Children search for seashells by the seashore

20 Aug 2012 | Lance Cpl. Scott W. Whiting

Dozens of children gathered at Onslow Beach aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Aug. 15 to learn about different shells and fossils they can find around the beach.

Marine Corps Community Services coordinated and hosted Expedition Onslow for children and parents alike to give them an educational and adventurous outlet in the midst of the long summer.

Ruth Gooch, the reservations assistant with MCCS, taught the children about different sea animals that wash up on Onslow Beach from time to time.

“We’ve done a different activity every month of the summer,” said Gooch. “In June, we held a workshop about mammals in North Carolina and wildlife on base. July’s class was aimed at teaching kids about the history of Onslow County. We try to teach them something while they are out of school for summer vacation.”

Gooch displayed many examples of fossilized remains and a wide variety of shells for the children to look at. She gave them a background of many of her fossils, which included the jaws of a diverse group of fish and other aquatic animals.

“The children love to see the collections, but many of the parents enjoy learning about the history and have as much fun as their kids,” said Gooch.

After approximately an hour of learning, the children and parents took to the shores and began searching the sand for shells. Children grabbed their buckets and shovels, and dug while some decided to look in the water.

“Unfortunately not much washed up on the beach lately, so the children weren’t able to find very many shells,” Gooch said. “There just isn’t a lot some weeks.”

Gooch said MCCS is hosting a fossil fair in September, which will feature a guest speaker, who is a paleontologist from the Smithsonian Institute.

“The fossil fair will go more in-depth into fossils, and we are expecting to have a large turnout,” said Gooch.

Gooch said the expedition was a huge success and really enjoyed having children ask her questions about fossils, which she calls her passion in life.