THE IMPACT OF A LITTLE DIRT: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AURORA FOSSIL MUSEUM’S FOSSIL PARK
Aside from the displays of specimens collected by hobbyists, murals depicting scenarios from the mining process to ancient ecosystems, and outreach efforts, the star attractions are the fossil pits and the hands-on, inquiry-based resource they provide. Data show this resource is used in classrooms throughout North Carolina and across the United States to introduce Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-based content focusing on paleontology and geology. More fossil pits based on the AFM model and material from the nearby phosphate mine continue to be established in science museums and parks statewide, nationally, and internationally as an educational tool and attraction.
Future studies on the impact of the AFM, as well as the in-house development of STEM-based curriculum and avocational/professional scientific collaborations, will assist in continuing the mission of the AFM and advancing the outreach and education efforts of this key eastern North Carolina resource.