|PENN DIXIE PALEONTOLOGICAL AND OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTER|
I first discovered Penn Dixie back in about 1984 when my High School Biology Teacher took us on a field trip there. I discovered tons of excellent fossils, including many whole trilobytes, which may still be on display 22 years later at my high school!
Now that Max is seven, I’ve been taking him there as well. He loves digging in the dirt and the discovery of incredibly well preserved fossils. It is so easy to find the fossils — just pluck them off the ground or turn over rocks. At least every other rock you pick up has one or two fossils contained within. They are all Devonian era fossils — clams, trilobytes, crinoids, gastropods — marine life from 380 Million Years ago when Hamburg used to be covered by a Tropical Ocean.
Fossil Collecting at the Penn Dixie Site:
The Penn Dixie Site is a hands-on outdoor educational facility and visitors of all ages are encouraged to actually collect and keep the 380-million-year-old Devonian fossils they will find. The site is one of the richest deposits in the Eastern United States for the collection of Devonian era fossils.
The Windom Shale outcrops that dominate the site are the most extensive and vertically complete exposure of this fossil-rich rock stratum to be found anywhere in the northeast. Visitors never leave empty-handed, and HNHS volunteers introduce visitors to the fossil treasures to be found during public events and scheduled visits. A nominal fee is charged for collecting.
Ornithology and Nature:
The HNHS calls the Penn Dixie Site an outdoor educational center. But it’s called home for more than 143 species of nesting and migratory birds, turkey, deer, coyote, and a variety of small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The diversity of habitats found on site, ranging from exposed bedrock to dense brush to vegetated wetlands and riparian zones to northern hardwood forest, attract a correspondingly broad and diverse variety of birds and other wildlife. In addition, the Sites proximity to a major raptor flyway makes sightings of birds of prey a common occurence.
Here is information from their brochure: