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Science & NatureMetcalfe Geoheritage Park opens September 24

Metcalfe Geoheritage Park opens September 24

The official opening of Canada’s first municipal geoheritage park will take place on Saturday, September 24th, at 1:00 p.m., at the bottom of Bay Hill in Almonte.  Bring a friend, invite a neighbour.

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Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, 250 Almonte Street

Opening Event

– 12:30 pm arrival of guests and public, site visit

– 1:00 pm remarks and ribbon cutting ceremony

– 1:30 pm walk about

Refreshments will be served.  Special remarks by:

– Shaun McLaughlin, Mayor, Municipality of Mississippi Mills;

– Paul Virgin, President, Mississippi River Power Corp.;

– Dr. Al Donaldson, Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage Project;

– Dr. Greg Brooks, Geological Survey of Canada + Canadian Geological Foundation;

– Lesley Hymers, Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences.

R.S.V.P.  –  Neil Carleton  –  613-256-2018  –  ve3nce@gmail.com

Metcalfe Geoheritage Park was made possible by the support of the Mississippi River Power Corp., the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, the Canadian Geological Foundation, and the Metcalfe Geoheritage Park Committee.

Metcalfe Geoheritage Park

Metcalfe Geoheritage Park was named in honour of Dr. Archibald Metcalfe (1869-1962), local physician for 63 years, town councilor and Mayor (at least 7 terms), and the driving force to establish the Almonte hydro electric generating station.

Much has been accomplished in the past year.

– specimens relocated

– wheelchair accessible walkway completed

– benches installed

– landscaping finished

– parking lot paved

– site sign installed

– colour brochure produced as a guide to the specimens on permanent display

– black and white leaflet printed for the guest rocks

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site preparation
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specimen relocation
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site sign installation, photo courtesy of Richard Knobbs, Fontasy Sign & Display Inc.

The riverside site at the bottom of the lower falls includes picnic tables, mature trees, a public landing, and a dock.  It’s a popular destination for residents and visitors alike for picnics, wedding photos, strolling, fishing, kayaking and canoeing.

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Pick up a site brochure and a guest rocks leaflet when you visit.

The site guide and guest rocks leaflet are available to take home as a souvenir, to study further, to pass along to friends and neighbours, and as an invitation for a follow-up visit.  The brochure holders need to be replenished several times during the week, and each day of the weekend.

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A municipally hosted website is in progress for Metcalfe Geoheritage Park at this link:

http://exploremississippimills.ca/travel-directory/metcalfe-geoheritage-park/

Under construction on our website is a:

– a home page;

– the history of Metcalfe Geoheritage Park;

– a glossary of words used on the site sign, brochure, and leaflet;

– a listing of geological maps of the area and ordering details;

– information on the Ottawa-Gatineau Geoscape Poster;

– links to other geosites and organizations;

– reading suggestions; and

– contact details.

QR Code System

Also in progress is a QR code system that will digitally link visitors at the Park with pictures, audio, video, and text about the site and display specimens through their mobile devices.  For many people a QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a familiar symbol.

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A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode, a machine-readable optical label.

QR codes are used around the globe at museums, galleries, monuments, conservation areas, and world heritage sites.  When a visitor scans a QR code sign with a mobile device, such as a camera phone, the decoding software interprets the code and opens an internet website.  On the screen with pictures, audio, video, and text is all the information that a guide could provide, and more.  The link can be saved too so the website pages are available again for viewing at home or in the classroom.

Mobile devices are the norm and part of daily life today.  80% of internet users own a smartphone (2016 data).  Smartphone ownership is especially high among younger people.

With the installation of a QR code system at Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, a collection of digital presentations about the site and display specimens will be available anytime to visitors.  Updates and additions can be made as needed.

The website photos, graphics, audio, video, and text will be available to a lunchtime visitor, a family on the weekend, or an afternoon class visit during the week.  Multiple presentations at different places in the Park can be taking place at the same time.  Should an unexpected shower disrupt the presentation, or if time constraints prevent a complete tour of the Park, the link to each specimen can be saved so the website presentations will be available again for viewing at home, or for further study back in the classroom.

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The colour brochure was designed as a site guide and simple introduction to the specimens on permanent display.  To fit everything in, each entry was limited to a thumbnail photo and a description of no more than 160 characters, including spaces.  A QR code system of specimen signage will allow us to tell their detailed stories with website photos, graphics, video, and additional text.

Volunteers of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO) from Hamilton, Manotick, Ottawa, and Pembroke are helping with our project.  They visited Metcalfe Geoheritage Park in August, adopted all the display specimens, and are now preparing the content of our QR code web pages.

1  Specimen descriptions with ‘look fors’ that will help visitors see the features that allow geoscientists to unravel Earth’s remarkable history.

2  Photos that highlight specific features.

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Look for fossils, like this cone-shaped orthocone cephalopod from the Orodovician Period, about 450 million years ago.

3  Explanations of the unique environments and geological processes that created each rock.  Our local geoheritage includes colliding continents and towering peaks (Grenville Mountains of the Precambrian), changing sea levels (Ordovician), and a landscape that was locked in ice.

4  Videos about the Earth and how it works.

photo-125  Links to geoscience information sites.

6  Additional interpretation with graphics and photos from other sources.

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During the Ordovician Period, about 450 million years ago, our part of the world was close to the equator and covered by tropical seas that were rich with marine life.  Look for their fossil remains in our display rocks – corals, brachiopods, crinoids, gastropods, bryozoa, cephalopods.

APGO volunteers Roy Bassoo, Julie and Etienne Lantos, Claire Milloy, and Asia Reid  are generously donating their time and expertise to help us with the QR code project.

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Roy Bassoo
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Julie and Etienne Lantos
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Asia Reid
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Library Display

To help celebrate the opening of Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, the Eastern Ontario Natural-History Society (EONS) http://www.flora.org/paleo/main.html has prepared a display of fossils at the Almonte branch of the Mississippi Mills Library.  This exhibition is available for viewing until Monday, September 26th.

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