Touching the past
There’s something oh-so-cool about holding a tiny piece of an egg in your hand and learning it’s probably at least 55-million years old.
What’s even cooler?
Holding the tiny piece of amber with the even tinier bug encased inside — or touching the fossilized squid pieces.
Maybe it’s seeing an almost perfect fossil of a fish that swam about 50-million years ago.
If the whoas!, oohs!, ahhhs! and wows! were any indication, the coolest part of all was the visit to the Grade 1/2 class by Don Bouffard.
The retired geologist was at Beattie School of the Arts recently, regaling the students in Tammy Kawa’s class with stories about dinosaurs as he passed around parts of the collection he readily admits is “pretty big.”
His presentation was part of Science World British Columbia’s Scientists and Innovators in the Schools program that takes real-world scientists into classrooms to share their experiences and help bring science alive for the students.
Bouffard is also a volunteer with the Kamloops Exploration Group and has done many presentations at the Big Little Science Centre.
In fact, he told the children huddled around some of the artifacts he passed around, Science World has estimated he has given presentations to between 50,000 and 60,000 students.
As Bouffard started to hand out the tiny egg pieces, he asked some basic questions of the children.
“Are they common? No! Are they hard to find? Yes! Are they cool?”
Before he could answer his own question, they chimed in with the obvious — “Yes!”
With his audience captivated, Bouffard had about an hour of stories about the bones and fossils he was passing around, noitng how rare some are and warning about the delicate conditions of others.
“It’s insane how special it is,” he said of the dino-egg remnants. “You are holding history in your hands.”
A fossilized piece of a tree, with ribbons of mineral running through it, drew plenty of attention as he pointed out the “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tiny quartz crystals in it. Can you see them sparkle?”
More agreement — mixed with a lot of wows! — followed as he told them the piece is an estimated 100-million years old.
That particular piece became a gift to the school, with Bouffard noting he is a scientist working to be an artist — he is learning to make gemstones — and the students attend an art school studying science.
More information on the Science World program can be obtained by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.