2023 Fall

Classes are free  with your  UMASC Membership


Rocks and Walks

Instructor: Cheryl Fontaine

Wednesdays • Classroom: 9/13 & Fri., 9/15 • 6 Field Trips: 9/20-10/25 • 10:00 AM

Class size 5-12 students
0 seats remaining
Location: Klahr 103 & Field Trips
• The first two “Rocks and Walks” classes will be held in room 103 at the Klahr Center from 10-3:30 PM.
• Persons from the waiting list for the 2023 spring Rocks & Walks class have been pre-registered.


Rocks and Walkswill be an outdoor journey through some of Maine’s geologic history and a great excuse to get out, have some fun, meet new people, and learn something new. Following two days of classroom instruction, over the course of the next five weeks we will take five outdoor excursions to sites of geologic interest along the coast of central Maine.

The purpose of these day trips will be to explore Maine’s bedrock geologic history and develop a sense of the immense amount of time it took for Maine’s landscape to form. We will look for clues in the bedrock outcrops that reveal the complex history that the rocks have to tell. Although looking at the rocks will be the focus of these outdoor trips, there will be additional opportunities to walk beaches, visit museums and lighthouses and dine at local restaurants, or have a picnic lunch.

Site visits will be day-long and travel will be by carpooling. We will be walking to bedrock outcrops that are accessible, but walking will be on uneven and sometimes rocky ground. The sites will have adequate parking and restroom facilities. We will be having lunch (optional and locations to be determined) prior to the site visits.

Class size is limited to 12 individuals. There has been a high demand for this course. Please make certain that you can attend all of the field trips. People who are on the waiting list from last semester will be offered the first opportunity to register for the class. There will be a ten dollar ($10.00) class fee to help pay for materials used in the class.

Wednesday, September 13 & Friday, September 15 from 10 AM-3:30 PM
Both classes will have a 1 ½ hour lunchbreak.

The first two meetings will be in a classroom setting to discuss an overview of the course. We will discuss some of the geologist’s tools including the Geologic Time Scale, how rocks are dated, and an overview of the Maine’s Geologic History. We will look at how rocks and minerals are identified and talk about some of the rocks we will see. We will be providing both handout and will email learning material. We will work out some of the logistics such as travel and lunch stop preferences.

5 FIELD TRIP DAYS — Wednesdays, September 20-October 25 from 10 AM-5 PM

Following the initial classroom sessions, we will travel to five different areas to look at bedrock outcrops over the next five weeks. Field trips will be on Wednesdays, however if the weather is bad on that particular Wednesday, the Friday of the same week will be set aside as a rain date.

Prior to each field trip an agenda, maps and driving directions, along with geologic information pertinent to the day’s field trip, will be emailed. The day will begin with an optional lunch at 11:00 at a restaurant near the field trip site. The field trips will end in time to get folks back to Augusta by 5 PM but participants will be free to schedule their return as they want. Participants will need to arrange their own transportation. Carpooling is encouraged.

Cheryl Fontaine retired from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection as a Senior Geologist in 2016.  While there, she advised technical staff on remediating underground oil and gasoline contamination and locating replacement drinking water wells.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cheryl took on a task that she always wanted to do: learn more about the origin of Maine’s bedrock.  She spent a year researching the latest information on the geologic evolution of the State of Maine and visiting innumerable bedrock outcrops.

Cheryl lives in Sidney with her husband, Louis.  Her other interests include music, quilting, languages and, of course, rock collecting.