The Waldron Shale Project

The Middle Silurian Waldron Shale, long used in the geology events at the Falls of the Ohio State Park, is being incorporated into a new education initiative. The Falls is partnering with Bellarmine University and members of the Falls of the Ohio’s Educator Advisory Committee to improve science literacy with a citizen science project that will enable students in grades 3, 4 and 7 to participate in a scientific investigation of the fossils of the Waldron Shale. No scientific work has been done in the Clark Co., Indiana deposits which were exposed in quarries 20 years ago.

Waldron Shale Project: An Educational Initiative For the Science Classroom

A collaboration of the Falls of the Ohio State Park and Bellarmine University

Project Goal: 

Utilize fossil-rich Waldron Shale as a classroom tool to explore science with a multidisciplinary approach that leads to a better understanding of the scientific processes and while contributing to a better understanding of the Silurian Waldron Shale by collecting usable data for scientific research.

Educational Objectives:

Students will investigate the Waldron Shale to become familiar with the processes of science and its connections to math, writing, language arts, and visual arts.

Students will develop a feeling of ownership contributing to project as a scientist, illustrator or author.

Research Objectives:

  • Better understanding of the distribution of skeletal and trace fossils with comparisons to the classic Waldron investigations.
  • Document types and frequency of epizoans /symbionts among the fossils.
  • Look for new or poorly described species.

Website Objectives:

The Waldron Shale Project website will contain:

  • Uploading database files that can be integrated into others and remain individual for future comparative work
  • Each class can upload their fossil identification guide
  • An art-space where student drawings can be shared
  • Virtual Museum showing the best fossils in each class
  • Research report upload site where each class can submit a summary of their own classroom writing, art, photography, etc., that will be shared among schools involved in the project

About the Waldron Shale to be used in is project:

Clark County, Indiana deposits were first exposed in 1994 at the Atkins and Sellersburg Quarries and have not been the subject of scientific research.

How to Participate

 Our goal is to select no more than six teachers in Indiana and six in Kentucky to test the lessons in the 2022 school year. We are creating and will have a professional development this summer to train the selected educators.

We are gathering names of educators for future participation. Using Indiana Academic Standards for Science and Kentucky Next Gen Standards, we are targeting the third, fourth, and seventh grades. We will expand into the high school level in the future.

Please copy and paste this information into an email. Send it to agoldstein@dnr.in.gov.

Name: ____________________________

School: ___________________________

Email address:______________________

Grade you teach: ___________________

This will fit into my lessons in:

__Fossils / History of Life

__Science application / processes


__Ecology studies