Paleo Expedition 2011

Paleo Expedition 2011 Blog

Day One

Hello everyone! Day one is officially complete! We had a great day with everyone. We got to meet and greet our participants and some of their family members when they arrived this afternoon. Danielle, our peer mentor, arrived early this morning and helped us get ready for the big day. We had so much fun today getting to know each other and learning some awesome things about the science of Paleontology and the history of life on Earth. After checking into our hotel, we're ready to get some rest-- we have a big day tomorrow...the adventure has just begun! (Check back soon to see pictures from today!) - Jes and Charles

Day Two

Hi everyone! We had a packed day today, waking up extra early to head to the ropes course. We played games and solved challenges to work on our teamwork skills. We also challenged ourselves individually to climb on the high ropes course. Everyone rose to the challenge and met a personal goal to try and climb as high as they could. We also met Dr. Westrop and Roger, curator and collection manager for the Invertebrate Paleontology collection here at the Sam Noble Museum. We found out about the different fossils we'd be likely to find this weekend when we visit the Whitemound site. We're packing up for our camping trip this weekend, we'll leave tomorrow for the Wichitas, camp overnight and then head to the Arbuckles. We'll be back at the museum Sunday evening. We will not have access to the internet, so our next update will be Friday. Look for some awesome pictures! - Jes

Danielle: So today we went on a ropes course, climbed up poles, jumped of poles, and of course zip-lined. You know just your average every-day stuff (haha). Then after the fun in the sun we all came back to museum and learned about ancient invertebrates which was equally interesting. Well ta-ta for now, 'til next time... P.S. Brad, Jes, & Charles are extrodinarily awesome =] 

Chance: Paleo 2011 has begun and has so far gone great. These past two days the team has been working on getting to know each other better and work on our teamwork skills. Today our skills were put to the test at the ropes course, witch was a blast. I challenged myself to at least climb half the height of the jump pole and face my fear of heights. I did face my fear and after I felt great! The rest of the team did awesome on the jump and the double wires/zip line and everyone was there to cheer on and encourage their team mates. I've had an amazing time so far and only expect this expedition to get better! I'm especially excited for tomorrow's event when we will go to Wichita Mountains! 

Casey: Day 1: Today was the first day of Paleo Expedition. After arriving at the Sam Noble Museum, we viewed a presentation on what we'll be doing for the next few weeks. After the presentation, we played some icebreaker games to get to know each other. Then, Charles gave a presentation on Paleontology, and what to expect while in the field. Day 2: Today, we went to the ropes course. After spending the morning with some challenging low ropes, we managed to find solutions to all of the elements. When we finished lunch, we went onto the high ropes. The Leap of Faith consisted of climbing to the top of a telephone pole, then jumping off and trying to touch a buoy. Everyone tried this challenge, and we all pushed ourselves to be the best that we could. Later, we did the zipline. We had to climb another telephone pole, walk across a high wire, and jump off a platform to zipline down to a ladder. After dinner, Dr. Steve Westrop gave a presentation on Invertebrate Paleontology, and the types of fossils we might find at White Mound on Saturday. Finally, we viewed the Sam Noble Museum's extensive collection of fossils. 

Adam: In the first day we learned how to tell fossils from bones, how radiometric dating works, and how the fossilization process works. Today is only the 2nd day and we have already been in the lab of the museum. We woke up early to go on a ropes course. 

Marina: Today, we got up before the sun at 4:15 (jk lol) at 6:15 and ate breakfast at our hotel, the Sooner Suites. We then returned to the museum to make lunches for today and headed out to the ropes course. Our first activities were stretches and games that had instructional purpose; teaching about communication and inclusion of everyone. After that, we had to get everyone across a low ropes course, which involved figuring out how to navigate each element and then physically performing the feat. We finished in about 1.5 hours and then had lunch. After lunch, we went to the high ropes course and did the leap of faith and climbed up to the zipline. It was a fun and tiring day, but I think that, individually and collectively, we accomplished a lot. I believe we all feel closer to one another and we have more respect for each individual's strengths and contributions to the group. This is just day one! Wow! I can't wait to see what the rest of the program holds! Bye, see you in 18 days! 

McKenzie: Hi Mom, Hi Dad!! I am having so much fun! Today we went on the ropes course. It was really cool, unlike anything I have ever done. I got to challenge myself a lot. We did a lot of team building activities which helped everyone get to know one another and grow a lot closer. I did the leap of faith which wasn't scary until I climbed to the top and looked down and realized that I had to jump! But it was worth it and I'm glad to have had the experience. Tomorrow we will be heading out your way to the Wichita Mountains for a few days of camping. Can't wait! First time camping! Love you guys lots and I'll be keeping in touch! 

Shelbie: The beginning of the first day of camp was really hard. It took everything I had to say good to my boyfriend and my family. As the day progressed though, it became much easier. Here it is already on the second day of the Expedition and I'm so tired. We got up early, ate breakfast, and went to the ropes course. The ropes course was a lot more challenging than I expected. We started off by playing some teambuilding games like evolving rock-paper-scissors, and a game called mingle. After the games we tried our hands at the "elements". It took quite a while to figure out a solution to most of the courses, but in the end we trusted each other a lot more and we learned a bunch about each other. The most challenging part of the day was "The Highs". "The Highs" is a ropes course that’s been suspended in the air about 20 feet. We climbed up tall posts and jumped or fell off of them. (We were wearing harnesses of course). After we finished all of that, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up. I then realized that my contact was ripped so now I'm wearing my back up pair :(. Dinner was amazing, we ate Italian. There goes my diet. We just recently got done with a tour of a small portion of the collections in the private part of the museum. Tonight will be are last night of air conditioning and such luxuries because tomorrow we are heading into the mountains for some excavation and some camping… that will be interesting 🙂 Love you guys. 

Chay: Awesome day tomorrow is going to be out doors in the good nature... and didn’t I mention loving every min of it 🙂 

Caleb: Well, today has been a fun-filled day. Lots of rope courses and jumping and landing, of course! Luckily everyone wore sunscreen, because it got quite hot in the sun. I learned everyone's name in the different activities we worked together in; I can't wait to go camping and to the dig cites with my Paleo Expedition Group of 2011! Last night, and tonight we were/are staying at the Sooner Legend Hotel! Everything's covered in Crimson and Cream! Go OU! Good-Night! 

Daryl: Today we went to the ropes course. It was a fun and insightful program. We learned lots of ways to share our ideas, and we also learned to better communicate as a team. Our first set of tasks were team building games, which helped us for later on in the course. These included the blind tank, evolution, and a sequncial number code game. These were all helpful in getting to know one another and working together. We then set about todo the second part which was an element course, in which we had to work together as a team to accomplice each element. In these elements we had to use other iteams we picked up on the way to complete each element. There was one in perticular that was somewhat of a challenge, and we took like an hour and 30 minutes tocomplete all of it. After lunch we left for the high lines. These were extremely high and very hard to do, but I suprisingly completed all of these. Then the ropes couse was done, and we went back to the hotel to freshen up, and then back to Sam Noble for our dinner and guest speaker. After all of this we got to tour one of the collections. 

Ernesto V.: The days seem longer, but that's totally acceptable. I made my first arch nemesis today. His, or her, name is the rope climbing harness, nonetheless I still had loads of fun balancing on ropes and 20 feet vertical logs while discovering my uncanny spotter abilities. Lastly, invertebrate paleontology is and always will be the coolest aspect of paleontology, a trilobite could totally take on a dinosaur, if the dinosaur was trilobite size or vice versa. 

Days Three — Five

Hi everyone! We just returned from a fantastic trip! Over the weekend, we camped at the Wichita Mountains and the Chickasaw NRA in Sulphur. In the Wichitas, we ate our lunch on teh top of Mt. Scott before scouting out the geology of the area. We saw prairie dogs, bison, deer and longhorn close up (some even walked though our campsite!) for some amazing pictures. Friday night was rainy and windy, but the Expedition Team handled the weather like seasoned campers. On Saturday we met Dr. Westrop and Roger at Whitemound and spent the morning collecting invertebrate fossils. We packed up bags of fossils to be taken back to the museum for our research projects. Everyone found at least part of a trilobite, which was one of our goals. After saying good bye to Dr. Westrop and Steve, we set out for the Chickasaw NRA and set up camp before spending the afternoon swimming in the creek next to our site. Saturday night was calm and clear, although a few of us preferred the sound of rain to the loud frogs and insects at Chickasaw. We broke camp this morning and visited several roadside geologic sites in the Arbuckle Mountains before heading back to Norman. We would also like to wish a Happy Birthday to Expedition team member Chance! -Jes

McKenzie: First time camping was quite an experience!! It poured down rain while we were all trying to sleep. To add to it we had 4 or 5 cows walking through our campsite mooing the whole time. But I have to say I did really enjoy myself. After camping in the Wichitas we left to go to White Mound. Me and Caleb found 730 brachiopods!! After that we went to Sulphur where we camped for the night. Our campsite had a creek by it that we got to swim in and it also had a rope swing that was really fun. We played a couple campsite games and thank goodness it didn't rain that night. I can now say that all 11 of us are now Junior Rangers of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area! YAY! Today we drove back to the museum but took a couple stops along the way. We stopped by the Arbuckles and Turner Falls and studied the geology. After two days of camping I am so ready for a shower!! 

Casey: We learned more about Geology in a lab during the morning. Then we went to Mt. Scott, and afterwards to Lake Elmer. When we got to our campsite, we unpacked and went to look for wildlife. We saw bison, longhorn cows, deer, and prarie dogs. A few deer and cattle walked through our camp during the night, and we saw their tracks in the morning. Despite the pouring rain, we were so tired that we fell asleep almost immediately. Day 4: We left our campsite to go to White Mound today. The fossils there were extremely easy to spot, and we collected hundreds. They were mostly brachiopods, but we found a few trilobites, snails, and corals. After lunch at Braum's, we went to our new campsite at Chickasaw National Recreation Area. We spent the afternoon swimming at Travertine Creek, then set up our tents and went to sleep. Day 5: We all became Junior Park Rangers today by picking up trash and learning more about the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. We also went to a sulfur spring, and tried some of the egg-flavored water. Next, we went to the Sooner Suites, and then to the museum. At the museum, we sorted our fossils and documented the faunal count for the museum. 

Chance: Days 3, 4, and 5 have been so exciting! We hit the road and started our actual camping. Our first campsite was in Wichita where we were accompanied by wild prairie dogs, bison, long horned cattle, and the occasional deer. It was so cool to be on top of the mountains looking down at everything below, the landscape and scenery was beautiful. After Wichita, we headed to the Chickasaw national recreation center for our next nights camping. Unlike the previous night where we were accompanied by some rain this night was a perfect night under the stars. This site also had a creek where we could swim and use the rope swing which was a blast. Today A.K.A my Birthday! We left the camp site and checked out the local and very smelly sulfur springs. The water smelt terrible, but tasted like water and eggs. Not as bad as I thought. After the springs we hit the road again and stopped at some interesting geological spots. These spots included Turner's fall, and the Arbuckle Mountains. Once back to Norman, after some shower-less days we headed to our temporary sleeping spot out of the heat and in the comfort of nice air conditioner! Once settled in and showered it was off to the museum where we had a delicious BBQ dinner and… a birthday surprise of Fried Pie! Very good! This week has been awesome and today I had a very great birthday!! To everyone back home I miss you and hope you enjoy reading this! P.S Thanks Mom for the birthday wishes! 

Adam: We went to a natural land formation called the Whitemound. Its location was once covered by shallow oceans. Almost every other rock found had at least one fossil in it. Afterwards, we went tasted water from the Vendome Well. Water from the Vendome Well tastes like raw eggs because it has traces of sulfur in it. We tried to visit the Tishomingo granite mountains but we got lost on our way. 

Caleb: So there was a large truck, filled with frozen chickens, and live pigs; and it needed to cross a bridge. It was an old rickety bridge, of just rope and wood basically. The weight limit was 10 tons, so he goes to weigh his truck. It's spot on, 10 tons, no more, no less; so the bridge is cleared for just him to cross. He then continues to cross the 2 mile bridge. He gets a mile down the bridge, and a bird begins to follow him. This bird lands on the top of the truck... What happens that stops the truck and everything from falling in the river? I'll blog later, have fun with the riddle! 

Ernesto: Well the last three days have had a tremendous influence over how I see the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma's reputation shouldn't only extend to tornados, its flatness and delicious fried pies but should include the fact that it's one of the richest geological and paleontological states in the US. We first camped at the Witchita Mountains, enduring cows (nemesis #2) and raging thunderstorm. We later went to a Devonian site and met awesome invertebrate paleontologists and collected Paleozoic fossils, an early Christmas present. Today we took the grand tour around Oklahoma's geologic history and how Oklahoma was shaped in its past by volcanoes, extreme tectonic movement and being covered by an ocean. Also, I’m going on a trip, I'm taking Rebecca, but not Black, and I'm also an official Junior Park Ranger. 

Daryl: The past few days have been very exciting for all of us. First we set off for the Wichita Mountains. There we saw some of the native animals up close like: buffalo and prairie dogs. All of these came within 10 meters of us! Then we settled down for the night at our campsite and we saw more animals up close and personal. Two deer actually came into our camp and were really close to us. In the morning we got up and realized that we had visitors in the night. Some of the longhorns came through our camp during the storm that night. After Breakfast we headed out to go fossil hunting at Whitemound. We were joined by Roger and Steve, which are some experts from the Sam Noble Museum. We all found tons of fossils and had a great time too. Then we spent the night in the Chickasaw recreation campsite, and became junior park rangers. Then today we went to some interesting rock formations around turner falls and headed back to the museum. 

Danielle: During the weekend we gathered fossils at White Mound, camped in the Wichita mountains, and studied geology at the Arbuckles. All-in-all I would say that it was quite an interesting trip. It was very fun and we all learned oodles. Take care now- bye bye then =] 

Chay: Hmmm...I broke the fear of heights YAY!!!!! Now to hit the fear of crickets??? Hard stuff. 

Marina: On June 11th, we packed up everything and drove 2 hours to White Mound. It was mostly highway, but there was a good section of dirt road and then some off road through a field. It was literally a white mound about 20 feet tall that consisted of gravel, brachiopod fossils, and a few trilobites. (I was lucky and found one complete trilobite, a head, a tail, and a thorax. Some people found none.) We camped that night (last night) at the Chickasaw National Recreation Center. After camp was set up, we went swimming at a delicious swimming hole. There was a waterfall and a rope swing and the water was a perfect temperature to cool off from the oppressive heat. Today, we went to the Vendome Well after breakfast, a natural Sulphur well. I tasted the water but I spit it out because it was yucky. We all wanted to become Junior Rangers of the National Park system, so we picked up a packet and completed all the activities required- picking up trash, talking to a ranger, etc. We went to the Jr. Ranger station, took the pledge, and we are all now official Junior Rangers!! After that, we drove for about 30 minutes to find the Tishomingo Granite Quarry, but we never found it, so we stopped on a road that had some of the granite on it. The Tishomingo Granite is the oldest exposed rock in Oklahoma, about 1.6 billion years old. We stopped in Davis for lunch and looked at some limestone outcrops along the highway. Then we went to Turner Falls, a natural spring waterfall/large creek/ swimming hole. We didn't get to swim, though. 🙁 After Turner, we returned to Norman and took showers! Yay! Now we are back at the museum, analyzing the fossils we collected at White Mound. I miss my family a lot and I am having a lot of fun here!! I can't wait for Nebraska. Bye everyone!! 

Sheblie: Friday morning we woke up, ate breakfast, and left the hotel. Then we headed over to the museum to do some geology labs. At about 11:30 we started our first day of camping in the Wichitas. Our first stop was the top of Mt. Scott. Right after that we headed over to prairie dog town. We actually came very close to actually touching one 🙂 On the ride back we also saw some wild buffalo and long horn. Then we went to Osage lake to study some rock formations. Afterwards we went down to the campsite, set up the tents, did some skits, and made some s’mores. Then it started raining. We spent the first night camping in the pouring rain with no cell service. It was a lot of fun though! Yesterday we met up with two scientists named Steve and Roger and went to White Mound. At White Mound we found a few Trilobites and a bunch of Brachiopods. After collecting fossils for a couple hours with Ernesto we went to Braum’s and ate lunch. Then we traveled a few miles down the road to our next campsite. Once there, I fell in love with it. There was a creek that ran right through it and it had a waterfall and a swing! After we swam I changed back in to my muddy clothes and we started our camping entertainment. The girls did another skit and sang the "Earthquake Song" and we all added on to the story "Harry Potty". Today we went to Vendome Well, studied some Tishimingo granite, and went to Turner Falls. I was so excited to take a shower once we got to our dorms, considering we haven't showered in a couple days, and we slept in lots of mud. Hahahaha I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the next couple days:) 

Days Six — Seven

Hi everyone! Monday, we spent a day in Perry, OK at a fossil trackway site and a fossil plant site. It was hot, but we collected a lot of neat plants and data from the area. We had the opportunity to work with Dr. Rick Lupia, Dr. Nick Czaplewski, Bill May and Joe Baalke from the Sam Noble Museum. Today we had an amazing time working in the Vertebrate Paleontology Department Collection and Prep Lab with our Vert Paleo staff. We sorted micro fossils (teeth, fish scales and other small fragments) under a microscope, prepared macro fossils (dinosaur bones) for the collection and cataloged specimens to be put into the collection. We'll also spend the night sleeping over in the museum under the dinosaurs! Tomorrow we'll visit the OKC Zoo and go behind the scenes to see the rhinos up close. We'll study the anatomy of modern rhinos to help us reconstruct the appearance and look of the fossil rhinos we will excavate in Nebraska. We will also sleep over at the zoo, getting a unique chance to walk the grounds at night and early morning. Thursday, we'll depart for Lincoln, NE to start the final leg of our journey. We'll check in again when we get to Lincoln, NE on Thursday evening! - Jes

Casey: Day 6: Today, we went to the Billings 1 site, which consisted of one of the largest trackways in the world and an old riverbed for digging up fossilized plants. When we returned to the museum, Dr. Nick Czaplewski taught us more about animal and human tracking. Then, we gave each other tours in the Hall of Ancient Life. Day 7: We spent the whole day at the museum today. First, we toured the museum's vertebrate fossil collection. Then, we assisted the museum's paleontologists with projects, such as identifying microfossils, getting large dinosaur fossils out of a plaster jacket, and cataloging fossils. Finally, we saw a presentation on interpreting behaviors from fossils. 

Danielle: Well today we worked behind the scenes of the museum in the prep lab, vert. paleontology, and the micro lab (which were all awesome). Tomorrow we are going to be headed to the museum of Osteology and the zoo...then it's off to Nebraska =] 

McKenzie: So yesterday we went to this track site near Perry called Billings 1. It is from the Permian period and is the largest Permian track site in the world! We got to section out a square and record all the tracks that we found. At that site we also got to dig and break rocks to find fossil plants. I actually found that very interesting. It just so happens that I found the largest plant fossil of the day! We got to work with various scientist from the museum which was super awesome! Then we came back to the museum and learned more about different tracks. Today was by far my favorite day! We got to work up in vertpaleo section of the museum doing different activities. We got to catalog items, help dig bones out of a plaster jacket and then we got to find some microfossils. Afterwards we had a big scavenger hunt around the museum. Tonight we are staying the night in the museum and I can't wait! 

Caleb: Ello! So, yesterday we went to a special field that has the largest number of Permian fossil trackways. It's the largest in the world that's known today! we also dug and found plants for many, many years ago. When we returned to the museum, we did lots of more fun activities. We got to stay in our new hotel too! The Sooner Suites! We awoke in the morning, and returned to the museum. Today we meet some awesome people, and we got to personally work in the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History! We got to work in the Lab, and the Collections. Tonight we are staying the night at the museum, Good-Night! Love you mom and dad, I haven't forgotten you! 😉 

Chance: Hey everyone! Today is day 6 and today was awesome. Today we met some very cool paleo scientist, Jen, and Kyle who filled us in about vertebrate paleontology. The Museum's collection was very cool and I saw some amazing things EX. mammoth skull, and elasmosaur vertebrate. After the vertebate collection tour we actually worked on a field jacket witch was awesome and practice some Micro perpetration. Tomorrow we're going to be at the Zoo all day and I can't wait! 

Adam: Today our group was privileged enough to work with paleontologists from the museum. We were given the chance to sort through micro-fossils under a microscope, excavate a Tenontosaurus, and catalog mineralized bat teeth. 

Ernesto V.: Well, Vertebrate Paleontology comes as a close second or even in extreme cases ties with Invertebrate Paleontology for the most interesting part of paleontology, sorry guys trilobites are just too cool. Today we searched through micro-fossils, prepared a dinosaur bone in a field jacket, organized some of the museum's vertebrate fossil collections and met some pretty amazing people, yeah. 

Marina: Anyways, since I last blogged we have learned about the Permian, paleobotany, tracking, and comparative anatomy. We have done more team building and worked in the labs. We went to a Permian trackway and a place where plants were fossilized. I am having a lot of fun! We are staying at the museum tonight. yay! Also there was just a tornado and hail and other weather. The museum got blown away so we are now living in a sorority house a few miles away. (jdk lol.) alright bye everyone! I miss you all. 

Chay: Caught in the storm here and staying the night in the museum meet scientist that are awesome ahhh good times. 

Shelbie: Yesterday was pretty interesting. After we ate breakfast we met up with Joe, Bill, and Rick. They are three really cool scientists. We got to see parts of the museum that the general public usually doesn't get to see. Then we traveled to Billings 1 and studied a track way and some pretty amazing leaf imprints. Later that afternoon we ate dinner back at the museum and got into groups if two. Adam and I were asked to give a tour of a certain exhibit. Hahahaha I definitely figured out that I will never EVER be a tour guide: P pour!!!! Today we woke up and took another tour of a different part of the museum. Then we ate lunch. After that we went back up to the second floor and did some labs. Some of the labs we did were digging in a casted jacket full of fossils and rock. Then we went to the collections and accounted for different fossils and took record of them. Today we also came up with an interpretive dance, and were about to go do some team building and then watch a movie. We’re sleeping in the museum tonight and it's storming pretty bad here! Lots of hail and wind. Wish us luck!!!! 

Daryl: The last few days, days six and seven, have been filled with a great deal of learning and excitement. Yesterday we went to an amazing track site, and we mapped out some fossil tracks. Then we also found some fossilized plants. Then today we visited and cataloged some fossils in the paleo vertebrate collection. We also worked in the lab looking for microfossils. Then we were digging out some fossils in a jacket, which is a plaster surrounding a section of rock taken from the field. 

Days Eight — Nine

Hi everyone! We have arrived safely in Nebraska and are currently taking advantage of the hotel pool to cool off. We had a quick 7 hour drive up to Lincoln where we will be staying for two days before we depart for Ashfall. Yesterday, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the OKC zoo to feed and touch the Rhinos. Their keepers said they enjoyed all the attention and were always ready for a back scratch, and sure enough they came right up to meet us. We also enjoyed a night hike at the zoo and got to see all sorts of nocturnal animals that are usually asleep during normal zoo hours. After sleeping over at the zoo, we woke up bright and early for our long drive to Lincoln. Tomorrow we'll visit the UNL campus and the vertebrate paleontology collection. - Jes

Shelbie: Yesterday we woke up underneath the dinosaurs in the museum. When we walked outside we noticed a bunch of trees were down from the terrible storm that blew in that night. We packed up our stuff and headed out to the Museum of Osteology. While we were there we got to see a lot of cool skeletons and animal furs. I sent some money in the gift shop before we left 😛 Hahaha. After that we went to the Oklahoma City Zoo where we got to do multiple tours and even pet a few rhinos!! That was so cool!! Hahaha. Today we got to go on another tour of the zoo before we began our 7 hour drive to Nebraska. We played the game catch phrase the entire ride so it didn't even seem that long at all. We arrived at the hotel earlier today and then went out to dinner. We just got done watching a video and playing a team building game, and I'm about to go take the first shower I've been able to take in a couple days so I'm super excited! Hahaha love you guys:) 

Danielle: Yesterday we went to the Museum of Osteology (awesome) and then to the zoo (also awesome). We got to pet the rhinos (epic), had a night tour of the zoo (cool), and slept in the 'treehouse'(also cool). After the morning tour of the 'Oklahoma Trails' exhibit (interesting) we began the drive to Nebraska (fun fun fun) and now we're here. Tomorrow we will be going to the Nebraska Museum (which will surely be equally awesome). 

Caleb: Yesterday we went to the Zoo! First we went to the Museum of Osteology though. It's the only one in the United States! When we arrived at the Zoo, I got to pet my first rhinos, and I even got to feed them; but of course they got slobber all over me.. Oh well, then we walked around the Zoo, and ate at The Canopy. Later, we took the night tour and got to see all the animals in the dark, and also walked through many spider webs. We then slept in The Tree House at the Zoo its self. The next day we awoke to a long seven hour drive to Nebraska!!! It wasn't to bad playing Catchphrase 6 1/2 hours, but we're here now! =) Tonight is showers, and a nice soft bed. Tomorrow we're going to start our Ashfall site! Good-Night everyone!!! 

Ernesto V.: After countless minutes of waiting, we are officially in Lincoln, Nebraska. We took the trip starting from the Oklahoma City Zoo at 9 AM and drove almost non-stop to Lincoln. Prior to that, we took a day, night and morning tour of the zoo, witnessing sights, smells, and sounds the average zoo attendee wouldn't normally experience. Also, we also had the opportunity to pet rhinos and later sleep over at the zoo. Before the zoo we were welcomed with open arms to the Museum of Osteology, using our uncanny comparative anatomy skills to compare modern animals to the Cenozoic creatures we'll see at Ashfall tomorrow. 

McKenzie: Tuesday we got to stay the night at the museum. Before we went to bed we got to watch Jurassic Park! How appropriate. We ended up sleeping right next to all the dinosaurs. When the lights went out in the museum it was so dark. I slept pretty good that night. Wednesday we headed off to the museum of osteology. It actually is the only skeleton museum in the world! You would think it would be kinda freaky to see all these skeletons of all these different things but to my surprise it was actually pretty awesome! After that we went to the zoo in OKC and walked around for a little bit and then we got to go behind the scenes with the rhinos. That night we ate dinner at chili's. After that we returned to the zoo to stay the night in the tree house and for a night tour of the zoo. The zoo is so much better at night! Today we drove to Lincoln, Nebraska and are now currently staying in the Holiday Inn! I'm so ready for a shower since we haven't been able to take one in about 2 days. Ta Ta for now!! 

Chay: In Nebraska our group leaders make the ride full of smiles and the endless learning just add little more sunshine to it. 

Casey: Day 8: Today, Charles gave a presentation on Comparative Anatomy. We learned how dinosaurs and other animals from the past lived, functioned, and moved. Afterwards, we went to the Museum of Osteology and saw rhino skeletons, as well as pelts from exotic animals. Finally, we visited the zoo for a daytime and nighttime tour, and we stayed over for the night. Day 9: We drove about 7 hours to Lincoln, Nebraska today. Despite our exhaustion, we went swimming at the hotel after dinner. Tomorrow, we will go tour the University of Nebraska and view their vertebrate paleontology collection. 

Marina: On the 14th, we slept under apatasaurus and the saurophaganax in the Hall of Ancient Life. They came to life and ate a student but it's ok. Just kidding! we watched Jurassic Park before we went to sleep, though, so I could imagine them in life. Earlier on the 14th, we did team building exercises in preparation for our Nebraska trip. Then we toured the collections upstairs, the lab areas, and the microfossil analysis lab. We helped remove tenontosaurus bones from a field jacket and picked bone fragments and crocodile teeth out of a dish. We had to look through a microscope to see them. On the 15th (yesterday,) we went to the Museum of Osteology in OKC. It is a skeleton museum, the only of its kind in the world. I thought it was very interesting. I noticed that the skeletons are much smaller than the live animals to which they once belonged. I saw skulls of many primitive humanoids, including australopithecus afarensis and others I learned about in Biology class. (they are telling me to get off the computer now so I will summarize!) We went to the OKC zoo afterwards, did a night tour, a morning tour, and stayed overnight in the "treehouse." Today, we drove all day. Nebraska is flat. Bye! 

Daryl: The last two days have been jammed packed with exciting events. Ranging from petting the rhinos to playing catch phrase for five hours on the trip to Nebraska. We spent the night at the Oklahoma City Zoo last night and got to take a nighttime tour of the zoo. Then we went to a place called the tree house and bedded down for the night. Then we woke up early a headed out for a morning tour. Then we left for Nebraska. Pretty much the whole way there we played catch phrase. Then we arrived at our hotel and ate dinner. Then we headed to the pool. After that we went to the conference room to view a video over the Ashfall site that we will be going to the next few days. 

Chance: Day 8: On the 8th day of Paleo expedition we woke early and visited the museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City. The museum had various skeletons of wildlife thorough out the world including complete skeletons of Rhinos, whales, hippos, elephants and more. After the Osteology Museum we got a behind the scenes look of the Black and Indian rhinos at the Oklahoma City zoo. The rhinos were so cool and I really enjoyed being up close to some animals because I’m missing my elephant and rhino friends back home. We spent the remainder of the remainder of the day walking the zoo and looking at all the animals. After setting up in the tree house we did a night walk at the zoo and saw some nocturnal cats and even some nesting gorillas. Definitely a awesome day! Day 9: After a nice Oklahoma trails walk (OKC Zoo) we hit the road and began our drive to Nebraska witch I slept 95% of but when I was awake I enjoyed the continuous sight of cornfields and plains. Once at the museum we had our dinner and had a nice pool party at the hotel. Hi to everyone back home, miss you guys and hope you enjoy reading this! Bye! 

Christopher R.: Arriving on the 6th day meant that I missed the team building activities and that I was behind in the lessons, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with a couple of sophomores, juniors, myself and one other being seniors. When I showed up I was greeted by a man that was later introduced to me as Brad, he struck me as a quiet guy on first impression but found out later that I was mistaken. I later met the other students and for the most part I tried to stay in the back of the group but found out quite quickly that in this group it is impossible not to get involved. Evan though it was not required of them the other students have shared their notes time and friendships to help catch me up on what I missed, in the past I have been very prejudice against people of other backgrounds, I thought that if you weren’t born running and ready to go than you weren’t worth my time. What I’ve learned from the other students in the short time that I’ve been with them is that contrary to popular belief I am not perfect, they have accepted me for who I am and loved me like a lifelong friend, these first couple of days will never be forgotten to me. My second day with the group consisted of learning how to micro sift the fossils, dig a fossil out of a field jacket, and catalog the fossils into the museum collection. My favorite part was the cataloging which came as a surprise to me because I have never seen myself as a “paper pusher” as I’ve called it, but again I was quick to judge and quick to learn. That afternoon we got to play tour guide and I learned a lot about the different period’s and era’s of the fossil history. The third day that I was here consisted of touring the Okc Zoo, the idea behind this was to give us a view of a living rhinoceros of today so that later when we arrived at the Nebraska dig site we could see the differences that have occurred over time. To help with this we traveled to the Museum of Osteology (a museum full of skeletons of animals that are still around today), this museum is the only museum of osteology in America and one of the largest private collections in the world. After this we spent the night at the zoo and had a night tour of some of the exhibits, this was quite interesting for the reason of most of the animals that hide during the day (the nocturnal animals) came out. This morning we started our trip for Nebraska at about nine or nine-thirty, it was a three to four hour drive (or sleep for myself) to lunch which was an Italian sub, then it was back on the road. We arrived at the hotel at around four thirty this afternoon check in and eight dinner at golden corral (this being my first time to eat there). After we went swimming in the hotel pool and later watched an informational video on the Ash fall digs, it was very intriguing and was enjoyable. That is where I will leave it tonight, it has been an enjoyable trip thus far. Good night, God Bless. 

Adam: We spent the 8th day touring the Oklahoma City Zoo and touring an osteology museum. I was very excited about seeing a narwhal horn. The workers at the osteology museum showed us bones and pelts that were not up for exhibit. On the 9th day we woke up early and left the museum. We were packed in the vans for seven hours. 

Day 10

Hi everyone! Today, we met George Corner, collection manager of UNL's vertebrate paleontology, at Nebraska Hall. We looked at a diverse representation of fossils from the Cenozoic Era ( Age of the Mammals) that we will be likely to encounter at Ashfall. We also saw the specimens recovered from the first National geographic sponsored Ashfall excavation. Next we headed to the Nebraska State Museum before taking a tour of the University's Campus. We learned about the admissions process, campus life and the academic opportunities available at UNL. Tomorrow will be our last day in Lincoln before we officially begin our adventure at Ashfall! - Jes

Days 11-12

Hi everyone! Today we depart Lincoln for Ashfall and Niobrara! We will not be able to update the website until Friday, but we'll have lots of great pictures and memories to share when we get back. - Jes

Danielle: We've been visiting the Nebraska museum the past couple days, and yesterday we toured the UNL campus. We will be going to the Hyde Observatory tonight if it's not cloudy (*fingers crossed*) and I'm excited to go to Ashfall again =D Bye-Bye. 

Casey: Day 10: Today, we spent the day at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. In the morning, we viewed the University's vertebrate paleontology collection, and we learned more about the Ashfall site. Then, we learned more about the University, and had a tour of the campus. Day 11: We went back to the University of Nebraska today. We toured the museum, and saw a show at the Planetarium. Then, we had a chance to walk around the museum and view different exhibits. Finally, we went to Wal-Mart to buy the ingredients for our bison barbecue on Monday. 

Daryl: Yesterday we went to the museum and viewed their Vertebrae collection and some of their exhibits. Then we had an informative tour of the Nebraska. We also played an epic game of ninja. Today we went back to the museum and viewed more of their exhibits. We also did a prospecting intro. Then we went to lunch which was followed by more viewing of the museum, and then we went to wal mart to get supplies for the big dinner on Monday. Then we ate a great dinner at Ihop. Then we had our nightly meeting. 

Chance: Day 10: Today we toured the Vertebrate collection at the Nebraska State Museum and were introduced to their collection manager, George Corner who also let us tour the "Elephant Room" that I loved. The room was full of Mammoth, Mastodon, Shovel trunk, and other early elephant species remains witch was amazing to see. Later we toured the Ashfall room that was full of ancient rhino remains also found here in Nebraska and toured their prep room. After the Museum we toured the Campus at Nebraska State and got an inside look on life as a Nebraska Husker! DAY 11: Today we hit the museum again and met with their education coordinator, Kathy who gave us a tour of their gallery and also a fossil finding exercise. It was so cool seeing the Elephant hall at the Nebraska State Museum, they have a very large collection and variety of ancient elephants, and also Archie who is the largest Colombian mounted mammoth skeleton in the world. It was a great privilege to stand to such a giant, impressive, and magnificent specimen. I am so happy and excited to be taking part in this program and am loving every moment of it! 

Ernesto V.: Because of the events leading to today, I could technically be an official resident of Nebraska, if I wanted to. We toured the campus of the University of Nebraska and traveled to it's Vertebrate Paleontology collection, where we met George Corner who gave us an amazingly interesting tour of the Cenozoic fossils found in Nebraska. After comparing the fused ulna and radius of a ancient horse's forearm to one of an earlier age, we played ultimate ninja and went to Buffalo Wild Wings, where we ate evolved dinos. Oh yeah, today we toured the Museum of the University of Nebraska, we had a bunch of fun looking at its exhibits and buying stuff at its amazing gift shop. The day's not over yet, and I have yet to sneak tiny elephants to everyone's backpack. 

Shelbie: Yesterday we slept in and ate breakfast. Then we went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to check out their collections. I learned some pretty amazing things there:) After that we went to lunch at Arby's. After that we went on a tour of the campus. We got to soo one of the model dorm rooms and learn a little bit more about living there. After that visit I may actually consider going to college there. Today we went on a tour of the museum here in Nebraska. I thought the museum was extremely interesting. The gift shop and the world's largest mammoth was my favorite part! hahaha After that we watched a few videos inn the planetarium. Then we ate dinner at IHop. Tonight if the weather is good we'll go to the Hyde Observatory. Love you guys:) 

Christopher: Today was fairly simple, breakfast had glazed donuts so that was plus to the day. we went to the museum around nine or nine-thirty, we went on a tour and that was about it. We went to a planetarium show; that was cool. I think today is just my day to keep it brief. Good night, God Bless! 

Chay: This party is going to be awesome. 

Adam: My friends and I spent hours running around the UNL (University of Nebraska Lincoln). We toured the whole campus and learned more about the history of Nebraska. We looked at the collection of fossils in UNL and we visited their museum. For dinner we ate at the Golden Corral and left with "food twins." Food twins are a double portion of food babies. 

McKenzie: Yesterday we went to the University of Nebraska Lincoln. In the morning we visited and viewed their vertpaleo collection. I got to see a lot of mammoths and other elephant fossils. I also got to see their collection of all the things they have collected from Ashfall. It's amazing how many of them are the complete skeleton. After that we got a campus tour of the university. It seems like a pretty big campus. Maybe just because we did a lot of walking. Who knows. Today we went back to the university to go to the Museum of the University of Nebraska. In the morning we went around doing little activities around the museum which was pretty fun. Afterward we went to the planetarium and got to learn about the stars and all that cool stuff. That place was so relaxing. The rest of the day we walked around the museum viewing the exhibits that we weren't able to look at earlier in the day. Tonight they have planned for us to go to an observatory, if the sky is clear with no clouds. Looking forward to that! Tomorrow we are heading to Ashfall! I'm so ready to get this show on the road! 

Marina: Hello everyone! I have been extremely busy every day for the last week or so. I haven't been able to keep up with my journaling. I will elaborate on my notes here if time allows. Yesterday we spent several hours in the University of Nebraska paleontology collections. We went to the Elephant Room and the lab rooms. There were so many cool specimens and I took lots of pictures! After that, we took a tour of the University of Nebraska. We learned about their paleontology & science majors and other college information. Then we went to the Nebraska State Museum and looked at all their exhibits. That was really cool too! Today, we went to the State Museum again and did a fossil digging activity that was very fun. We also learned about growth rates of elephant tusks. After that, we went to the Planetarium and saw a movie about ancient sea monsters and two short films about astronomy. We were going to go to the Hyde Observatory tonight, but it is too cloudy. We just got back from Walmart, where we were shopping for party supplies. We are going to have a "bison barbecue" at Ashfall and we have all contributed to planning it. I have to go now and I will not be able to blog for about 5 days. I miss you all but I am having so much fun and learning a lot. 

Days 13-17

Hi everyone! We arrived safely in Norman after an eleven hour drive from Ashfall! We have a lot of great stories and pictures to share from our adventure and will update the blog shortly. We missed you all and can't wait to see you tomorrow! - Jes

Danielle: Well the Nebraska scenery was nothing short of amazing, and with Ashfall, Golter Ranch, 'Chalk Mountain', and seeing Mike Voorhies and Rick Otto it was epic. We got to dig in the Rhino Barn and the sand under the ash layer, we went micro-picking, and worked in the prep lab at Ashfall. We also had a bison bbq and met Mr. Whitten, Mr. Newman, and Roy Williams. =] The day after that we made casts of rhino teeth, went micro-picking yet again, and then we went to Golter Ranch to dig up some bones. =] ---(Marina is awesome) 

Adam: We arrived at Niobrara 40 miles away from Ashfall Park. We visited sites from the cretaceous period and from the miocene period. On the first day of arrival we did a scavenger hunt to familiarize ourselves with the park. We went to Golter ranch and found various fossils from birds, rhinos, gompetheriums, three-toed horses, and turtles. The day after we went back to the golter ranch to jacket the fossils. On the 21st we threw a bison barbeque party for the people who helped us on this trip. On the 22nd the staff of Ashfall Park made us dinner. We visited a site called Chalk Mountain. It is thick layer of ash that was deposited about 6.6 mya. 

Chay: It’s hard to believe that it's last two days seen amazing things but these last five days have been so great the people we meet inspire me so much. Visiting ashfall site is 11.8 million years old to chalk mound which is 6.6 million years old, what I love most about this is that it never gets old. 

Casey: Day 12: We drove up to Ashfall and did a scavenger hunt there to learn more about the area. We also walked around the site and saw the Rhino Barn, and we learned more about what happened there 11.83 million years ago. Day 13: We worked in stations at Ashfall today, digging in the Rhino Barn, excavating the Digging Deeper Quarry, micropicking at the Discovery Shelter, and cleaning up a field jacket in the prep lab. Afterwards, we hosted a bison barbecue for the Whitten-Newman Foundation and the Ashfall staff. Day 14: We got to sleep in today because of the rain. After the weather improved, we went to Golter Ranch to prospect for fossil sites. We found fossils from tortoises, rhinos, and horses. Day 15: We went back to Golter Ranch to excavate a previously discovered site. Our team found and jacketed a rhino skull, as well as many bone fragments. Day 16: We finished excavation at Golter Ranch this morning, then we went to several different sites in the afternoon. We visited a paleobotany site to find fossilized hackberry seeds. Then, we went to Chalk Mountain, a 6.6 million year old ash bed. Finally, we went to a site where a Plesiosaur was found a while ago. Day 17: We spent 11 hours driving back to the Sam Noble Museum. We will be working on our presentations tonight. 

McKenzie: We've been quite busy these last couple of days. After Lincoln we headed Ashfall wich is located between Royal, and Orchard NE. First day at Ashfall we toured their facility and got an inside look on what goes on there. 2nd day at Ashfalls we got a turn at the key stations that operate Ashfall. We started in the sand pit outside the rhino barn where Danielle and I found horse ribs, turtle shell frags, and a toe bone. The other stations we worked on was in their rhino barn, micro station, and prep lab. Third day in NE we were postponed by the rain but eventually made it to Ashfall. We got to make a plaster cast of a rhino tooth and that was really fun. After micro sorting away from the rain we headed to Golter Ranch and prospected the site for any surface fossils. Day 4 we woke at 7 and left for the ranch again where we started to spend most of our days. I was partners with Chris and our morning started slow. Because our quadrant was higher elevated we spent most of the day lowering the dirt to try and find some fossils and eventually found a mystery bone, either a piece of a lower rhino jaw or a giant ground sloth bone. Day 5, started slow like the day before. No exciting find besides the occasional rib, or shell frag. After lunch I returned to a spot that had caught my eye earlier and worked on exposing the fossil. Once I saw teeth I knew I had discovered a rhino jaw. This find, one of 4 rhinos at this location was very exciting! I was so happy and finding the jaw is definitely something I will never forget and one of the most exciting things that’s happened to me. After preping the skull for removal I worked with Rick and some other team members creating a cast. Unfortunately that was our last day there but I am positive they will take good care of it and once preped in the lab it will be beautiful! Back in Oklahoma after a long drive, felt great to escape from the heat and I'm already missing NE. 

Daryl: These past few days have been fun up at ash fall in Nebraska. The first day we toured the ash fall museum. Then we had the big dinner and we met the people funding our trip. Mr. Whitten and Mr. Newman along with Roy Williams. We then learned basics at ash fall the next day by going around the museum and working at various stations like: micro picking, prep lab, excavating on the sand pit, and excavating in the Rhino Barn. The next day we did more micro picking then we made a Rhino tooth mold. After that we went out to the Gulter Ranch site and Prospected. There I found a Rhino jaw. Then the next day we went back to the Gulter Ranch site and excavated. We found tons of fossils and we got to make fossil jackets. The next day we went back to the Gulter Ranch site and finished excavating. We still found many more fossils. Then we went to some more sites. Today we left Niobrara State Park and headed home for a nine hour trip. There was so much more stuff that happened in Nebraska but there just isn't enough time to tell it all. 

Ernesto: About 11.83 MYA, a volcanic hotspot erupted violently and the cloud of released ash befell on a waterhole, supporting a local ecosystem of Cenozoic rhinos, camel-like llamas, almost puppy-sized elephants, terrestrial tortoises, and many other organisms. Today we find one of these sites in Nebraska, most specifically Ashfall National Natural Landmark. On our first day at Ashfall we went thought the basics of the site, we micro-picked bone fragments, excavated the sand bed under the ash bed, worked at the Ashfall prep-lab, and finally worked at the Rhino Barn, where we experienced scratching away ash from the ancient waterhole. We later set up our camp at Niobrara State Park and stayed at cabins. On the second day, it poured so we had to reschedule the Golter Ranch excavation for the next day, but we did prospect the surrounding aReas of the ranch, where we found many scattered fossil fragments and an amazing rhino jaw, which Daryl found. On the third Golter ranch we spent a sunny day yet cold day excavating at the Golter Ranch, where I found a Miocene rhino tooth, a raptor mandible, a dozen rhino ribs, and a Cenozoic horse tooth and tail vertebrae and among many other things. We later survived a close call with a tornado, which I was oblivious to, and a conversation about Paula Dean, which I was oblivious too as well. On our last day at Ashfall we briefly went back to the Golter Ranch and visited a Paleobotany site filled with petrified hackberry seeds, 6.6 MYA Chalk Mountain, and an underwater Cretaceous site next to the highway, where I found a Plesiosaur tooth but not an invertebrate ammonite, oh vertebrates. I met many amazing people at Ashfall, I really appreciate having the experience to go there. 

Shelbie: Well the past few days have been very interesting. So much happened it's WAY too much to type in the few minutes i'm given to blog. Some of the main events are: planning and setting up a bison bar b que, digging and studying at The Ashfall site (finding a couple rib bones) and prospecting and digging at The Golter Ranch. At the Golter Ranch I found a ankle bone of an very large bison, a really big turtle shell, and quite a few bone fragments. I learned how to make a plaster cast. That was alot of fun!! hahaha I'm running out of time so i'll just have to tell all the details of Nebraska Sunday on the ride home or on Facebook one of the next two nights:) love you guys! 

Christopher: It has been very busy this past week, busy but fun. I have accomplished what I came to do, and now I am ready to move on. The banquet is in one day meaning that I have that long to prepare my presentation, my partner and I have decided to present on our findings at the Ashfall dig site. We have done quite a lot of excavating on different sights all around the Antelope county area, we found multiple rhino jaws, ribs, teeth, and misc. bone fragments. The intern program was very interesting and had a lot of good people enrolled, it is by far the best internship program I have seen yet. We hosted a "Bison BBQ" for Mr. Whitten and Mr. Newman, the guests that came with him (Mr. Whitten's son, Jay Mitchell, and Roy Williams), and the Ashfall staff. It was such a success that even the storm (with the the occasional tornado warning) did not phase us, the food was good and everyone pitched in. The ride home was uneventful, most of us slept the whole way and thus it stayed quiet. I did however learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube and in that I am quite proud, the trip overall went well and I have learned a lot from the paleontologists as well as the other students. I would like to thank Mr. Whitten, Mr. Newman, and the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History for hosting the Paleontology Exploration event it was well worth it! 

Marina: Hi everyone! I am back at SNOMNH now and I have a lot to write. On the 19th, we drove to Ashfall and toured the facilities- the Rhino Barn, the Visitors' Center exhibits, and the original discovery site. Then we did a scavenger hunt that took us all over the grounds, including the walk-through geological time scale. At the end of the day, we drove to Niobrara State Park, where we stayed. It is 30-50 miles from Ashfall, but it was the closest lodging available. We stayed in cabins with bunks and one bathroom for 6 people. On the 20th, we were at Ashfall all day. We rotated between 4 stations; micropicking fossils in the Discovery Shelter, excavating in the Rhino Barn and the Digging Deeper Quarry, and removing a rhino rib from a field jacket in the VC lab. I found multiple fossils in the Quarry and I saw Anna Glotzbach in the Rhino Barn. She is an intern at Ashfall this summer. On the evening of the 20th, we had the Bison BBQ for the Ashfall staff and the Whitten-Newman foundation. Cincinatti Bangles football player Roy Williams came along with the WNF as a part of the Pros for Africa program. That night, there was a ferocious storm that continued all night and into the morning. On the 21st, it was raining, as I mentioned, so we stayed inside at Ashfall and made plaster casts of rhino teeth and did micropicking again. In the afternoon, we went to a really cool fossil site called Golter Ranch and "prospected;" scouted the visible ground areas for exposed fossils. For dinner, we returned to Ashfall and enjoyed a picnic in the Visitors' Center given us by the Ashfall staff. It was very good. On the 22nd, we were at the Golter Ranch all day. We worked on a proven area and everyone found many fossils. I found some camel enamel, part of an ancient giant camel incisor. I also found many rhino rib fragments and a piece of tortoise shell. I got plaster of Paris up to my elbows when I helped prepare a field jacket. That was very fun. The plaster-water reaction is supposedly exothermic, but it made my arms cold. hmm… On the 23rd, we spent the morning at Golter and I helped another student excavate the rhino skull he discovered. He was very excited about it. In the afternoon, we went to a micropaleobotany site and used the water flotation method to remove the hackberry seeds from the matrix. After that, we went to a chalk mountain, a 6.6 million year old layer of volcanic ash. We compared it to the Ashfall ash. Then we went to a roadcut where a plesiosaur was discovered a few years ago. We didn't really find anything. I need to get off the computer now. Bye everyone. 

Caleb: Our time in Nebrasaka was definitely well spent! Monday we drove from Lincoln to Ashfall, we spent half a day there. We toured the rhino barn and did a scavenger hunt of the place. After that we went to set up our camp site at Niobrara. It was so pretty there! We were right on the river that Lewis and Clark came down. Pretty cool! After that we spent a couple of hours getting ready for our bbq we were having for Mr. Whitten and Mr. Newman and all of their guest. It turned out great, even though we had to sit inside because of the rain. Tuesday we spent the whole day at Ashfall doing differnt things such as micropicking, prep lab work, digging deeper quary, and of course the rhino barn. Wednesday we spent all day at Golter Ranch. It was windy and a little chilly but I would rather have that then hot weather! Thursday we spent the morning at Golter Ranch. We made field jackets of the larger things we found to be sent back to the lab. Those were fun to make! After that we visted three more sites! Today we spent the whole day driving back to Oklahoma. I could tell when we were back because I got out of the car and I could just feel the humidity. 2 more days left! Hard to believe it's almost over! 

Day 18

Daryl: I have had so much fun on this trip. I found tons of fossils, for the museums and for myself. I’ve met some lifelong friends and I have acquired some irreplaceable memories. With all of the experience I have gained from this I have received a very valuable look into the field of paleontology. I have done more in the field of paleontology than most interns in college, and I got to experience most of everything in paleontology and got to contribute to that field. I had a great time and will miss everyone I met on this expedition very much. 

Casey: Today, we went on a campus tour of OU. We learned more about the admissions process, then we returned to the museum after lunch. We worked on our presentations for the whole afternoon and evening. Final Thoughts: Thanks to the Whitten-Newman Foundation, OU, the Sam Noble Museum, and our awesome staff, Paleo Expedition was a blast. I can't believe that the program is almost over. Today was the last full day that we'll be spending together. I had a great time working with my teammates, our educators, and the scientists and researchers who assisted us. I learned much more about all aspects of paleontology- field excavation, lab work, and everything in between. Paleo Expedition has caused me to highly consider paleontology as a future career. This was a great experience, and I am honored to be a part of this program. 

Marina: Today we took a tour of OU and worked on our presentations. I want mine to be a surprise, so I won't talk about its contents. I did work very hard on it with my partner, though! We are finally done. I have had so much fun on this expedition and I am so glad I got to participate. I have made many strong friendships and learned about paleontology, biology, geology, and myself in the process. It has been an invaluable learning experience in my life and I will definitely use what I have learned for many years to come. One of my favorite aspects was learning how to read animal tracks with Dr. Nick Czaplewski. He taught me a lot and I will indubitably use my new knowledge often in the future. I would like to thank Jes, Charles, Brad, the Whitten-Newman foundation, and my fellow students. Without the aforementioned, this trip could not have been the same. I appreciate the amazing effort you all make towards the education of Oklahoma youth and I hope it will continue for many years. I thank all the other explorers for making this such a singular, fun experience. I hope to see everyone I met again in the future, and again, thank you all. 

Adam: During the last week of camp, days seemed like hours. There isn't enough time to learn everything about paleontology. I still have some lingering thoughts on my minds. How many uncovered fossils remain under the oceans? How many more mummified extinct species are left? By the time I become a paleontologist, will there be any more dinosaurs left to find or will they all be uncovered? My favorite parts of this expedition would be excavating at Golter Ranch, working at Ashfall Park, prepping a tenontosaurus, and hanging out with my friends. 

Chay: I thought it has been months since I been here but it’s been only a few weeks and it seem to pass in a blink of an eye, but the friendships I made here will be forever lasting. Hurry for Paleo Expedition 2011 it’s been unforgettable!! Can’t wait for the reunion. 

Christopher: Ok... I thought yesterday would be my last blog but I was mistaken, today we took a tour of the Oklahoma University. I've been on the tour before so there wasn't much new to it. Not much time to blog so I have to get off now. Good night, and God Bless. 

Danielle: Well it's almost over...=[...but it's been fun =]...I've learn lots of new things, made many new friends, and seen tons of amazing things. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything-it's been awesome. 

McKenzie: It is crazy to think our time together is just about over! I have never been put in a situation where I did not know anyone. But over the past two and a half weeks we have all grown so close and I know we will remain friends. I came to this camp expecting to learn things here and there. But the stuff I have learned about is things I would have never expected. The adventures and memories I have made will never be forgotten! I'm so thankful to the people who have allowed me the opportunity to come to this camp. 

Chance: Last night here at paleo expedition. I've had such an amazing time here and have enjoyed every second of it. I've gotten the opportunity to make friends with 11 other okie teens who im gonna miss but i wish them all the best and the chance to work with amazing professionals and our great leaders Jes, Charles, and brad! This experience had definitely opened new doors for me and I will certainly take into consideration future plans and career ideas. This has been one of the best summers ever and I will never forget the day I found a rhino or the amazing 2 weeks I took place in paleo expedition. Best of wishes to everyone and good luck in your future! 

Ernesto: Today's the last night, tomorrow I'll be heading back home. I hate being corny and explaining how much I've learned from this program, but I truly have learned things that I'll use for the rest of my life. I used to think that being successful in science was being a graduate of an elite college and having a six digit salary. Now I've learned that as long as you’re happy what you do and what you've achieved, you're successful. To every single person I've met on this program, thank you. 

Shelbie: Today we went on a tour of the OU campus and ate lunch at an amazing restaurant. The New York style pizza was AMAZING!! wow...good stuff. hahaha After that we came back to the museum and started working on our power point presentations for tomorrow. I'm sooooo nervous, there's supposed to be over a hundred people there tomorrow including my parents, my sister, and my boyfriend. I hope i don't mess up! I'm so glad I have Ernesto, he's helped me out alot:) Well...were going home tomorrow and this is the last blog...this has been the craziest adventure I've ever experienced and i wouldn't have rather done it with anyone but these amazing friends I've made. I love you guys sooo much! We're gonna keep in touch! 

Caleb: Hello!! Today is the day before our final presentations! This has been a very incredible experience. I met some fantastic people, and got to first hand 'Do Science'. It's going to be sad saying our final good-bye.. I really have grow to love the bonds and relationships the Paleo Expedition Team of 2011.. It has been a great time in Nebraska, but it's great to be back to Oklahoma! Today we toured the Oklahoma State University!! Booooooomer Sooners!! We are winding down for the night and putting the finishing touches on our presentations, so Good-Night! 

Day 19

Hi everyone! The last day of our Expedition is finally here. It will be hard to say goodbye to each other after spending the last 19 days together on an amazing adventure. On behalf of the Whitten-Newman ExplorOlogy Program and the Sam Noble Museum, we would like to thank all of the participants, families, friends and supporters who made our experience possible. We will continue to update our website with pictures and stories from this summer. Thank you and good luck to everyone! Keep in touch! - Jes