Dry Dredgers Field Trip
June 22-24, 2012
Ridgemount Quarry, Ontario
and Penn Dixie, New York

Ridgemount Quarry, 2012

June 22nd through the 24th continued a long tradition of the Dry Dredgers paying a visit to the Penn Dixie site, hosted by the Hamburg Natural History Society. As readers of this newsletter are aware, considerable promotion of this trip was given in the months leading up to it. Here are the results: Twenty-seven people attended representing seven states and two paleontological groups. Three fossil sites were visited in two countries.

Approximately 20 of us went to the Ridgemount Quarry in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada on Friday. There was a light drizzle when we met for breakfast, but skies mostly cleared by the time we crossed the border. Other than a few momentary “mists” (which actually felt good) conditions remained dry at the site. With the assistance of two Canadian amateur paleontologists on site, we were soon digging for Eurypterids. While none of the U.S. attendees found any whole ones, one of the Canadians did – proving they WERE there. This type of excavation was very different from what most of us were used to, so the learning experience was very beneficial. Everyone found something worth bringing home, so it was a good day overall.

Breakfast photos

Pictures from Ridgemount Quarry, Fort Erie, Ontario

From Ron Fine
From Jim Cox
From Rick Schrantz

Saturday was packed with a variety of activities! An onsite excavation class was held to demonstrate how to extract Penn Dixie shale. Once that started, EVERYONE was getting out large chunks to break apart. Apparently, everyone found at least one whole trilobite, and a number of multiples were found.

Pictures from Penn Dixie Site

From Ron Fine
From Jim Cox

From Tony Swinehart

From Rick Schrantz

While at Penn Dixie, we participated in Astronomy Night. We chose that weekend to go to Penn Dixie so we could also have fun at Astronomy Night.

Astronomy Night

Also while at Penn Dixie, Bob Bross hooked up with other Ham Radio enthusiasts and set up a field station and made several contacts. One of them was a fossil enthusiast in Hamburg who did not even know about Penn Dixie. This new found friend joined us at Penn Dixie that same hour and is now a Penn Dixie member.

Pictures of Ham Day

Our final day was a trip to nearby 18-Mile Creek. No one in the group had visited this location before, so getting the lay of the land (or “flow of the creek”) was a challenge. Initially, very little was found, and we drifted apart into three different groups – and that’s when the discoveries were made. As we separately made our ways to the shores of Lake Erie, more and more fossils were uncovered – or often times, laying there out in the open waiting for someone to pick them up! The earlier feelings of “let’s just turn around and head back home” changed to “do we have to leave now?”

Pictures of 18-Mile Creek

From Ron Fine
From Jim Cox

From Rick Schrantz

Long drives, lots of digging, hard work, and sore muscles – all for a “bunch of rocks”. It was a great time! Thank you to everyone who came to Hamburg, NY that weekend. A lot of time and effort went into the planning, and it is always rewarding to see the results.

Now let's take a look at our September field trip and picnic to Bardstown, KY

Previous Trips to this site

June 2008
June 2006

June 2003
June 2002

For more information on the Penn Dixie site, visit their official web site: penndixie.org


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