‘Uranium Mania’ film part of events during Earth Science Week



Earth Science Week events are open to the public and free with venue admission. Hikes are weather-permitting. For details, visit museumofwesternco.com.

■ 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday: Meet local amphibians and reptiles of Crocodile Reef at Dinosaur Journey in Fruita.

■ 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday: Learn about the monoliths of Colorado National Monument with a ranger at Independent Monument Overlook.

■ 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday: Take a guided hike and learn about fossils on the Trail Through Time at Rabbit Valley. Additionally, Dinosaur Journey will offer “buy one, get one free” adult admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

■ 6 p.m. Thursday: Attend a special sneak preview of Rocky Mountain PBS’ Uranium Mania documentary at the Museum of the West and Whitman Educational Center.

■ 9 a.m. to noon Friday: Take a guided hike to learn about Bangs Canyon minerals, starting at Mica Mine Trailhead. Pre-registration required to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

■ 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday: Join interactive activities to learn about rocks and minerals at the John McConnell Math & Science Center.

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about how uranium affected Western Slope history, what kinds of amphibians and reptiles are native to the Grand Valley or how paleontologists excavate and study dinosaur bones, clear your schedule now.

Museums of Western Colorado, Colorado Canyons Association and John McConnell Math & Science Center are sponsoring a series of educational events this week in Mesa County in honor of Earth Science Week, according to Julia McHugh, the museum systems’ curator of paleontology.

The headline event will be Thursday’s sneak preview of Rocky Mountain PBS documentary “Uranium Mania,” which focuses on the history of uranium in Grand Junction and Uravan in west Montrose County.

It was filmed with help from Museums of Western Colorado crew members. The documentary will be followed by a question-and-answer session with film producers. 

“Uranium mining’s such a big part of our local history, and it fits right in with our theme,” McHugh said.

Wednesday is National Fossil Day and, weather permitting, Colorado Canyons Association Educational Director Rob Gay will lead a hike on the Trail Through Time in Rabbit Valley.

Dinosaur Journey will also offer “buy one, get one free” adult admission prices from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., said McHugh, adding that adults are welcome to the exhibits as well.

“Kind of a neat date night — go and see the dinosaurs,” she said. “It’s our experience that the grown-ups like doing the kids’ activities as much as the kids do.”

This is the second year the local organizations have sponsored Earth Science Week activities, McHugh said.

Last year, turnout was robust despite minimal advertising — except on the Thursday that week, when the Denver Broncos were playing.

This year, the week of events gained a sponsor — Dr. Michael Neste of Family Health West — and organizers invested more resources to get the word out in hopes of drawing even bigger crowds.

“We’ve been getting lots of interest this year, so fingers crossed,” McHugh said.


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