Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trilobites and Internment Camps.....History...History

On June 9th and 10th my friend Brenda(also a 4th grade teacher) and I went on a little trip to Delta, Utah. I think you may have to be a 4th grade teacher to get really excited about this trip, but I'm sure that you may think it is fun also. Since in 4th grade in Utah we study everything Utah, Brenda and I have been planning on going down to Delta soon after school was out to go Trilobite hunting. We study Utah rocks and fossils as part of our science core. If you don't know what a Trilobite is, it was an arthropod from Millions of years ago. Most of the Great Basin was once under an ancient sea and Trilobites abounded there. So we decided to go hunting. Delta has a great place to do that.
Well to start at the beginning of our trip, we headed off Thursday about 11:00. I picked up Brenda and her 16 year old son, Nathan, in Tooele. We enjoyed our drive down to Delta, which only takes us about 1 1/2 hours. When we got there about 12:30 we decided to check in at the Motel. (Days Inn) I guess I should have taken a picture. It was a clean and nice place to stay. Then we decided to grab a little lunch at the pizza place there in town.

We then went down to the Great Basin Museum right there in Delta. They have rocks, fossils, and other historical things, but the reason we really went there was to see the stuff they had about the internment camp. The ladies there were very nice and gave us lots of information. We talked to them about why we were there and they offered us some rock samples for free. What teacher doesn't take free. So we got a couple of different kinds of Obsidian that we'll be able to share with our students when we are talking about rocks. Then we went out back and saw one of the Japanese bunk houses.

After leaving the museum we decided to head out to the Japanese internment camp that was there just outside of town in a little area called Abraham. American Japanese were put there between the years of 1942-1945, during World War 2. I was especially interested in seeing this site, I think because our house when I was born had been an internment home my parents had bought and had brought to Wendell. I'm such a visual person...I learn about things, but actually seeing the site brings it to life for me. I was thinking about how these American Japanese who were brought from the Bay Area in California to this desolate area must have felt. Not that this area doesn't have a beauty of it's own, but what a difference!!!! There really isn't all that much out there, but there are still the foundations of buildings and a scout has done a project by putting out small signs that tell what would have been in that area. As we drove around we could see where the schools would have been and many other things. I was amazed at how expansive it was and how many people lived there. They lost all their property and and had nothing when the internment camp was dissolved. Many went back to California, and others went other places and many stayed in Utah. I'm sure it was that way in all of the 10 internment camps they had. I guess you might just say it is another injustice that the people of the United states have done to another group of people. The worst part of going out there, and I'm sure it was because of this wet spring we've had, but there were GIANT mosquitos just swarming around the car just waiting for you to get out so they could attack you. The pictures we took were quick so that we could jump back in the car.

After a great nights sleep we were up early so that we could be out to the "U-Dig Fossil" site shortly after it opened at 9:00. It was a little bit of a trip out to the site. It is about 32 miles west of Delta on the highway and then 20 more miles along a well groomed dirt/gravel road. We made it there about 9:15 and the guy who runs it was running late and it wasn't open yet. He arrived about 9:30 and by the time we got started it was about 10:00. we paid to dig for 4 hours. A little pricey to do your own digging in rocks for 4 hours, but worth it to us....and we did get an educator's discount...and they do use a big back hoe to turn the rocks and make it a little easier to find them.

We thought if we dug for a longer time, we might get enough to allow our students to each have their own sample. I'm not sure that we got enough for all of them, but if not we might just use them for prizes. It was fun to actually dig the fossils out of the shale and see how the trilobites actually were buried in layers of what was to become this sedimentary rock.

The ones in the pictures were a great find for me to just have to share through the years. The ones we got for the students may not be quite this good, but we do have some good traces of the fossils. By the time 2:30, we were all very tired and ready to get something more substantial to eat. So we headed back to Delta and had a burger at a burger place there in town, and I couldn't resist a small fresh strawberry shake. By the time we got through it was about 5:00 so we headed back to Tooele. We had a great time and learned a few new things and on top of everything have some great fossils. Thanks Brenda for the fun time!!!

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