With a collaboration between The Petrified Wood Museum in Khorat, Bantak forest park will be conducting a student activity program from August 4th-11th and has invited the schools of Tak to come visit the park and share the experience.
The students start off with an introduction to fossils created by silicification and the petrification process. After, they are given small workbooks and set out to walk through the forest with the park staff and learn about various plants and animals on their way to view the petrified tree sites.
When the expedition is finished, the students are brought into the lab, where they are taught about fossils and geology as well as proper use of lab equipment (microscopes, large magnifying glasses etc.). During this time students can use the lab equipment under supervision of the park staff and view multiple stones, fossils, microscope slides and also a few preserved animal and plant species from the park.
Moving on to the next few activities, students get a lecture of fossilization and make Copper (II) Sulfate crystals of their own, and then go outside to make paintings using fallen leaves while waiting for the crystals to form.
In addition to the park activities, we have also incorporated local handicrafts into the program, where locals of Bantak visit the park and teach the students how to make crafts of their own.
Overall, the students seem to enjoy the program, and by inquiring workbooks they remember much more and retain the information that they've learned.
Here are a few pictures to exemplify the expedient growth process of Cycas siamensis after a forest fire. The growth process from start to to finish with full flourishing palm leaves took only about 1 month with some of the specimens I observed. A great example of how these plants have endured many years and elements on the earth.
* Note: the photos are from different specimens I came across the day I decided to take photos. They are not the same specimen over a time-span.
The temporary shelter for petrified tree no. 7 (the one with the largest buttress) is almost finished. Thanks to Mr. Surapon Gawee, the former head of the petrified forest park, and all the staff, local people, and others who have been helping to accomplish this while waiting for the budget from provincial government. Special thanks to Tak provincial government, governor, vice governor who agree to give the budget for us to start the conservation project soon.