0416_SPO_FOSSIL

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is internationally renowned for its Miocene Epoch mammal fossils from about 22 to 23 million years ago. Some of the fossils excavated there were the first of their kind found in North America.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is celebrating the 10th anniversary of National Fossil Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Interpretive walks along Monument trails will be offered starting at 10 a.m.

The area near Harrison, Nebraska, got about 6 inches of snow on Thursday but roads are fine. The snow is already melting.

"We're still going to have fun hikes and fun activities,'' park ranger Alvis Mar said.

National Fossil Day was established in the United States to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values. The first celebration took place in October 2010 during the annual Earth Science Week.

At 10 a.m., park ranger Dan Kaiser will lead an interpretive walk along the Daemonelix Trail, where visitors can learn about the famed Devil’s Corkscrew. The trail is 1 mile round trip. Meet at the visitor center first.

At 1:30 p.m., walk the fossil hills with park ranger Alvis Mar and learn about the ancient carnivores that once roamed there.

Throughout the day, kid-friendly activities — including the Junior Paleontologist program — will be available. For all activities, meet at the visitor center. All programs are free of charge.

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