Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paleo Poetry

The Student Paleontologist: on the Pathway to Discovery

By Steven Wade Veatch

Ancient worlds, long lost and hidden behind the murky mists of time,
wait for students to discover the new answers most sublime—
to inspect, reconstruct and peer into an ancient, primordial world:
allowing student paleontologist’s answers to be inexorably unfurled.

The light of knowledge burns with passion by young scholars so enthused
as the exciting tools of these new scientists are imaginatively used
to study fossil bones, petrified trees and cones, and an impression in shale,
pollen and spores, tree ring’s revelations, even a trace fossil dinosaur trail.

The fossil materials are brought back carefully in jackets to the paleo lab,
where workers clean and stabilize fossils such as the impressive petrified crab.
Carefully examined with a microscope and viewed on a digital screen;
observations are made, hypothesis created—all based on what is seen.

Only a very small part of the fossil world has been currently uncovered—
while many more fossils of all sizes and shapes are waiting to be discovered.
Now it’s the student’s turn to work and ponder the pieces of data and reconstruct
these ancient worlds and add their findings to science that will eternally instruct.
The "Trio" at the Florissant Fossil Beds National  Monument, Florissant, CO

Poet's/scientists note: When I was in 3rd grade, before this area was a monument, I went to the fossil beds. It had a lasting impact on my life. Since then I have worked hard to protect and be a part of the research that continues at the fossil beds. I served as President of the Friends of the Florissant Fossil Beds for 5 years and have conducted several research projects that have been published by the Geological Society of America. I have also contributed a chapter to two scholarly books about the fossil beds. I thank Ranger Shawn Frizzell for her constant support and Charles Frizzell for an outstanding watercolor to go with my poem.

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