It turns out that I came away from Chazy Reef with much more material than I had even hoped for. So, for today I’d like to focus on the Goodsell Preserve. Part 3 will wrap up with a focus on the Fisk Quarry Preserve. These two preserves comprise the land protected by the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust (ILMPT), an organization founded by local citizens in 1998. And, thanks to their efforts, in 2009 the Chazy Fossil Reef was awarded the designation of National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
Fresh mown paths met us at Goodsell, allowing for an easy, relaxing walk through lush fields. The breeze off Lake Champlain and a warm early Summer sun made it ideal timing for our visit. The 81 acres are interlaced with paths connecting various reef mounds.
And it’s these mounds that contain some of the oldest fossils I have ever seen. Ordovician Period fossils such as gastropods, bryozoa, crinoids, cephalopods, etal. are present, sometimes only as faint outlines. No matter that they might sometimes be faint, given their age (approximately 450 million years old).
The Visitors Center on site is a converted and restored farmhouse (see last week’s blog for image). It contains, among other things, an instructive video about the two sites, and a collection of local fossils. The next five images are from that collection.
I should take a moment to stress, as I often do, that I am an artist and not a scientist. While I try my best to accurately identify that which I photograph, and I try my best to get good identification from those who know, I recognize that I often fall short where proper identification is concerned. So anyone out there who knows such things is most welcome to comment on any of the images. These next three are fine examples. Stromatoporoids? Algae? Sponges? Or just cool marbleized rock? Either way, the patterns are compelling.
I’ll leave you with one final image for this segment – the old barn at Goodsell, right behind the Visitors Center. The hope, according to Ms Fitch, founder and president of the Trust, is that it become an education center. Like everything else, that will take support. This is a national treasure, saved and protected by ordinary citizens, and united by common goal. They would love your support. Visit if Summer vacation brings you anywhere near. You will be glad you did.
Next week I’ll be writing about current news surrounding Gilboa and the world’s oldest forest. Then the following week back to the world’s oldest fossil reef in Part 3 – the Fisk Quarry Preserve.
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