On May 27, the class observes and takes notes as workers from Buffalo Drilling Company operate a rig to drill one of the wells. The company employs many UB alumni.
Joe Gardner (green hard hat) and Adam Lobur (far right) from Buffalo Drilling Company operate the drilling equipment. Water pumped into the hole helps to keep the machinery cool and to remove sediment from the hole, says Chris Lowry, associate professor of geology, who co-teaches the course.
Senior Hayley Martinez takes a close look at a rock core — a cylindrical sample of rock extracted from below ground using a drill head that looks like a giant straw. “We’re lucky to be able to see this today,” Martinez says. “Not a lot of people get this opportunity. In geology, you need these experiences to be able to record stuff, take good notes, communicate and work with others. Geology exists outside of the classroom.”
A rock sample. As part of the well-drilling activity, students examined the types of rocks emerging from beneath the ground. “They’re recording the geology underneath the campus, the rocks that come up in the process,” says Tracy Gregg, associate professor of geology and director of the 2021 field camp course.
From left: Seniors Katie Lovell, Fletcher Daniel, Louie Manzella and Noah Dobson investigate pieces of a rock core. Tracy Gregg is in the background, in a blue hard hat.
David Sheridan takes notes. “Geology is not philosophy. It’s a little more of a practical science, so going out and looking at rocks and tapping on rocks and watching people drill is really helpful in seeing how geology is done,” Sheridan says.
Notes, notes, notes. Making and recording detailed observations is a vital part of geology. In addition to observing the well-drilling, students in the summer course will visit and map other sites of geological interest, such as Eighteen Mile Creek.
Adam Lobur from Buffalo Drilling Company monitors the drilling equipment. The geology department developed a local geological methods course this summer so that students would not miss out on experiential learning opportunities: “We’re doing this because of COVID,” says Chris Lowry (not pictured). “We normally go out west. Last summer we had to teach it all online, and we thought that hands-on is better.”
Tracy Gregg (not pictured) says that while the pandemic motivated the department to keep the course local, it’s possible that future field camps will alternate between traveling out west and staying in Western New York to give students options.
Published June 2, 2021
November 1, 2021: Accepting applications for Field Camp 2022. Rates and details will be posted as they become available. Contact us with any questions about applying to Geology Field Camp: firstname.lastname@example.org
The University at Buffalo Geology Field Program is open to upper division geology and environmental science students enrolled at any college or university. Over the past 54 years, this program has taught more than 2,100 students! Last year, 39 students from 12 different academic institutions joined the group.
The academic mission of the course is to keep students safe and healthy while they develop observational and mapping skills in the field. To create an interesting and diverse experience, students visit four distinct physiographic and geologic locations: San Juan Mountains, Colorado; Canyonlands, Utah; Dinosaur National Monument, Utah; and Medicine Bow, Wyoming. For the first nine days, the curriculum of the camp focuses on mapping crystalline rocks, followed by 23 days studying folded and faulted sedimentary rocks.
The camp maintains a concept of a rustic, mobile, outdoor program: students and staff live in tents while at mapping sites, and staff prepare food at the campsite. We encourage students to be ready for any and all weather variations, as well as a great time outdoors learning principles of geologic mapping!
The camp fee covers the cost of food while camping, transportation at camp, and all camp operating expenses for your four-week excursion which includes the motels used during travel between map sites.
*The University at Buffalo reserves the right to change tuition and fees without notice. Recent costs are available from the UB Office of Student Accounts.
We expect students enrolled at UB to have completed the following courses before starting our field camp; students enrolled at other institutions should have completed the equivalent courses. If you have any questions about the courses offered at your institution, email Dr. James Boyle, at email@example.com
Students are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from Denver, including the full cost of these arrangements. All of the transportation within the field camp is covered through the camp fee.
Please read this checklist to ensure you pack necessary gear and clothing.
Students and staff camp in tents while at map sites. Each campsite has toilets. On travel days, students are able to use shower facilities in motels. The camp doesn’t provide showers but students may bring their own solar shower. Good hygiene is important and most students get by using cleansing wipes until a shower is available.
The course is an intensive month-long program of immersion in the methods of geological field mapping. Students camp during the majority of this time. During most days, participants are in the field from 8a.m. to 4p.m. and remain engaged in strenuous physical activity.