'Ocean Gems' Calendar Funds Field Trips to Local Museum
August 25, 2008GRAY, Tenn. — Field trips are a great way to enhance students' learning experiences, but because of fewer resources, some school groups are missing an important part of East Tennessee's history.
The "Ocean Gems" calendar is a new fundraising initiative by the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum designed to reach out to schools by providing financial support for student field trips to the Gray Fossil Site.
More than 300 school groups have toured the fossil site and the ETSU museum since it opened in August 2007. However, for many school districts, museum admission fees and transportation costs sometimes outweigh the value of student participation in the numerous educational experiences being offered.
To help offset these costs, proceeds from the sale of this vibrant calendar are contributed to a scholarship fund for area schools. The fund offers students a chance to fully explore the facility and the unique five-acre dig site on which it rests.
The 16-month, full-color calendar showcases the vivid underwater photography of Dr. Diane R. Nelson, a renowned marine biologist and ETSU Professor Emerita of biological sciences, while reflecting her research with fascinating creatures and their watery environment.
Dr. Nelson's 1998 and 2002-03 "Ocean Gems" calendars garnered many state and regional awards, and several of her colorful images have been sold to benefit the ETSU Honors Program and the Reece Museum.
Although no marine fossils have yet been found at the Miocene era Gray Fossil Site, the ocean once covered the entire region and marine fossils have been discovered elsewhere in the area. As Nelson often observes, "We are all connected with the ocean, either directly or indirectly through our lakes, rivers and
The museum uses a multidisciplinary approach to foster knowledge about all aspects of natural history, from the mountains to the sea.
The "Ocean Gems" calendar highlights marine inhabitants of coral reefs around the world, many endangered because of ocean warming and over-fishing.
Calendars are $10. To place an order, visit www.grayfossilmuseum.com, call 1-866- 202-6223, or mail checks to ETSU Natural History Museum, P.O. Box 9221, Gray, TN 37615. "Ocean Gems" Calendar Funds Field Trips to Local Museum
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