Friday afternoon I received the pleasure of attending the Junior Paleontologist sendoff. This group was a special group because they are the 10th class of JPs. The sendoff was located in the University of Chicago located on the south side of Chicago. This sendoff was to congratulate the JPs on all their hard work and wish them luck on there trip to South Dakota to go to the Mammoth Site. At the sendoff the students had many activities for the parents, family, and friends to participate in. JP team member, Jessica and her group led a brain teaser station. At the station participants were able to pick a card and guess what happened in the picture based on a clue ridden question. Carla, another JP team member, led a walk through Earth’s history. The bus sized paper, or Super Croc sized, that the JPs worked together on had facts about how the Earth was created and various mass extinctions. Other activities included making molds of shark teeth and various parts of animals with plaster and molds. Also guests were invited to eat chicken where they would compare a piece of chicken bone to human bones. Teaching the guests about what the JPs were learning was just the half of it. After everyone had fun guessing brain teasers and eating chicken we all went down to the auditorium of the building where the students presented projects about Hot Springs, South Dakota and some of its features. Since they are staying in Hot Springs it was vital for the JPs to know as much about it as possible. Some of the presentations included one
about a cave that they will be going into called Wind Cave, and also one about the Mammoth Site where the JPs will be excavating mammoth bones!! One of the groups even included candy for guests who answered questions right about the different presentations. Seeing how much the group has learned was really interesting, they taught me a lot about where they will be for a week. Also seeing how the parents and guests got involved with everyone was really a great thing to see. As i have mentioned before it’s really good to see that the parents are just as involved as the students, it really gets everyone to think about many different things about where they live and what is around them. At the sendoff i also got the chance to talk to two of the students, Genesis and Esau. Hearing about the experiences first hand was really awesome. Genesis told me about how she can not wait to see all of the rocks and minerals because it is something that she is really passionate about. Since it is her first time in the field she can’t wait just to see everything and really soak up all of the information she is going to get. Esau told me about how he loves wildlife and hopes they get to see a lot of them while they are out there. “Getting to be apart of the Junior Paleontologist program is really great.” Says Esau “I have been asking Mikki Brown [P.E. youth development coordinator] since last year in August if i can be in the program. So when she told me i get to be in it i was so happy.” After a few touching words from P.E. cofounder Gabe Lyons, everyone went back upstairs where they went over what to expect on Monday morning when they leave for South Dakota. Like everything P.E. does i was so excited to be apart of the sendoff and can’t wait to hear all of the great stories that the JPs have when they get back. Good Luck JPs and have fun!!!!