From the ABC 7 Weather team

Grab shovels: Wednesday is National Fossil Day on the D.C. Mall

October 12, 2011 - 04:00 AM
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Today, take your kids to National Fossil Day on the National Mall, where you can sift for fossilized remains and trade "fossil cards." Paleontologists will be present.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, take your kids or go solo to National Fossil Day on the National Mall, a celebration of dead and buried stuff that is part of the ongoing Earth Sciences Week. (Spiral fossil photo courtesy of Penelope Else)

Do you enjoy digging in the ground? Or perhaps just digging for excuses to take off of work? Then grab your Mighty Jacks and pin vises and get yourself to the worldwide opening of National Fossil Day, a celebration of dead and buried stuff that kicks off this morning on the National Mall.

The child-oriented activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include everything from lessons on how to become a junior paleontologist, a tour of a "virtual museum" featuring (yeah!) dinosaurs, a presentation by PBS' Dinosaur Train that includes the chance to record your own T-Rex roars, and the wanton swapping of fossil trading cards. The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (featured species yesterday: Pilobolus, the dung cannon) will be running the show locally, helping kids sift through North Carolina sediment to recover small fossils and showcasing fossilized critters that were found in the D.C. region. Kids are encouraged to bring their own fossils for identification and to ask paleontologists and geologists about the tremendous spiders and terrifying hell pigs of yesteryear.

Fossil Day events are occurring throughout the states and internationally, including a fossilfest at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, Va. The event is part of Earth Science Week, an international tribute to the geosciences that runs until Saturday, Oct. 15 and is being promoted by the American Geosciences Institute and the National Park Service. Find more about what's going on for Earth Science Week here, and check the Fossil Day website for what's going on today on the Mall. Rest assured that Buddy Bison, the mascot of the National Park Trust, will be in full effect.

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