Around 10,000 years ago, shortly before they were to become extinct, mastodons, large Ice-Age mammals that are distant relatives of modern elephants, roamed what is now the Aurora area, an area where the last glaciers were just melting. Seventy years ago, as a way to keep jobs from becoming extinct during the Great Depression, the Civil Works Administration was created, with one of its crews assigned to the Phillips Park Lake Excavation Project in Aurora. It was during that dig, in January of 1934, that mastodon bones were discovered in the park’s Townsend Lake, forever after known as “Mastodon Lake.”
Preliminary preparatory work, which includes ground penetrating radar and geological core samples, has already begun, but the actual excavation will begin in May, to coincide with an 11-week credit class Waubonsee is offering in the summer semester. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in an excavation of a real-life fossil,” said David Voorhees, Earth Science/Geology instructor at Waubonsee and the college’s lead instructor for the Mastodon Project. “This could be the pivotal event in students’ educational and scientific careers.”
The Todd Library contributes to this exciting project with its pictoral display complete with selected books and videos that are ready for you to check out. Come visit the library to learn more about this historical Park located at our back door!