"Trackmakers" at Dinosaur Valley State Park

Josh Harville -- jharville@empiretribune.com
"Trackmakers" at Dinosaur Valley State Park

Parents, kids, campers and local residents met last Saturday night for an interesting learning opportunity that is unique to the area. The Dinosaur Valley State Park hosted an educational event, "Trackmakers of Dinosaur Valley State Park," lead by park interpreter and ranger Kathy Lenz.

The event started just after 8:30 p.m. with a slideshow presentation at the state park's amphitheater. While waiting for the sun to set to begin the presentation, Lenz took the opportunity to educate and inform patrons about poison ivy and poison oak, two irritating plants that may be encountered while hiking at the park.

During the slideshow presentation, Lenz with her upbeat personality and good wit, taught patrons about what the area was like millions of years ago and cleared up common misconceptions about dinosaurs and the like.

Lenz informed the camp-goers about the various periods of time that the dinosaurs existed like the triassic period which was 220 million years ago and the early cretaceous period 120 million years ago and more.

An interesting part of the presentation was when she showed a map of what the earth looked like when the dinosaurs roamed called Pangea, which was a supercontinent consisting of all the continents. On the map showing Pangea, Lenz pointed out where Texas would be.

Lenz also explained that most of Texas was under water millions of years ago and explained the process of how it became what we know it as today.

The informative presentation revealed that dinosaur remains have been found in 28 counties in Texas. Coincidentally there has been 28 different dinosaur species found in these counties, and growing with research.

After the presentation, patrons dawned their flashlights and took to their feet for a hike to find real ancient dinosaur tracks. Lenz instructed and taught during the hike and revealed what dinosaur actually made the tracks.

The Dinosaur Valley State Park has weekly activities open to the public. Every Friday night the park hosts a Hike and a Movie --they showed Ice Age last Friday and will be showing Walking with Dinosaurs-The Movie this coming Friday. Also coming up they are hosting a Nature Walk August 8 from 10 to 11 a.m. and a Star Party in the Valley that evening from 9 to 10 p.m.