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Over the first week-end of August 2023, a group of enthusiastic science teachers from North American schools set out on an exciting journey with scientists from the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI). Their destination: the stunning landscapes of Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and more. The purpose of this expedition was to provide an enhanced understanding of geology and the planet's past, equipping the teachers with firsthand experience and direct examples of subjects covered in the classroom.
During their visit to Petrified Forest National Park, the teachers marveled at the incredible phenomenon of trees turned into stone. Here, they delved into discussions about fossilization, the process of wood petrification, and the insights fossils offer into past animal interactions and environments. Walking among these fossilized trees created opportunities to explore various processes and rates of sediment transport.
The expedition through the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon provided a magnificent backdrop for conversations about the Earth's intricate geological history and the geological record. The teachers had a unique chance to study distinct rock formations through different perspectives of catastrophism and gradualism. While hiking down the South Kaibab Trail, they also noticed vertebrate trackways and fossils embedded in the rocks.
“I've been looking forward to this for over a decade,” expressed John Hakizimana, a teacher at Lake Nelson Adventist Academy in Piscataway, NJ. “I've learned to identify geological layers, and now, as I move around, I'm always trying to recognize which formation I'm in. This experience has reignited my passion for teaching students to find evidence in the geological column that supports our perspective."
After experiencing the wonders of nature and absorbing the information presented, the educators engaged in in-depth discussions and workshops led by the GRI Director, Ronny Nalin, and GRI Senior Scientists Ben Clausen, Tim Standish, and Raul Esperante. They explored ways to effectively blend faith and science in their classroom teachings, and were reminded to respect science while remaining faithful to God and the Bible.
Armed with new outlooks and a commitment to nurturing their students' spiritual and scientific growth, these participants aspire to spark transformation within the education community. They are ready to enrich their students' lives by cultivating a deeper admiration for the natural world and its Creator. Equipped with the lessons from this adventure, these educators are poised to lead the next generation toward a holistic understanding, where faith and science coexist harmoniously in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.