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Written by: Nancy Moncrief
Tuesday May 10, 2016

Liberty Hightower (VMNH Research Technician) and I recently traveled to Grundy, Virginia (which is near the state lines of both Kentucky and West Virginia) to provide educational programming to about 60 high schools students.  This is the first time we had ever been to that part of the state.  The geology of this area is quite impressive, as seen below.

 A road cut near the town center of Grundy. The yellow arrow is pointing to a pickup truck, which provides a scale for the size of the wall behind it.  photo by L. Hightower.A road cut near the town center of Grundy. The yellow arrow is pointing to a pickup truck, which provides a scale for the size of the wall behind it.  photo by L. Hightower.

We presented a hands-on activity Analysis of Evidence for Climate Change in Virginia, which was very popular with these students. They examined exact replicas of bones and teeth from the VMNH collections and identified this material using reference specimens and the same technical manuals I use in my work.  Many of them were surprised to learn that familiar animals such as raccoons and gray squirrels have lived in Virginia for thousands of years.

 Dr. Moncrief (center) shows students how to identify mammals using replicas of skull fragments as Grundy High School teacher Angie Mutter (right) looks on.  photo by L. Hightower.

Dr. Moncrief (center) shows students how to identify mammals using replicas of skull fragments as Grundy High School teacher Angie Mutter (right) looks on.  photo by L. Hightower.

Tags: Biology, Dr. Nancy Moncrief, Mammals, Research and Collections

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