Earth Science Week is October 9 to October 15 in 2011, and promotes sciences such as palaeontology and geology. The Grand Canyon National Park is running special educational programs during Earth Science Week, including some for National Fossil Day on October 12.
Earth Science Week and National Fossil Day programs at Grand Canyon National Park
Goals for both events include teaching visitors the care and feeding (all right, protection) of fossils and increasing interest and appreciation for earth sciences. Throughout Earth Science Week, Grand Canyon National Park will run daily Fossil Walks, starting behind the Bright Angel Lodge at 10:00 a.m. Walks to an exposed fossil bed will take you about half an mile and last approximately an hour.
If you’re staying at one of the national park’s campgrounds, there’ll also be evening, ranger-led programs. Earth Science Week programs start at 7:00 p.m. in the Shrine of the Ages auditorium. Again, these programs last about an hour and cover geology, caves, weather and other geosciences.
You can also follow Grand Canyon National Park’s celebration of Earth Science Week on Twitter. Park staff will be posting park geology-related information on Twitter throughout.
Earth Science Week junior Ranger Program, kid-friendly events at Grand Canyon National Park
Homeschooling your kids or just taking them on an interesting road trip? A family-oriented Fossil Walk will also take place on October 11 at 4:30 p.m.
A special offshoot of the Junior Ranger program is planned, with Junior Paleontologist booklets available at the Park HQ and visitor center in South Rim Village. The books contain self-guided activities and are aimed at kids ages five through 12 years. Complete the program and receive a badge.
Older students might also be interested in a 20 percent off sale on geology-related books in Grand Canyon National Park’s bookstores.
Earth Science Week Grand Canyon camping for RV boondockers:
- Mather Campground, just off South Rim Village. Reservations are likely necessary; go through the recreation.gov website or call 1-877-444-6777 to check availability. Maximum RV or trailer length is 30 feet and only limited sites are big enough for these. Sites cost $18 ($9 with an Interagency Access or Senior Pass, or older equivalents) and have no hookups, though water and dump are available.
- Desert View campground costs $12 ($6 when discounts apply). It is 26 miles east of South Rim Village. This primitive campground has two water faucets and bathrooms, but no dump or other hookups. First-come first-served only and check to make sure the campground is still open, as it’s slated to close “mid-October.”
- Ten X campground in Kaibab National Forest, two miles south of Tusayan. Cost is $10; passes mentioned above make this $5.
- Kaibab National Forest: You can boondock off a forest road in Tusayan Ranger District. This district has not yet implemented its travel management plan.
The Grand Canyon shuttle bus will link campgrounds and parking lot with the ranger programs. You may also be able to park in Tusayan and shuttle in from there: Contact the park for details if this seems like your best option.
Note that, with its mountain altitude, Grand Canyon National Park can get pretty cold during October — approaching, if not dropping below, freezing at night. Keep track of the weather forecast and bring extra sweaters.
Earth Science Week at Grand Canyon National Park contacts and further reading:
- Maureen Oltogge, 928-638-7779
- Allyson Mathis, 928-638-7923
- Earth Science Week official site
- Grand Canyon Earth Science Week page
- National Fossil Day events
- Grand Canyon National Park campgrounds
- Grand Canyon Twitter
- Long Canyon needs volunteers, October 2011
- Christmas tree permits Arizona, 2011 vendors
Do you boondock or dry camp in your RV? Subscribe to this column or read it in your feed reader to get fresh updates on the boondocking life. You can also follow the RV Boondocking Facebook page or on Twitter to read more about events like National Fossil Day and Earth Science Week.