Locals are invited to dig into some prehistoric fun over spring break. Beginning this Saturday, March 8, paleontologists will study and create silicone molds from Joanna’s Dinosaur Track Site, located behind the Comfort Inn & Suites in Glen Rose.
The project will continue through next weekend, Saturday, March 15, and site director Jerry Jacene invites everyone who is interested in learning about paleontological studies to participate.
Known as the “Dinosaur Capital of Texas,” Glen Rose and Somervell County are home to some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the United States.
“This is a hands-on opportunity on an actual site to learn excavation and molding techniques used in the field,” said Jacene.
Field time starts at 9 a.m. daily and ends at 5 p.m. All tools will be provided.
Participants are required put in a full day of participation to be part of the team.
At the conclusion of each daily dig, Jacene will give a lecture on the history of Joanna’s Track Site.
Jacene said the project serves as an outdoor classroom, offering children and interested parties of all ages a chance to unearth evidence of the prehistoric creatures who once called Somervell County home.
While the masses have long been flocking to the local area to see evidence of the colossal creatures, Jacene said the opportunity for visitors to participate in discovery is somewhat rare.
"That is the excitement of it," he said, adding the site is also unique because it is not located in a river bed or on state property. "That means the tracks will not be covered by water and anyone can participate in excavation. We can't know what we might find, but participants will not be disappointed."
Jacene sees a solid future for Joanna's tracks. He envisions a visitor center and signage pointing visitors to the site as they enter the city. But he said volunteers and local participation are key to success.
The project is a volunteer effort by geology students from Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Tech University, Glen Rose teachers and volunteers and staff members of the Joanna’s Dinosaur Track Site.
The project is funded by a grant from the Alumilite Corporation.
And while some researchers may scoff at the idea of allowing individuals who do not have training and expertise in geology and paleontology to participate in discovery digs, Jacene said children and amateurs are valuable to such projects.
"Children have sharp vision and attention to care," he said, adding if they are fortunate to unearth dinosaur remains, their names would forever be associated with the discovery.
"We would take their initials and include them on the field number," Jacene added. "Generations of family members could see their discovery and name alongside the discoveries of Roland T. Bird."
Bird (1899-1978) was an American fossil hunter credited with discovering the Glen Rose Trackway, dinosaur footprints found along the Paluxy River in 1938. The 107-million-year-old series of prints were excavated from the riverbed and are showcased at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
For more information, contact Jacene at firstname.lastname@example.org.