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About the
Falls of the Ohio Field Trip

Taping the field trip in front of Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center.

Program Outline

Introduction Host Chip Polston introduces program, describes the location of the Falls and outlines plans to visit the fossil beds and then take a tour of the Interpretive Center.

Outer Beds Tour Kenny Karem, a teacher from Louisville acts as Chip's tour guide to the fossil beds.
While on the tour Kenny and Chip:

  • look at the floodgates of the McAlpine Dam and learn about the railroad bridge that crosses the river above the dam,
  • describe what the fossil beds looked like 375 million years ago when the area was a tropical sea,
  • explain how fossils are formed and how we "read" the geological record,
  • look at several examples of different kinds of fossils,
  • learn about the different kinds of wildlife that call the falls home,
  • learn how glaciers scoured the area and how erosion formed a natural arch in the riverbed.
Falls History Chip describes the history of the falls with accompanying video of the more important events such as:
  • what the ancient sea and its inhabitants probably looked like,
  • the movement of glaciers across the land and other natural forces that shaped the area,
  • the cultural history of the area starting with the importance of the area to Native Americans,
  • the movement of the French and British into the area,
  • the roles played in the area's history by important historic figures such as George Rogers Clark, Lewis and Clark, and John James Audubon
  • the role of the steamboat and railroad to the growth of the cities around the falls,
  • the building of the wickets, the Portland canal, and later the McAlpine Dam,
  • damage done to the falls area due to human abuse, and
  • the creation of the Falls of the Ohio State Park.
Interpretive Center Tour Steve Knowles, property manager for the center takes Chip on a tour.
During the tour they look at the following areas:
  • a diorama representing 375 million years of history including models of the Devonian coral reef and a wooly mammoth skull all the way to life-like figures representing the pioneers who came to the area,
  • an exhibit devoted to showing what the ancient sea looked like in Devonian times,
  • a side trip to Terry Chase's studios where all the dioramas and models in the museum were created,
  • artifacts and displays showing the lifestyle of the Native Americans who moved into the area,
  • displays showing the influence of various early explorers and scientists on the area,
  • representations of the flora and fauna that now make their homes in the area,
  • a freshwater aquarium with native species of fish,
  • saltwater aquariums showing what a modern coral reef looks like, and
  • the wildlife observation area where you can see birds and other wildlife through a two way mirror.
Steve talks with Chip about career opportunities and they exit the Interpretive Center. Chip continues to interview Steve about the history and purpose of the park with an emphasis on environmental education on both the local and global levels.

We see a visual review of the subjects covered during the program. Chip wraps up the program and invites everyone to come explore in person.

KET Electronic Field Trips
Falls of the Ohio
Wade the Wetlands
Falls History
Habitat and Wildlife
About the Field Trip
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600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951

Last Updated: Monday, 19-Dec-2005 12:22:20 Eastern Standard Time