Saturday, March 16, 2013

Evolution in Oklahoma, a Road Trip: First Announcement

I am pleased to announce that Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education and the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences are sponsoring an evolution road trip in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas this summer. That is, so long as we get at least nine registrants. The dates are Thursday May 30 (my 56th birthday) to Sunday June 2. Our home base is the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on the shores of beautiful Lake Texoma. The cost will be $350 per person; for participants who want a single room, the cost is $400. You can’t beat that for a four-day weekend of outdoor science! The trip is open to anyone interested in science, regardless of background, but we particularly want to draw local pre-college science educators. If you are a schoolteacher and want to go on this trip, you can get professional development credit and (if we get enough participants or donations) a partial refund of the costs. Furthermore, if we have enough participants, we may be able to give partial refunds to everyone.

For reasons that I will explain in upcoming entries, I am pretty excited about this trip. I realize that many of my readers live far away from Oklahoma. But if you’ve never been here, you might be surprised. No, it doesn’t look like the flat dry set of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. It is a fascinating concatenation of ecology and geology (which is part of the reason that there is so much oil and gas here). Y’all come, y’hear?

The trip is designed especially for pre-college science instructors, although anyone with an interest in science is invited to participate. We expect to get together a group of people who will enjoy talking with one another and investigating some perhaps little-known highlights of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas—perhaps little-known even to people who live around here. I admit that, until Dr. Gordon Eggleton showed me around, I had no idea how many exciting bits of geological evidence there are in southern Oklahoma. There is a dramatic and hidden history underneath the Oklahoma dirt. Today, Oklahoma sits quietly in the middle of the North American plate. But a hundred million years ago, it was a pretty exciting place.

You can read all about it at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station website ( The full brochure, with photos, is there, along with a registration form and instructions.

In upcoming blog entries, I will write about some of the things we will see on this trip. If you want to read about it how, visit the website above. If you cannot come but would like to make a donation to help defray the cost for participating schoolteachers, you can make a donation to the University of Oklahoma Foundation. Contact me at if you are interested. You will be provided with a letter to acknowledge the tax-exempt status of your donation.

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