For the third year in a row, the Geological Sciences Department sponsored two tables at the regional Durham Fair from September 27 to 30, 2018. We estimate that over 3000 people stopped by our tables in the total of 32 hours that we were there.
Our set-up was similar previous years: we had two hands-on displays. The first was ‘What’s inside a Rock.’ For this one we had a binocular microscope where people could look at a rock under low magnification. We also had a petrographic microscope with a camera and an external computer monitor displaying a thin section of the same rock. As people looked through the microscope they saw a rainbow of colors in the thin section due to the effect of polarized light. Nearly every little kid (and most adults) went WOW!, Like a Kaleidoscope! We told them that this is how geologists ‘look inside a rock’ to learn what minerals are present. Everyone was fascinated.
We also had a display of rocks from throughout Connecticut and especially from around Durham for ‘This is Durham 200 Million Years Ago.’ The kids were able to touch a fish fossil from Durham and we got a chance to teach the general public about the fascinating geology of the region. We also gave out samples of muscovite mica, pegmatite, and packets of the three different rock types. We gave away about 1000 bags of rocks and minerals.
Like previous years, Dr. Evans also gave two talks at the Fair: The ‘Geology of Connecticut’ and ‘Climate Change in Connecticut in the Past 20,000 Years.’ Both were well attended with 30-40 people in attendance for each. For Dr. Evans, it was a pleasure talking with the hundreds of people who stopped by and asked questions about the display.
We had nine Geological Sciences majors volunteer their time to help out. We especially want to thank: Ben Bogue, Penny Christy, Robb Evans, Brenden Hughes, Allie Kovaleski, Ryan McMahon, Alexa Muntz, Sara Poppa, and Jake Weiss. Everyone did a long, extended stint as we were short of the number of volunteers we had last year. We could not have had such a successful event without them.
We were invited back for next year’s fair, so if you did not see us there, we’ll be back in 2019 if we can get enough volunteers. In the meantime, stop by and see us at the Bristol Gem and Mineral Show (http://bristolgem.org/annual-show/) in October!
— Dr. Mark Evans