MRU CELEBRATES ITS GEOLOGICAL LABORATORY — THE PROGRESS ENERGY CANADA LTD. ROCKSCAPE
As students, faculty, staff and visitors stroll the grounds of Mount Royal University, they may find themselves amongst a landscape of geological rocks, fossils and minerals — one rock in particular imprinted with a dinosaur footprint.
Who would have thought that Mount Royal’s campus houses a unique geological laboratory that showcases the evolutionary history of rock formations? Adjacent to the East Gate Entrance, The Progress Energy Canada Ltd. Rockscape is designed to give students and visitors a hands-on experience, simulating the field conditions in Western Canada through distinctive examples of rocks, fossils and minerals.
On Friday, September 25, Mount Royal hosted an event to recognize Progress Energy Canada’s donation towards the Institute for Environmental Sustainability in support of advancing higher education. To recognize their gift, the Rockscape was named in their honour as an outdoor laboratory used by multiple disciplines in the Faculty of Science and Technology.
“On our very first day as geology majors, we were out here in the Rockscape — thoroughly confused — but doing our best to decipher the rocks as part of our field study course,” says Olivia Goldsmith, fourth-year geology student here at Mount Royal. “As recently as yesterday, we were back out here again, interpreting the depositional environments of these sandstones for our Advanced Sedimentary Geology class. These rocks have been the foundation upon which we have built our geologic understanding.”
The rock layers, or strata, shown are arranged in correct geological order, demonstrating how rocks record time and mark events in Earth history. Exclusive exhibits like the Rockscape demonstrate Mount Royal’s goal to endorse an unprecedented educational experience, right here on campus.
“I think we can speak for all students when we say that our educational experience at Mount Royal has been exceptional,” says Leah Wilson, a fellow fourth-year student in geology. “Here at Mount Royal, students have the ability to participate in value-adding undergraduate research projects and have access to high quality lab equipment and spaces, just like the Rockscape.”
Supporters like Progress Energy Canada allow Mount Royal to uphold its pledge to its students and the community — provide responsive education that encourage critical thinking and hands-on learning. Mount Royal is preparing its graduates for a lifetime of opportunities as engaged citizens.
“The Rockscape is an acknowledgement of the generous gift and continued partnership between Progress Energy Canada and Mount Royal’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability,” says Jeff Goldberg, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology. “It is through this relationship that we continue to advance the work of the Institute through research in environmental sustainability.”
Like Progress Energy Canada, Mount Royal values the creation of dynamic learning contexts, recognizing that lifelong learning emerges from genuine student engagement. The Rockscape not only enhances our students’ learning, but drives perpetual betterment in the surrounding community through free access to this unique educational tool — inspiring the geologist in all of us!
Mount Royal University gratefully acknowledges the many donors who have made the Rockscape possible: Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists Educational Trust Fund and a gift made through the J.C. Anderson Legacy Fund at The Calgary Foundation. A special thanks goes to TD Friends of the Environment for refurbishment of the signage. All have been valued partners in our quest to provide quality resources that integrate our students, employees and the surrounding communities we are sharing ideas, new education and research.
- Jenna Reimer, October 2015