Tooele County is the best place on earth to study the earth, according to Genevieve Atwood, former director of the Utah Geological Survey.
Atwood is launching a fall series of workshops designed to familiarize people with what she refers to as the “spectacular earth science” of Tooele County.
“Tooele is the best place to study geology in Utah,” Atwood said. “That means it’s one of the best places in the West and in the country.”
Originally designed to help classroom teachers earn credit for recertification while learning about the earth science around them, Atwood opened up her workshops in 2016 to the general public.
“It was a wonderful thing, to open up the workshops to everyone,” she said. “A lot of people participated and it was great.”
Atwood described Tooele County as the “land of subtle,” because it is replete with signs of complex geology, the evolution of the continent, and past climate change.
Using the outdoors of Tooele County as the classroom, Atwood’s workshops focus on topics like tectonics, past climate change, minerals, fossils, and mountain ranges.
The workshops move around to different locations in the county as Atwood uses the real geology of the county as a teaching tool.
The workshops are valuable to non-traditional teachers like youth group leaders and Scout leaders, or for people who just want to know more about the earth that surrounds them, according to Atwood.
Previous study of geology is not required for the workshops, she said. Teachers can receive credit towards recertification by attending the workshops.
The first workshop will be held at the Tooele County School District headquarters, 92 S. Lodestone Way in Tooele on Oct. 3.
The first session will cover patterns of topography and sense of direction.
“If you can see patterns, you can appreciate the spectacular earth science of Tooele County,” Atwood said.
Other workshops will be held Oct. 4,10,11,17,18 and 25.
The workshops are from 5 p.m. until 7:15 p.m.
People can attend as many of the workshops as they want. Each workshop will cover different subjects, Atwood said.
Workshop locations include the Tooele Valley Airport where participants will see evidence of tectonics. On Stansbury Island participants will explore evaporation and mineral extraction while learning about rocks. Before Halloween the workshop will be held in the Tooele City Cemetery where participants will observe patterns of headstones, their placement and their minerals.
“We aren’t going to be sitting in a classroom,” Atwood said. “Things may change according to the weather. This is about fun science outside.”
Workshop locations and subjects can be found at www.earthscienceeducation.org for workshop locations and subjects.
Earth Science Education is a nonprofit organization. The fall workshops are conducted in conjunction with the Tooele County School District and supported in part by U.S. Magnesium, according to Atwood.