Why would a young person take a class in the summer after nine months of slaving away in the classroom? The answer is simple according to Mariah Logston, who is taking Dino Digging from Mesalands Community College.
In fact that is what all her 10 classmates say about the summer mini-camp provided by Tucumcari’s community college. “I love it,” said Barton Bone who is also taking the mini-camp. “It is a very nice camp. We get to do many different things and I think it is very interesting.” That is exactly what paleontologist and course instructor Axel Hungerbuehler is attempting to achieve with the camp being held, for the most part at Mesalands Dinosaur Museum.
“Our main interest is to make it fun, and I think we do that,” said Hungerbuehler. “I personally think it’s great fun. I just hope the kids have as much funs as I do. I like it.”
Hungerbuehler said the way he sees the mini-camp is, “two hours (9-11 a.m.) of fun.”
The paleontologist said there is work and studies in science and about dinosaurs, but “the main focus is let them have some fun.” Christine Dougherty, Mesalands’ Director of Community Education, said the program has been going on during the summer for a number of years and it is by far the most popular of all the summer programs for young people the community college put on.
Director of Mesalands Dinosaur Museum Craig Correll said he feels the popularity of the mini-camp grows out of a combination of the subject matter and the way the course is taught. “It’s learning, but it is fun too,” said Correll. “It gives them a hands-on way of learning.” This summer’s course began on Monday with a tour of the museum. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the 11 children, ranging from ages 9 to 12 assembled and painted wooden models of dinosaur skeletons. Also on Wednesday the young people watched a film about dinosaur life. On Thursday, the 11 classmates made plaster casts of fossils. On Friday, the class headed north from Tucumcari with two parents and instructors and hunted for fossils.
“It’s cool,” said Amanda Logston of Tucumcari. “It’s really fun and you learn a lot of stuff.”