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, 2022: Accepting applications for Field Camp 2023. 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 55 years, this program has taught more than 2,100 students! Last year, 30 students from 7 different academic institutions joined the group.
The academic mission of the course is to give students an opportunity to practically apply their geological knowledge in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of real data across the broad spectrum of problems that geology touches on in the modern world. To create an interesting and diverse experience students will visit several sites in the Buffalo, NY region to explore the local stratigraphy, urban hydrology, and subsurface geology. Students will also spend several days camping in eastern New York/New England to examine the fascinating but complex geology of that region.
For this year’s field camp we will be based out of UB’s campus on a 9AM-5PM schedule for most of the course. Housing in campus dorms is available if required. There will be a few days where we will be staying overnight at a campground in eastern New York/New England. We encourage students to be ready for any and all weather variations, especially during the camping portion of the course!
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 Buffalo, 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.
For the days when students and staff camp in tents the campsite has toilets. On travel days, students are able to use shower facilities in motels. The campground may provide showers, but students may bring their own solar shower if they wish to have a backup. Good hygiene is important and most students get by using cleansing wipes until a shower is available.
While not as physically intensive as the western version of our field camp this course will still entail some days of long hikes through rough terrain. Even in New York temperatures can get quite hot and the threat of rainstorms is ever-present. During most days, participants are in the field from 9a.m. to 4p.m. with those days where we are camping in eastern New York/New England being times when we will remain engaged in strenuous physical activity throughout the day.