Photograph of two people on a beach.

Virtual Fieldwork

Contents

Virtual Fieldwork (associated pages)

  1. Virtual Fieldwork Experience Database
  2. Tools and Suggestions for Creating VFEs

Virtual Fieldwork (within this page)

  • Why Does this Place Look the Way it Does?
  • Why Virtual Fieldwork?
  • Big Ideas in Virtual Earth Science Fieldwork
  • Fieldwork vs. Field Trips
  • Using Virtual Fieldwork Experiences in the Classroom
  • Complexify
  • Learning Objectives
  • Virtual Fieldwork and the NGSS
    • Transforming K-12 Science Education
    • Incorporate CCs and SEPs into Assignments Regularly
  • Using VFEs to Foster Rich Discussion
  • If Your Curriculum Materials are Always (or Usually) Perfectly Polished, You're Misrepresenting Science
  • Preview the VFE and Consider What You Will Focus Upon
  • Questions to Guide Field Inquiry
  • Productive Field Inquiry Raises New Questions
  • Consider the Most Important Takeaways
  • Using Virtual Fieldwork as a Catalyst for Actual Fieldwork
  • How are Teachers Using Virtual Fieldwork?
  • Additional Resources
  • Credits

Why Does this Place Look the Way it Does?

Fieldwork, the study of a site through firsthand observation, is fundamental to how we have come to understand our environment and the Earth and its processes. Our work in the field—whether virtual or actual—is driven by the overarching question, “Why does this place look the way it does?” That’s a question that can be asked and investigated productively across a wide range of scales. Supporting questions can structure its investigation.

This page is a gateway to PRI's Virtual Fieldwork Program. While computer-based simulations of field sites have not managed to replicate the multi-sensory immersive experience of being in the field, Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs) can offer opportunities to explore sites that are not practical to travel to in person. They can further serve to enhance actual fieldwork by allowing quick observation across a wide range of scales. Authoring VFEs also offers the opportunity to teach others about your local environment or other field sites that you have visited.

Below we provide information about VFEs and the big questions that they can be used to address in the classroom. Use the buttons immediately below to explore our database of VFEs (including those that we have developed, as well as those developed by others) and tools and suggestions for creating your own VFE.


VFE Database

Tools for Creating VFEs

Why Virtual Fieldwork?

Virtual fieldwork is not intended to replace actual fieldwork, but to prepare for, catalyze and extend it. Creating a series of VFEs from around the country will result in a rich curriculum resource, but that is not the only reason to create them. The act of VFE creation, for example, is valuable professional development that creates useful evidence of having done the PD. Through the creation and continued use of virtual fieldwork, a teacher can become a true expert on his or her local environment—perhaps the preeminent expert.

Students can use field sites, whether real or virtual, to study how all the major topics in their Earth or environmental science curriculum are manifest in the “real world.” In an ideal situation, the classroom is immediately adjacent to a safe, accessible field site and there is flexibility within the school schedule that allows for in-depth study of the site in ways that cross disciplinary boundaries. Unfortunately, it’s not always practical to visit an actual field site with 30 students repeatedly throughout the year or semester. Through virtual fieldwork, students can come to see how the rock type, flora and fauna outside their classroom tell part of the story of that place.

In order to create VFEs, authors must closely study their field sites with an eye toward doing fieldwork with students. VFEs are a stepping-stone to bringing students into the field, even if the field is “only” the schoolyard. VFEs can be used to prepare students for the field and/or process fieldwork after visiting the actual site. In the ideal situation, students will participate in the creation and extension of VFEs, but we recognize that getting to this point may take years.

Big Ideas in Virtual Earth Science Fieldwork

The ultimate goal of instruction is to build understanding of the Earth system and the ways in which science is used to build that understanding. We bring focus through the use of a small set of bigger ideas and overarching questions. Virtual fieldwork is a context for revisiting the same Earth system case study repeated from different perspectives, and addressing each of the Earth System Science “Big Ideas.”

Overarching Questions:

  • How do we know what we know?
  • How does what we know inform our decision making?

Earth System Science Bigger Ideas:

  • The Earth is a system of systems
  • The flow of energy drives the cycling of matter.
  • Life, including human life, influences and is influenced by the environment.
  • Physical and chemical principles are unchanging and drive both gradual and rapid changes in the Earth system.
  • To understand (deep) time and the scale of space, models and maps are necessary.

Virtual Fieldwork should be designed to provide the opportunity to explore, describe and build understanding of these questions and ideas, which are further developed in the Earth@Home Digital Encyclopedia chapter "Earth System Science: The Big Ideas" and presented shared in the Prezi presentation below.


"Bigger Ideas in Earth System Science" Prezi presentation by Dr. Don Haas (Prezi).

Fieldwork vs. Field Trips

We draw attention to the distinction between fieldwork and field trips. We strive to engage learners in figuring things out, while field trips—whether actual or virtual—are too often characterized by trip leaders pointing things out. Building in the opportunity for genuine discovery is challenging but promises to yield longer-term engagement and understanding. Of course, VFEs also allow some kind of “fieldwork” experience when actual fieldwork is difficult or impossible to carry out. The reasons that actual fieldwork is difficult are fairly obvious:

  • Fieldwork is logistically challenging. It’s hard to fit into a typical class period, or even a double lab period. To go off site requires permission slips, bussing and figuring out how to deal with behavior outside the normal classroom setting.
  • It’s even more challenging during the time of COVID-19: Most field trips, both K-12 and undergraduate level trips, have been canceled, leaving only online options.
  • It costs money. Field trip budgets have been slashed, and weren’t very common at the secondary level before budget cuts.
  • Many teachers have only limited experience doing field science themselves. High school Earth science has more teachers teaching out of field than any other science discipline, and fieldwork is not a component of all Earth science teacher certification programs. It is intimidating to lead fieldwork if you haven’t been through it yourself.
  • Fieldwork poses safety and behavior concerns different from those in the classroom. Falling off a cliff has different consequences than falling off a chair. These issues shouldn’t preclude fieldwork, but they undeniably complicate it

Using Virtual Fieldwork Experiences in the Classroom

In many field trip settings, whether virtual field trips, or at actual field sites, teachers or field trip leaders point things out. That can be interesting, educational, and fun, but the learning is likely to be more durable if the learner figures things out. Ideally, in working together, teachers will act as collaborators with students, and will work to figure things out together.

We also hope that sharing strategies for teaching and learning with the learners, as we are promoting here, will help learners to be more metacognitive. Metacognitive learners are learners who actively learn how they learn, and work to manage and improve their learning processes.

A fundamental goal of learning in the geosciences is to be able to answer the question, “Why does this place look the way it does?” where “this place” is wherever you happened to be, or whatever location you happen to be studying. The question leads to a sort of “who done it?”—a mystery, or set of interlocking mysteries, to be solved. Unearthing these mysteries is rarely a simple task. A landscape is always the result of the interplay of many different processes, often over very long periods of time. There is never, or almost never, one single process that explains why a particular landscape is the way that it is.

Nearly every unit in an Earth or environmental science course, and most of the units in a biology course, play out in some meaningful way in most environments, including the one outside your classroom door. The table below lists units in typical Earth science and biology curricula. Look through the list and consider how each unit influences the landscape where you live and the landscape or landscapes you will explore through virtual fieldwork.

Units in a Typical Earth Science CourseUnits in a Typical Biology Course
Introduction: Size, shape, and composition of EarthIntroduction: Unity and diversity among living things
MappingMaintenance in living things
Rocks and mineralsHuman physiology
Weathering, erosion, deposition, and landformsReproduction and development
Earthquakes and plate tectonicsTransmission of traits from generation to generation
Earth history & paleontologyEvolution (note: evolution is both a crosscutting theme and a unit)
Meteorology and climateEcology
Astronomy

It’s all there—each and every one of these curriculum units is happening outside your classroom door, outside the door of your home, and wherever your field site happens to be. Fieldwork, whether real or virtual, can be used to deepen understandings for any and all of these topics. (Note: Human physiology is a bit different than the rest of the units as it focuses on a single species.)

While it is all there, there is also ambiguity. Doing fieldwork, whether virtual or actual, has substantial important differences from doing traditional schoolwork. We think that's a good thing. Reading the lay of the land, answering the question of why a place looks the way it does is complex work that both develops and requires the understandings of content from multiple disciplines and—at least as importantly—understanding the meaning of the connections amongst those disciplinary ideas. In other words, doing fieldwork is more like doing life than it is like doing schoolwork.


Complexify

Much of what we do in school simplifies the seemingly complex. That is important to do much of the time, but it is also important to complexify the seemingly simple—to dig into the complex nature of how our world works. Fieldwork, whether real or virtual, provides excellent opportunities for studying the interplay of different Earth systems and processes. As you explore your field site, consider the connections amongst the processes of life, rock formation, and the nature of weather and climate. Then consider connections to other areas of science, and to disciplines beyond science.


Learning Objectives

There are a large range of possible learning objectives that can be satisfied through VFEs. Ultimately, we hope learners satisfy more sophisticated objectives that are higher on Bloom's Taxonomy. While we will share some objectives that might be addressed or satisfied in working with content of this site, we also recognize (and welcome the idea) that educators and learners will choose or develop their own objectives for their use of the site. In choosing to do that, they will be more metacognitive than those who simply follow whatever suggestions we happen to make.

High level objectives that we hope users aspire to include:

  1. Interpret the environment represented within the VFE you are investigating, including descriptions of why the landscape looks the way it does, and how it has changed over time.
  2. Create a VFE representing your local environment or a field site you have visited and present it to interested others.

These objectives do lack specificity in terms of the level of detail for explanations and the scale of the VFE to be created. Educators might determine this before working with their students, or educators and students might work together to negotiate the scale of the explanations and models. Applying analogical reasoning to the interpretation of environments is an important skill used in field science and maybe a component of an objective.

The "interested others" mentioned in the second objective could be community members, or other classes. Inexpensive video conferencing allows the interested others to be a great distance away. We suggest connecting classrooms across the country, and can help facilitate that.

The sections on The Next Generation Science Standards below also addresses objectives.

Virtual Fieldwork and Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are "rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education." The NGSS presents science as "three-dimensional," where the three dimensions are "Scientific and Engineering Practices," "Crosscutting Concepts," and, "Disciplinary Core Ideas." These are shown in the table below.

This webpage assumes basic familiarity with NGSS. "The Teacher-Friendly Guides, Virtual Fieldwork, and the NGSS's Three-Dimensional Science," the appendix of The Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Earth Science of the United States, gives a general overview of how fieldwork, whether real or virtual, can be used in NGSS-informed instruction. It also can serve as an introduction to the NGSS. For teacher-written descriptions of the kinds of conceptual shifts that the NGSS requires, see the Shifts page of the Practices Resources in Science and Math (PRISM) website. The site also includes video cases of NGSS-based teaching.

Virtual and actual fieldwork are well suited to teaching three-dimensional science in ways that resonates with NGSS. Here's an extended excerpt from the appendix mentioned above.


Deep understandings of why your local environment looks the way it does requires understanding the local environment from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and understanding the connections amongst these different disciplinary ideas. That is, to understand your local environment, a systems perspective is needed. Scientifically accurate meaningful understanding can and does come out of single lessons, single units, and single courses, but these understandings become richer, deeper, and more durable if they are connected across courses. The NGSS vision includes recognition that building a deep understanding of big ideas is both very important and a process that takes years of coordinated effort. Fortunately, the many processes that shape the local environment are part and parcel of existing curricula, and especially for Earth science, biology, and environmental science courses, nearly every unit has central aspects that play out on a human scale just outside the school door. A coordinated approach to the study of the local environment across units within a single course and across grade levels and courses can be a fairly subtle change in each teacher’s daily routines, but it has the potential for big returns in terms of the depth of student understanding. This deeper understanding pertains not only to the local environment and the way course topics are represented within it, but also to systems more generally, to the nature and importance of scale, and to much, much more.


Transforming K-12 Science Education

The above excerpt, and the document it draws from are focused broadly. They do not focus on particular Performance Expectations, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts or Science and Engineering Practices but on the big picture vision of the NGSS, and on a systems- and research-based approach to effective science teaching. Considering how a particular teaching approach satisfies specific standards is important, but it is fairly easy to lose sight of larger goals and begin to treat those individual aspects of the Standards as a checklist. The larger goals include transforming K-12 science education so that high school graduates are prepared for the duties of citizenship, further education, and the workforce.

Under the heading, "All Scientific and Engineering Practices and all Crosscutting Concepts in all courses," Appendix K of NGSS notes, “The goal is not to teach the PEs, but rather to prepare students to be able to perform them by the end of the grade band course sequence.” To help keep focus on these larger goals, we suggest hanging posters of the NGSS's Crosscutting Concepts, Science and Engineering Practices and Disciplinary Core Ideas on your classroom walls and referring to them regularly. The University of Illinois' Project Neuron makes pdfs of such posters available here.


Incorporate the Crosscutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices into Assignments Regularly

One simple way to do that is to make questions about them a part of standard lab reports. This five-question lab summary offers an example of how to do that with a few straightforward questions. It includes a simple rubric, and is in Microsoft Word format so that it can be easily edited to suit teacher needs.

Of course, the Performance Expectations were developed for a reason. They, along with Evidence Statements (and other resources), give guidance on what NGSS-aligned instruction looks like. For example, consider Evidence Statement MS-ESS2-2, Earth Systems: "Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales" (Performance Expectations for MS-ESS2 are here).

The kind of science described in this Evidence Statement can be well addressed by engaging in actual fieldwork exploring and describing the environment either outside your classroom door or through virtual fieldwork. And, this holds true for many, if not most, of the Performance Expectations within the NGSS.

If looking at the level of Performance Expectation seems daunting, relax. Go back and look at the big picture ideas expressed within the Crosscutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices and consider how these are applied to the study of the environment. All of the guidance provided here is intended to support teaching that satisfies the NGSS, even if, or maybe especially if it is not focused on specific Performance Expectations.

Using VFEs to Foster Rich Discussion

We found the Ambitious Science Teaching Project's Discourse Primer for Science Teachers four high-level goals for talk resonate with our goals for the kind of conversations that VFEs should foster. These goals are shown below.


    • Eliciting students’ initial scientific hypotheses in order to plan for further instruction. The goal of this discourse is to draw out students’ understandings of a phenomenon (e.g. a bicycle rusting in the backyard) that is related to an important scientific idea (in this case chemical change or conservation of mass). After the lesson we analyze students’ ways of talking about it in order to adapt upcoming learning experiences.
    • Making sense of data/information. The goal here is to help students recognize patterns in data, critique the quality of data, and to propose why these patterns exist. What, for example, is going on at the unobservable level that explains our observations?
    • Connecting activities with big scientific ideas. The goal of this practice is to combine data-collection activities with readings and conversation in order to advance students’ understanding of a broader natural phenomenon. This conversation is different from the previous one, in that students are not trying to explain the outcome of an activity, but to relate the activity to a bigger science idea or puzzle that the unit is framed around.
    • Pressing students for evidence-based explanations. This discourse is designed to happen near the end of a unit, but elements of this conversation can also happen any time the teacher is trying to get students to talk about evidence. The goal of this discourse is to assist students in using multiple forms of evidence, gathered during a unit, to construct comprehensive explanations for a phenomenon that has been the focus of the unit.

From: A Discourse Primer for Science Teachers (p. 7). Available here.


Consider these goals as you explore and investigate your field sites—both the virtual ones represented here, and any site local to your home or school. While they are labeled here as goals for talk, they reflect goals for the kind of thinking teachers, students, and other learners should engage in as they deepen their understandings of scientific ideas.

As you explore our VFEs, you may wish for more explanations of some of the underlying science. There are a number of reasons for that, but paramount among them is, "Explanation kills wonder," as Paul Anderson notes in his discussions of the NGSS. Unsurprisingly, that's difficult and perhaps inappropriate to explain, but it does support the fostering of rich discussion. This does not mean that explanation is never appropriate, but as teachers, we often explain too much, or give explanation before learners are ready to take them in. If we let learners wonder longer than we typically do, when they seek out explanations, the understandings are likely to be more durable.

If Your Curriculum Materials are Always (or Usually) Perfectly Polished, You're Misrepresenting Science

You are. Science, like life and the world more broadly, is rarely something that points to one simple clear explanation, at least for things that really matter in the world. Science is messy business. Too often, school curriculum leads learners to a clear and straightforward answer. That isn't unreasonable for simple matters, but for things that are really interesting, for things that really matter, it's a problem.

Science is often confusing, and if students aren't confused at least some of the time, they probably aren't learning the science in a deep and meaningful way. The explorations presented here probably tell too much for students to walk away with deep understandings, but building understandings of the specific sites shown here is not the only purpose of the content on these webpages.

As you explore these virtual field sites, consider how the nature of these sites compares to your local environment. As you work through these resources designed to help you understand the environment in these places, consider how you can make a Virtual Fieldwork Experience of a place near where you live that others could use to learn about your environment. Then make a VFE to share what you have learned—or, make one to both share what you have learned and to process what you have learned. Why does your place look the way it does?

Preview the VFE and Consider What You Will Focus Upon

Given that most or all of the units within a course play out in nearly every terrestrial environment, fieldwork, whether real or virtual, can be a part of instruction in any unit. We suggest that you give attention to fieldwork in multiple units throughout your course, and draw comparisons between your local environment and the environments you visit virtually. Use fieldwork at the beginning of a course to establish the purpose of your investigations; interweave fieldwork throughout the course to highlight topics within each unit; and use fieldwork as a capstone to tie the course content together. Fieldwork may be used for any or all of these purposes, and it may make sense to choose one initial focus, especially if you have not led students in fieldwork previously. Remember that field scientists may visit the sites they research hundreds of times over their careers and continue to deepen their understandings with each visit.

Most VFEs that we’ve developed are customizable to teacher and student needs. Google Earth or Prezi files can be edited to allow focus on a particular feature in the landscape, or students may be directed to focus on specific topic. Generally, they also allow topics and questions to be investigated at different depths.

Questions to Guide Field Inquiry

"Why does this place look the way it does?" is the driving question for our work and we've developed series of questions and prompts that support the driving question. One series focuses upon the rock at a site and the stories that can be read in the rock. Another set of questions focuses on the underlying geoscience, and a third addresses environmental science and ecology. All of them are framed so that they can be productively investigated at any site.



Several additional questions are relevant to all of those listed above:

  • How do you know? What evidence is there?
  • What does it tell you about past environments?
  • What does it imply about the future?

Productive Field Inquiry Raises New Questions

Virtual fieldwork offers the opportunity to explore an area without leaving the classroom, and it allows multiple “visits” to a site. “Why does this place look the way it does?” is a bottomless question, meaning that it can be productively investigated for a very, very long time. Field scientists, be they professionals or fifth graders, will never fully answer this driving question absolutely or at every scale. Many of the supporting questions also have a bottomless quality.

These big questions can be used to drive discussion and investigation, and they can be used in graded assignments. The teacher can define the level of detail students are expected to use in graded work. Many of these questions can serve as catalysts for research papers or projects, but they can also be meaningfully answered in a concise paragraph.

Most VFEs are built around sets of imagery, some of which is interactive. Consider what you see as a dataset—or at least as a set of data, as "dataset" often refers to specific kinds of computer files. A photograph can contain a tremendous amount of data and also help to place other data into context, especially if the photograph is of very high resolution.


An interactive panorama at California's Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. Note the tree that has a metal band around it and hoses running up its trunk. It is one of the most heavily instrumented trees in the world. Instrumentation in and around this "CZ Tree" measure chemical and physical characteristics of the tree and its roots, and the surrounding air and soil. It is an important part of the Critical Zone Observatory program in which interdisciplinary teams of scientists work to understand the interplay of rock, water, soil, air, and life. Street View Panorama by Don Haas.


Consider and discuss what kinds of data can be included in a photograph taken in the field, and discuss how photographs can help provide context for other kinds of data. What can be interpreted about the nature of a place by interpreting photographs of that place? What kinds of information are easy to capture with a photograph? What kinds of data are more challenging to capture this way? As you look at different VFEs, ask yourself, "What do I wish the authors had taken pictures of?" And, "How could the photographs better capture aspects of the site, to help us understand why the place looks the way it does?" Use these questions to help you think about what to do when you create a VFE of your own.

Instruments can extend and sharpen our senses. Your sense of sight, of course, is not the only sense used in interpreting a field site. See The Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Earth Science of the United States' chapter, "Real & Virtual Fieldwork" for more on using instruments to extend the senses.

Consider the Most Important Takeaways

From field investigation, you can learn a lot about the story of a place—how a landscape came to be the way that it is. This is, of course, deepened by other kinds of research, both in the lab and in the library. We do think learning the story of a place is important, but for most learners, the details of how plate tectonics and climate shaped a particular environment are not the most important understandings, or the understandings that we hope will prove most durable.

By durable understandings, we mean big ideas that the learner will remember and understand for years after instruction. We have carefully crafted a set of Earth Science Bigger Ideas and Overarching Questions and we hope students and teachers will revisit them and consider their connections to their investigations. As described above, the Overarching Questions, "How do we know what we know?" and, "How does what we know inform our decision making?" are as important as the Bigger Ideas themselves.

Engaging in fieldwork (and the research in the lab and library to support that fieldwork) helps us to understand how scientific stories are unearthed. To understand how scientific stories are unearthed is at least as important as understanding those scientific stories themselves.

Whether the fieldwork is actual or virtual, it can (and we think should) be used to highlight two key ideas:

  • There are questions that can be productively asked and investigated about any site.
  • Investigating a landscape is an exercise in Earth systems science—no landscape is the product of a single process.

Further, virtual fieldwork is a user-friendly way of documenting, analyzing and sharing lessons learned from doing actual fieldwork.

These overarching ideas are likely more important than specific lessons about a particular site. Connected ideas include that understanding the connections between and among different Earth processes are as important as understanding the processes themselves, that scientists work develop durable understandings of the answers to these questions, and that students can engage in these questions as professionals and in service to meeting their obligations as informed citizens.

Using Virtual Fieldwork as a Catalyst for Actual Fieldwork

The VFEs we have created help tell the stories of the places they represent. While they can, to some degree, stand in the place of actual fieldwork, that is not their primary intention. When you visit a Virtual Fieldwork environment, consider how the place you are studying compares with your local environment and other environments you have studied. How are the environments similar and how do they differ? Consider too how you can make a VFE of your local environment that you can share with others to teach them about where" you live (or the field sites you visit). Ideally, engaging in Virtual Fieldwork leads to doing actual fieldwork.

How are Teachers Using Virtual Fieldwork?

VFEs might be used as a single, in-class exercise, or they can be explored across an entire year. We hope that teachers who use and develop VFEs will eventually use them across the entire curriculum, but it makes sense to start smaller. There is no one correct approach to using VFEs in the classroom. Here are some examples of ways teachers are using virtual fieldwork:

  • Students in a rural community are using Google Earth to create Powers of Ten tours centered on their homes (based on Eames classic film). This helps students to internalize the abstraction that is central to making maps and to build deeper understandings of scale.
  • Students are making geologic maps of the local bedrock.
  • Students are making an interpretive guide for a county forest.
  • Students are exploring lakes, dams, streams, outcrops, quarries, waterfalls, and more

Credits

Most of the contents of this page are derived from various sources developed over the past two decades by Don Haas and Robert Ross and their colleagues at the Paleontological Research Institution.

Logo of the National Science Foundation.This work has been and is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, including the following:

  • Improving Earth Science Education through Teacher Development in Regional Geology; NSF TPC-0455833, 2004–2006; $144,000. PIs Ross and Duggan-Haas.

  • Enhanced Earth system teaching through ReaL Earth Inquiry; NSF DRL-0733303, 2007–2015; $1,763,588. PIs Ross and Duggan-Haas.

Broader impacts portions of grants for:

  • Development of a Critical Zone Observatory National Office; NSF EAR-1360760,  2014–2020.

  • Digitization TCN: Collaborative: Documenting Fossil Marine Invertebrate Communities of the Eastern Pacific: Faunal Responses to Environmental Change over the last 66 million years; NSF DBI-1502500, DBI-1503065, DBI-1503545, DBI-1503611 (PRI), DBI-1503613, DBI-1503628 and DBI-1503678 (UCMP Berkeley); 2015–2020.

  • Collaborative Research: Mass Extinction Ecological Response and Recovery in the Cretaceous/Paleogene Gulf Coastal Plain; NSF EAR-1925586, 2019–2022.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

We are also grateful for long and ongoing collaborative work on VFEs with our colleagues, particularly Lisa White (Museum of Paleontology, UC Berkeley) and Frank Granshaw (Portland State University), and for the feedback and insights of dozens of teachers and project advisors.

This page was last updated August 22, 2020.

Image above: Fieldwork at Oregon's Beverly Beach State Park, February 2020. The associated VFE is currently in development for the EPICC Project. Photograph by Don Haas for the PRI Earth@Home project (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license).