Mastadon Excavation

UPDATE: On November 20th our Former Executive Director, Kyle Middleton, went down to the Natural History Museum at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus  to check on our mastodon "Jack" and to tour the paleontology department. Click photo gallery for pictures from the day.

On October 8th, 9th, 15th, & 16th over 1,400 people visited the excavation site.
The Fowler Center was thrilled to have the opportunity to share this with all of you. 

Above: some of the first bones found on 10/8/16
Above: Some of our Tuscola County teachers who worked alongside the University of Michigan to uncover the bones.
Above: Kyle Middleton (left), Former Executive Director of The Fowler Center and Dr. Daniel Fisher (right), Director of UofM Museum of Paleontology
"A big part of the Fowler Center's mission is to enhance personal growth through outdoor adventures that provide an opportunity for learning by doing. And that's exactly what this partnership with local teachers and
UofM researchers is all about, the idea is that the teachers will use this experience to enrich their teaching and to share the excitement of discovery with their students."
- Kyle Middleton, Former Executive Director of The Fowler Center
"It's our hope that these teachers will gain a deeper understanding of how science operates and how our knowledge of the natural world grows,"
-Dan Fisher, professor of Paleontology & Director of Museum of Paleontology University of Michigan

How it all started...

the dig...

In the fall of 2014 students of The Fowler Center's Alternative Learning Program were exploring nature around camp and stumbled upon some very large bones. After a little research and making contact with Dan Fisher from the University of Michigan it became clear what they were....MASTODON BONES! After the initial contact, Dan Fisher generously came out to meet with the teachers and students who found the bones, teach them a little about the natural history of mastodons, and explore the site. 
The natural process of erosion on the camp's property has exposed the bones of a mastodon (relative of the elephant) that lived in this area about 11,000 to 13,000 years ago. The University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology, with support from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, will join with The Fowler Center to conduct a controlled excavation of these remains. At least 10 local science teachers will be chosen (from those who applied) to help with the dig. This is an unparalleled opportunity to share in the recovery of fossil material and interact with scientist and educators committed to deepening our understanding of the history of life and the history of human interaction with the natural world around us. 

News Article Links.....


Above bottom row: Darrin Ide & Frank Franzell of Mayville

A BIG and heartfelt thank you to those who volunteered, donated, and helped us
"make it all happen"!
  • Dr. Daniel Fisher (Director, UofM museum of paleontology) & family
  • UofM undergrad and graduate students
  • AIS Equipment (Bridgeport, MI) - for letting us demo the John Deer 180 Excavator
  • Ken Rabideau (AIS Equipment) 
  • Darrin IDE (Ide's Carwash) - equipment operator
  • Terry Johnson (Johnson's Excavating) - hauled excavator to the site
  • Frank Franzell
  • Mayville Lion's Club
  • Mayville Area Museum of History & Geneology
  • Brentwood Graphics (Caro)
  • Fowler Center Staff and Volunteers