Connecting the environment of the ancient past with the natural and cultural history of yesterday and today.



Outreach Public Programs

Discover the wonder of the Falls of the Ohio with our naturalist-led outreach programs for all age groups. Great for senior citizen homes, church and civic groups. Through Summer, 2015 at your location.

Cost: $2 per person (minimum of $60)

Non-refundable $30 transportation fee to locations beyond Clark and Floyd Co., Indiana and Jefferson Co., Kentucky.

We can travel ~60 mile radius from the Falls of the Ohio.

Contact us at 812-280-9970 to make arrangements. Email:

Program options

Slide Show

History of the Falls of the Ohio

Learn about the history of the Falls from the Devonian period to the Native Americans, earlier settlers, and the effort to overcome the navigational obstacles that the falls presented.

Thomas Hutchin's map of the Falls of the Ohio

Hands-On Fossil, Mineral,

Archaeology and Lewis & Clark Labs


Lab length: 45 minutes

Maximum number: 30 participants per lab


Fossil Discovery Lab

Favosites coral   Crinoid column and bryozoan

Brief Description:

Participants are introduced to fossils, how to identify them and how they are interpreted as living creatures.


By the end of the program, participants will...

1.) know what a fossil is.

2.) recognize similarities and differences in modern marine life.

3.) be able to recognize differences between carnivores, herbivores, scavengers and filter feeders.

4.) be able to identify eight fossils from 20 illustrations.

5.) know how shale is formed.

6.) be able to differentiate fossils from ordinary shale.

7.) be able to match fossils with the their feeding style: carnivores, herbivores, scavengers and filter feeders.

8.) be able to identify pyrite (fool's gold) as a mineral.

The lab begins with an introduction "What is a fossil?" Since understanding life today helps us understand how life used to be, students will identify 10 – 20 different types of organisms in the ocean. A review of their feeding styles will be made.

The first hands-on activity involves matching fossils from the Falls of the Ohio with an identification sheet. Students will handle their fossil using the shape and pattern to identify it with the ID sheets. They will learn how it is possible to reconstruct life-styles of fossils based on their modern counterparts.


Working in teams, students will sort through a Middle Silurian shale (about 421 million years old) to discover what fossils may be found. A guide will be used to identify the fossils, which may include: brachiopods, bryozoans, cephalopods, clams, corals, crinoids, cystoids, graptolites, snails, sponges, trilobites and trace fossils. We will review those fossil types not discussed earlier.


Students identify fossils.  Students digging for fossils in Silurian shale

                  Fossil identification                            Digging for fossils in Silurian shale

Minerals and Our World Lab

Calcite crystal

Brief Description:

This lab focuses on observing the characteristics of minerals (how they are different from rocks) and the application of ores (rocks and minerals) used in our lives. It will help students make the connections to real-world applications of minerals. 


By the end of the program, participants will...

1.) know what a rock is.

2.) know what a mineral is.

3.) be able to recognize the characteristics of luster, color and crystal form in minerals.

4.) be able to identify uses for copper, calcium, fluorine, iron, lead and silica.

5.) pick out every day items made of minerals in a room.

6.) recognize objects used by prehistoric people made from rocks or minerals.

The lab begins with students examining a piece of limestone and calcite and determining which is a rock and mineral through simple observation.

Participants get one of six minerals to examine and learn some of the properties (luster, crystal form, color) and write a description.

Participants will write the dominant element of their mineral and how it might be used in things see in their daily lives.

The instructor will ask participants to point out any item in the room and learn which minerals are used to make it (i.e., drywall - gypsum; brick - clay minerals; window - quartz, etc.).

Prehistoric projectile points are handled and drawn. The use of rocks and minerals used thousands of years ago will be discussed. Why was salt so valuable? What makes a gemstone valuable?

Students prepare to remove minerals to study in the mineral lab.

Students prepare to remove minerals to study in the mineral lab.

Archaeology Lab

Projectile point

Brief Description:

A hands-on lab introduces the basics of the science of archaeology. This lab will help participants make the connection between the common everyday items and what can be learned about peoples from the past.

The Corps of Discovery

and the Natural World Lab

Lewis and Clark statue at the Falls of the Ohio

Brief Description:

This lab focuses on the discoveries of the natural world made by the Lewis and Clark expedition as they explored the unfamiliar lands of America from 1803 through 1803.


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Created March 20, 2015