Students visit John Boyd Thacher State Park for experiential learning

October 14, 2018 - Students in GEO 221, “Understanding the Earth,” visited John Boyd Thacher State Park west of Voorheesville, New York. During the five-hour field trip, students were introduced to the stratigraphy and paleontology of the sedimentary rocks exposed in both the southern and northern parts of the Park and used the observations they made at various outcrops to reconstruct the depositional environments that existed in the vicinity of the Park approximately 400 million years ago. A highlight of the trip was an excursion along the newly reopened Indian Ladder Trail, which provided an opportunity for the students to examine closely the rocks that make up the Helderberg Escarpment that can be seen rising some 700 feet over the valley west of the Uptown campus. Experiential learning opportunities such as the trip to Thacher Park help bring the concepts the students learn about in the classroom “to life” and are essential components of several courses offered by the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

The photograph shows the students, together with Stephen Howe, the field and lab instructor for the course, and graduate teaching assistant Fangze Zhu, standing on a natural pavement formed by the upper surface of the Devonian Oriskany Sandstone near the trailhead of the Fred Schroeder Memorial Trail off of Carrick Road.