The students were amazed by the ancient rhyolite and granite rocks. I remember my first visit with our son. He felt he was exploring where dinosaurs had once roamed. It is an awesome place to explore. Each time I have guests, I encourage a visit to this unusual place. The state park is in the St. Francis Mountains in Southeast Missouri. I won’t decline an opportunity to visit and today I spent my time sharing with 2 groups of students.
A park naturalist gave students tips for observing and identifying birds for their first activity. The students were shown how to use binoculars to view the birds. Then we divided into small groups and hiked through the forest to search for birds. The students arrived with some background knowledge so they were serious birders.
After lunch the naturalist demonstrated two concepts for the students to connect to this place. The site was created through volcanic activity 1.5 billion years ago, which was demonstrated using Mentos and Diet Coke. The next demo used water and Alka- Selttzer in a Pringles’ can to show how pressure is released. The students were ready to hike to the top. They were instructed to look for sharp edges on some rocks because that would indicate how humans had influenced the park. In the late 1800s people attempted to develop a quarry to mine the granite. The red granite was used as building and paving material for a levee and streets in St. Louis.