Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Earth Science Week - Rock Garden Field Trip

Happy Earth Science Week!

This past weekend I attended the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) annual conference in Sault Sainte Marie, MI.  The main conference was scheduled for Saturday; Friday was taken up by a number of pre-conference sessions that included field trips and other workshops.  On Friday afternoon I attended my favorite session of the entire weekend - a field trip to the "rock garden" at Sault Sainte Marie High School.

This field trip was led by retired Sault Sainte Marie science teacher Dennis Dougherty.  Before he retired, Mr. Dougherty was largely responsible for the design and creation of this feature.  The rock garden was created with mostly donated materials and labor.  The garden consists of a number of large blocks of rock surrounding a walkway and large sundial. 

Retired science teacher Dennis Dougherty (blue coat) discussing the Sault Sainte Marie "rock garden"

The rocks in the garden were all labeled with bronze plaques and represent varieties of igneous, sedimantary, and metamorphic rocks found in the Upper Great Lakes region.  If you are a rock hound (or aspiring rock hound) and find yourself in Sault Sainte Marie, a visit to this rock garden is well worth your time.

Here are a few of the rocks contained in the garden.

Copper-Nickel Ore (Metamorphic)

Gneiss (Metamorphic)

Metagabbro (Metamorphic)

Slate (Metamorphic)

Dolostone (Sedimentary)

Limestone-Marble - This rock was in the process of metamorphosis from limestone to marble, but never completed the process

Metaconglomerate (Metamorphic) and Quartzite (Metamorphic)

Sandstone (Sedimentary)

Granite (Igneous) with inclusions

Basalt (Igneous)

Sundial atop large block of Limestone (Sedimentary)

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