We've just seen two contemporary large birds that cannot fly---the emu and the ostrich. Over here is an interesting specimen from the past. This stuffed animal is not the giant penguin as it appears to be. But an auk. This particular kind of auk is very rare, only 78 skeins are known to exist. and most are not preserved as well as this one. The great auk ,as you can see, was a rather large bird and it couldn't fly either. However evidence suggests that the auk was an excellent swimmer and diver. Unfortunately those abilities didn't protect it from being easy prey for hungry sailors who years ago sailed the very cold and often icy waters of Greenland, Iceland and Scotland. In fact records indicate that the auk was rather tasty and that its eggs and feathers were useful as well. Still it isn't clear what other factors led to the big bird's demise around 1844, the last time anyone reported seeing one. Of course, we believe it's important to take extra precautions to preserve the remaining great auk skeins. After all this specimen should prove invaluable for future scientific research. Does anyone have any questions before we move on to our next bird exhibit?
I'd like to begin by thanking Dr. Cane for inviting me to be here today. Although I'm not a geologist, I have been collecting minerals for years. My collection is really diverse because I've traveled all over the world to find them. Today I've brought a few specimens for you to see. After I discuss each one, I'll pass it around so that you can look at it more closely. As you know, feldspars are the most abundant minerals and they are divided into a number of types. These first samples are orthoclases. Notice that they vary in color from white to pink to red. This glassy one is found in volcanic rock. In fact I found it in New Mexico on a collecting trip. This next sample that I'll pass around is a microcline mineral, also called Amazon stone. You could identify it by a bright green color. It's often used in jewelry and really is quite attractive. These final samples are all plagioclase feldspars. Many plagioclases are very rare so I'm particularly proud of the variety in my collection. I've also brought a few slides of some larger mineral samples and if you turn on the lights now I'd like to show them to you.
Welcome to Yellow Stone
National Park. Before we begin our nature walk today, I'd like to give you a short history of our national park service. The national park service began in the late 1800s. A small group of explorers had just completed a month long exploration of the region that is now Yellow Stone. They gathered around the campfire and after hours of discussion, they decided that they should not claim this land for themselves. They felt it should be accessible to everyone so they began a campaign to preserve this land for everyone's enjoyment. Two years later, in the late 19century, an act of congress signed by President Ulysses S. Grant, proclaimed the Yellow Stone region a public park. It was the first national park in the world. After Yellow Stone became a public park, many other areas of great scenic importance were set aside. And in 1916 the national park service was established to manage these parks. As a park ranger, I am an employee of the national park service. In the national park, park rangers are on duty at all the times to answer questions and help visitors in any difficulty. Nature walks, guided tours and campfire talks are offered by specially trained staff members. The park service also protects the animals and plants within the parks.