Over a dozen blind and visually impaired elementary school students from around Southern New Jersey participated in a unique “dig.” The Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University hosted students from New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Cherry Hill) Wednesday for a modified popular fossil program. The day included a lesson with 3-D printed models and casts of actual, 65 million-year-old fossils from the park, followed by a dig in the pit, all of which was more tactile and accessible.
“Because the goal of the fossil park is to make science accessible, it is important to make sure that obstacles students may have do not impair their accessibility to discovery,” said Heather Simmons, the park’s associate director for external affairs. “We used the exact same curriculum we use for sighted students except for the fact that it was more tactile.”
The fossil park this year was endowed with a $25 million commitment from Rowan alumni Jean and Ric Edelman and is ramping up programming in advance of the planned 2020 opening of a museum, welcome center and dinosaur-themed playground.
The park’s director, world-renowned paleontologist Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, is the discoverer of 85-foot long Dreadnoughtus schrani, one of the largest animals ever to walk the earth.