By Andrea Clemett

The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo intends to ignite learning about prehistoric life on our planet for children in the “I Dig Fossils” workshop at the Ladera Ranch Library on Monday, July 15.

This an open house event where there will be various interactive learning and crafting stations for participants between the ages of 5 to 10.

Each station will have different lessons, allowing the participating children to pick and choose their favorites or dive into a little bit of each subject with the assistance from the staff and volunteers.

The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo will host the learning workshop for children “I Dig Fossils” at the Ladera Ranch Library on Monday, July 15. Photo: Courtesy of The Reserve
The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo will host the learning workshop for children “I Dig Fossils” at the Ladera Ranch Library on Monday, July 15. Photo: Courtesy of The Reserve

“Typically, we teach about the present day such as native California animals and plant life but this one is going back even further in our natural history,” said The Reserve Education Coordinator Bonnie McQuiston. “We examine what prehistoric animals lived here on this land, that is much different now, in order to develop an appreciation and connection to the natural world.”

Interactive stations with hands-on exploring will include tracing fossils dating back to 250 million years ago as well as some more recent from 10,000 years ago. Participants will receive an opportunity to feel real fossils such as ammonite fossils and other ocean type fossils that are found in Southern California.

Timelines will be displayed with replica fossils of saber tooth tigers and skulls will be viewable as well. From there, students can act as paleontologists at a sand station that is built to resemble a dig site to find the assorted fossils buried.

By using their small shovels and brushes, students can identify what the fossils were as living organisms before they transformed into mineral matter. They will also uncover the difference between bones and fossils in the “Fossil vs. Not a Fossil” activity.

McQuiston said those students who fancy the prehistoric ocean will be able to dig out their own shark tooth fossil while looking at the different shark species’ fossils ranging from the Megalodon to Great Whites.

Another station will let students create shapes similar to rocks made from salted dough and embed different types of shells to resemble fossils on the oceans floors.

McQuiston said she encourages kids to grab a book to read about dinosaurs, fossils and ancient life after they attend.

While general admission is free, participants are required to register for the event through The Reserve’s website. The event is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. at Ladera Ranch Library. For more information call 949.234.5940.

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