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Today was time for me to give my Shark presentation at the Onandaga County Free Library, in Syracuse, New York. Originally I was to do a presentation on sharks, for the kids in the morning, and a second presentation on New York trilobites, for adults, in the afternoon. Due to the death of a friend, I had to cancel the trilobite presentation to attend to funeral services. But I gave the presentation on sharks as I did not want to cancel that, and let the kids down, who had registered for this event with the library, in advance. I really enjoyed giving this presentation today. While I never claim to anyone about being an expert, I do enjoy sharing the knowledge that I do have, with others. There were about 16, of the 23 kids, who had signed up for this, as well as their parents. Not a large group, but that's ok. I talked a bit about sharks of the past, modern sharks, shark fossils, and how and where to find them. I only had an hour to talk, and the time seemed to fly by, but the smiles on the children's and parents faces made it rewarding. At the end of the discussion I gave each kid 2 sharkteeth and 2 stingray plates to take home.They all seemed very pleased with that. The teeth I gave away were all from my recent hunt from Cookie Cutter Creek, as I had plenty. The highlight was when one of the children approached me after the talk. She looked at me and whispered " You know, you talked just a little too much". I had to chuckle. I told her how much a appreciate constructive criticism.
Well, This is a story that tangentially relates to fossil excursions. I'm not one to want to collect jars of shards or Leaverites but I do like to pocket teeth that I think would be good for trades , gifts etc. My son is approaching the age now where he shows a bit more interest and he has started many 'collections' , shark teeth being one of many. (he collects rocks, sticks, bugs, buttons, shiny crystals - more rocks-, you get the idea) I visited his school this morning for my first (hopefully one of many) presentations. I had a few visual aids up on the projector screen but mainly talked about the Oligocene of South Carolina and sharks. Well, ok Megalodon sharks and the things that they ate, and the landscape at the time. 20 minutes was about all that these figit-y pre-k and kindergarten kids would give me but it was worth it. I may have converted a few in the process. Of course images of fossilized poo won the day and got the biggest reaction. Go figure ... though, I did stick those images in for that very reason. I'd like to give a shout out to Bobby @Boesse and the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History in Charleston for the inspiration. The exhibits there are outstanding and really give you a nice slice of the fauna in the area at the time. I relied on shots from inside of the museum for visual aids when discussing Basilosaurids and the evolution of whales (the kids honestly were more impressed with the whale's teeth). And if it wasn't for Cade and his most excellent hand-drawn identification page @Sharks of SC I don't think the visuals would have been half as impressive. The kids loved the handouts Cade and the cool thing is they double as something that they can color ! The prep Goodie bags for 22 students. They each got 5 teeth from 4 different sharks. Angy partials Oh, and if you are curious the meg at the far end of the table is a beautiful 7" inch reproduction of a Meg tooth by Matty Swilp. One the kids could handle and toss around without me having a heart attack. It looks amazing. The 7 inch repro ... Cheers, Brett