City, MD 21851,

As part of Earth Science Week the American Geological Institute in partnership with the United States National Park Service sponsors National Fossil Day. The Assateague Island National Seashore is the only national park located on the Delmarva (DE/MD/VA) Peninsula. Their invertebrate fossil collection is very limited. The most recent fossil specimens are crabs and mollusks preserved in concretions eroded and deposited on the beach by Hurricane Irene. The Delmarva Discovery Center has no invertebrate fossils. Both entities have some vertebrate bones obtained as a result of commercial clam dredging operations. Local schools and libraries have no fossil collections.The Delaware, Maryland and Virginia state fossil data bases list one major fossil collecting site on the Delmarva Peninsula.

The paucity of local fossils presents a unique opportunity and challenge for presenting programs about fossils. The focus of each fossil presentation was related to the location of the presentation, the school curriculum or the library book collection. Fossil counter parts of the present day organisms found in the Assateague Island National Seashore were the focus of the Assateague program. Fossil organisms that formed ancient reefs were contrasted with the organisms in the Delmarva Discovery Center Salt Water Reef Tank. For schools and libraries, dinosaurs were the focal point. The most important supplement to each Power Point presentation was a display of the fossils which allowed the participants to physically hold and touch the fossils as part of the program. Following the definition of fossils the audience was hooked by being presented with an unidentified unusual fossil that was relative to the focus of the specific talk. Examples of unusual fossils were: shrimp burrows, ray teeth, clam borings, gastroliths or a dinosaur coprolite. Fossil bryozoans, corals, brachiopods, mollusks, arthropods and echinoderms were exhibited. Plant fossils were a part of the school and library talks. Trilobites and blastoids were included in all talks and allow extinction and age determination of rocks to be discussed. The identification of the unusual fossil and a discussion of its’ environment concluded the program. Each school was presented a copy of the Power Point presentation.