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Written by: Elizabeth Moore
Thursday November 13, 2014

On November 7th Dr. Nancy Moncrief (VMNH Curator of Mammals) and Dr. Elizabeth Moore (VMNH Curator of Archaeology) presented a hands-on program, Analysis of Evidence for Climate Change in Virginia at STEM Day held at Patrick Henry Community College. Students from many of the regional high schools attended the day to participate in STEM based activities and see exhibits from STEM employers and programs in the area.

Students participate in STEM Day at PHCC.

For the VMNH Climate Change activity students identified bones and teeth of mammals from three different time periods in Virginia – 14,000 years ago, 900 years ago, and 24 years ago. They examined their data for patterns of presence and absence of various species and then formulated hypotheses for the patterning they observed. In this activity students learn about climate change, animal extinction, and the introduction of non-native species.

Students participate in STEM Day at PHCC.

When students finished the Climate Change activity they learned about the VMNH molding and casting program. Ray Vodden and Christina Byrd, both in the VMNH Paleontology Department, demonstrated the process used to make polymer casts of fossils. These casts are often used in exhibits and educational programs to protect the original research specimen from damage. Every student attending the VMNH program was able to take with them a cast of a fossil crustacean, a 440-470 million year-old trilobite Trinucleus.

Trinucleus Cast

To learn more about trilobites visit

Tags: Archaeology, Biology, Christina Byrd, Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Dr. Nancy Moncrief, Paleontology, Ray Vodden, Research and Collections