Orchard Beach at Pelham Bay Park

We met bright and early at Orchard Beach. The day was very warm. You drive through the sprawling Pelham Bay Park - with horse stables and bike paths and picnic benches - to get to the beach. Parking is $7. The field trip was led by George Harlow and we walked north along the beach towards Twin Island.

This field trip provided another view of the local NYC geology, with all its complexity. Because we were not given a field trip guide ahead of time, I looked up some information about the site and what's there. Here are the links: Bedrock Geology of New York City: More than 600 m.y. of geologic history and 6. Pelham Bay Park (USGS). Don't you love going into the field knowing what you might find? I do.

Here's what I saw: the Bronx section of the Fordham Gneiss, loads of folding, partial melting (we've seen that on all stops thus far), a patch of garnet sand, tourmaline, epidote, beryl, biotite and muscovite (sometimes intergrown with each other) and kyanite blades (see below)! Sillimanite? No, I don't think so.

And a dinosar:

Bring on the Black Rock Field Trip!! That'll be all week, the week of July 27. Just like old times and field camp at CSU Hayward in the Sierra. Ha!


Field Trip to Inwood Park

Today was more like a real field trip. Though we met in upper Manhattan and walked and looked at a great outcrop right in a community, we scrambled around in mostly lush Inwood Park, poison ivy and all.

The field trip leader was George Harlow, Curator, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at AMNH. We ambled around, first in the city, along Cooper Street and then into Isham Park. Then we went to Inwood Park. The aerial view map below is where we went in Manhattan, but not the Bronx. As you can see in the simplified geologic map and cross-section below, the geology is quite complex. It is also almost completely covered with vegetation, which is very often poison ivy. It is nuts. I longed for a western or southwest field location where all the outcrops are exposed.

The first very cool thing we saw was a great example of boudinage. See the image below (try squinting - they're there). The boudins were in the Inwood Marble and are a result of a more resistance or rigid layer (probably proto-sandstone) within a more plastic layer (possibly proto-limestone) undergoing compression.

We saw some good-sized garnets with eye-shaped feldspar growths:

Tramping into the Inwood Park, we saw "potholes," which I have seen elsewhere but did not know that they were created from glacial meltwater, with a rock or two swirling around and down, carving out a deep hole. The opening on this one - in Manhattan Schist - is about a 2-foot diameter.

By walking north and crossing the Henry Hudson bridge, we ended up in the Bronx, looking at the Fordham Gneiss. At this outcrop, we saw more garnet, amphibole, pyrite, and ptygmatic folding in the gneiss. A very good trip, all in all, and we were finished by 2pm.


Summer Practicum Activities - #NYCgeology along 5th Avenue

It's all starting now! My summer will be spent doing research in astronomy at the museum and going on field trips with curators and post-docs affiliated with the MAT program.

Today, I went on a "field trip" to see  some of the building stones of a part of Manhattan, New York. Led by Denton Ebel, the trip went from the lower Central Park area to 5th Avenue and 45th Street. We saw an array of rock types, many of which came imported from Italy. Building stones are a great way to teach geology when you a) don't have a budget for a real field trip and b) don't have access to real geology right in the neighborhood.

Here are some shots from inside the Apple Store, where we saw the "special" rock that Apple loved so much that they purchased they whole mine so they could brand their stores. We also saw some lovely partial melting migmatites.



I met one of the new MAT students, a Cohort 4 student, the other day. She bounded up to me and said, "hey, I've been meaning to talk with you. I found your blog and that was great, but it just stopped." She told me she was worried that meant something like, I hurt myself, I gave up on blogging, or I was overloaded in the program and it was too much. She was dying to know what happened and what she had gotten herself into! Here's the scoop...I have not had one single minute to do too much more than stay on top of my AMNH school work (lot's of it!), go to my school residencies (Monday to Thursday from September to mid-June), commute an hour and a half (minimum) each way, everyday, and see my family once in awhile. ha ha I live with them but they usually just see the back of my head while I'm working away on my school work and class prep. There is no time to blog! Sorry 'bout that. If I can muster the strength, I will try to write an update about my experiences. There have been a lot of experiences!


Nice Place to Visit But...

New York City is so...invigorating, eye-opening, contemplation-making. There is a stark contrast between the community of my life in Poughkeepsie and that community that I see here. As I make my way to the Museum, I walk through rich and poor neighborhoods, some people walk their dogs and take up lot's of space on the sidewalks, some are asking for money with a sign, some have on work uniforms as they hustle to catch the subway. There are young kids walking with huge backpacks to get to summer day camp bus pick-up, there are babies in strollers who look nothing like the women pushing the prams, and there are stinky streets everywhere. 

New York, it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here.

And do people even pay their parking tickets in NY?! I find one or two each morning walking in through Central Park.

More About the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at AMNH - Videos!

I stumbled on these videos today and thought I should post them. What they present about the MAT program is pretty close to my own experience.


Three weeks of Co-teaching

We wrapped a three-week stint of co-teaching in the Lang Science program at the Museum. Lang is a unique program that brings kids from all around New York City to learn a science topic (or multiple topics) over three weeks. But it's not just one and done. There's an application process and the program starts when kids are going into the sixth grade and they stay with it until they graduate from high school. Every summer. For seven summers. Wow! Not only that. The Langsters commit to coming to the Museum for 18 additional Saturdays throughout the school term. That is a lot of science and a lot of love for science learning on the part of the young people in Lang. The MAT program is incorporated into the Lang program by having us co-teach lessons (that's me teaching about chemical weathering and stratigraphy), guide Lang students on research design, work with the lead Lang instructor on activities and whatever other way we can see ourselves jumping in to help out.

The following is a blog post that I wrote in Moodle.  Moodle is a learning management system and no one, outside of my classmates, my instructors, and maybe the MAT program administration, can see these posts we make and the comments to those posts. I do not like Learning Management Systems, but I have used them as a student, I have used them as an instructor, and my children have had to use them, so I can see the efficacy of using one. I just don't like them. So I am freeing some of the content that's hidden away. This post was more of a comment to a thread on class and privilege that I felt compelled to respond to and then felt I wanted to share with this blog.

So, the week with the Lang 7th graders has come and, sadly, gone. What a wonderful group! I will miss them and will be more than glad to take a position as a middle school teacher.

About the socio-economic dynamics much discussed here…I didn’t really see it. I mean, I did not see it being a problem in the learning environment. Sure, there were the kids who were all aflutter about going to one of the other kid’s country house. (It was probably in or near Poughkeepsie, BTW.) It was only the girls who got to go, so I felt badly for the boys. At least one of the girls was not going ("my mom said we have something to do that day") and I felt badly for her, too. But, frankly, I don’t think I’d want my daughter going (by limo!) to a country house so she can feel like she has a life that is less-than or more suck-ish than this kid’s life.

OK, that aside, I feel like almost all of the learners spoke up in Lang 7th grade. I did not see the "rich" kids speaking more than the "financial aid" kids. (And I did not see an economic divide at all in the 9th to 12th research group.) I mean, how do we really know who has money and who doesn't? I did not get that list. We could make major assumptions, but perhaps the kid who talked about walking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon was not really bragging, she might have been lying or she might have been a college professor’s child. Or her family is middle class and they know that trips like that are good for kids' development.

So much of what a kid goes through in life is dependent upon the zip code he or she is unlucky (or lucky) enough to be born into and those economics are passed along through the generations. The pull-yourself-up-by the-bootstraps American ethos is a myth, IMO. We need to treat all kids like they are born into the high-rent district and teach like all kids belong in a program like Lang. That is our challenge.

What is clear is that, if I imagine myself teaching in the high-needs school in my neighborhood, I will see in my classroom kids mostly from low-income families. Some of them will be homeless. But there are pockets in my area, in that school district, that are middle class and upper middle class. Some of those kids will go on summer trips to The Shore or will have passports with stamps in them, but some will have never left Poughkeepsie. I want all of them to feel like they can raise their hand, add their thoughts and observations, and know in their hearts that I think that what they have to say is important and matters.