[image of Rep. Dave Borden, select members of the 4th grade class working on the State Fossil proposal and Thom Smith, their teacher when they were in the 3rd grade, courtesy of Thom Smith]
Below is the initial Q&A I exchanged with Thom Smith (the students’ former teacher when they were in the 3rd grade); Lauren Simpson (the teacher of one of two 4th grade classes at Kearsarge Regional Elementary School) and the students.
All answers were given as “Ms. Simpson’s 4th grade class.”
1. Why do you want a state fossil in NH?
We want a state fossil because all the other states around us have state fossils. There is only one other state has the mastodon, and that is Michigan.
2. What have you learned about fossils in your class?
We have learned that there are different kinds of fossils. Not all fossils are bones. We learned that fossils are like clues. We learned that digging for fossils can be a lot of fun, but can also take a long time and be difficult.
[image of Thom Smith, students and Rep. Dave Borden, courtesy of Thom Smith]
3. Do you ever imagine what NH might have looked like when mastodons lived? Does Mr. Smith’s/Ms. Simpson’s class make you think about things like that?
We know the Earth does not look like it did back when mastodons roamed the Earth. The White Mountains were probably really tall back then, because the mountains hadn’t eroded as much. Mount Sunapee was probably taller back then, too.
[some of the students getting a tour of the NH State House by Rep. Borden, image courtesy of Thom Smith]
4. Do you think you’d ever want to work with fossils? Discovering them or excavating them as paleontologists?
- it might be cool to find a real fossil from way back and just be able to feel it.
- you could see the animals back then that don’t exist anymore.
- I think it would be fun digging fossils up like a treasure hunt.
- You might go on a really long fossil hunt. You might not find anything interesting but you also might find undiscovered species. You would need a long attention span, though.
5. What do you think about the process of making a mastodon the state fossil? Has it been hard? Or has it been fun?
- It’s a very long, hard process; it might actually take too long.
- It will be fun and a great way for us to learn about bills and stuff like that.
[image of students touring the NH State House with Rep. Dave Borden, courtesy of Thom Smith]
6. Is there anything that I haven’t asked that you would want people to know about on the blog?
- People should read up on the mastodon.
- A fossil of a mastodon was found on the coast of Rye, NH.
- It’s going to be really fun to see if we can make it be our state fossil.
- If other kids can make other state symbols, we can make this the state fossil.
This is the first half of posts on the NH State Fossil. Up next, comments from some of the legislators themselves.
A Mammut americanum-sized THANK YOU to Thom Smith, Lauren Simpson and all of the remarkable students who worked so hard toward a State Fossil! I remain impressed and inspired by all of them.
A Mammut americanum-sized THANK YOU to Representative Dave Borden who supported the class and its initiative from the very beginning. An equally large THANK YOU to the two other sponsors of the bill: Rep. Nancy Stiles and Rep. Tom Sherman!
A Mammut americanum-sized THANK YOU to Will Clyde and Wallace Bothner at UNH and Gary Johnson at Dartmouth!
A Mammut americanum-sized THANK YOU to my friend, Gary Andy, who informed me of their work as it developed!
Thank you so very much to Allie Morris of the Concord Monitor for being the first to do a story about this process!
Thank you, Brady Carlson of NHPR and Dave Brooks of the Telegraph, for continuing to highlight this story!