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Hamburg Natural History Society celebrates 20 years

HAMBURG — The Hamburg Natural History Society Inc. was formed in April 1993, to help raise funds to preserve and protect the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center in Hamburg.

To recognize the organization’s 20-year reunion, a founder’s day event will be held from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. Admission prices to collect fossils will be rolled back, for one day.

Visitors will be provided with tours of the fossil-collecting areas, wetlands and some of the on-site trails, including more than 4,100 feet of paved trails for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and wagons.

The HNHS collaborated with the town of Hamburg on the purchase of the former shale quarry in December 1995. In January 1996, the HNHS was deeded 32.5 acres of the Penn Dixie Site, to begin the preservation and development of this fossil site.

Since 1996, the HNHS has purchased an additional 22 acres of land for programs in astronomy, birding, geology, paleontology, wetland preservation and investigation and an outdoor classroom in the natural sciences.

In 1996,the HNHS began a cleanup of the site and initiated many improvements. The organization has installed five shelters and other amenities, on the site.

The HNHS has announced plans to obtain funding for the outdoor education center building.

In 1994, the HNHS reprinted Amadeus W. Grabau’s “Geology & Palaeontology of Eighteenmile Creek,” to help raise funds to purchase and develop the Penn Dixie site. This publication is out of print, but is currently being reprinted and will be available for purchase in August.

In 2000, the HNHS/Penn Dixie site was recognized by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce as the business of the year.

In 2000, the first summer day camp programs for area children ages 8 – 12 began.

In 2005, Buffalo Business First ranked Penn Dixie as the No. 19 tourist attraction in WNY.

In 2011, Penn Dixie was ranked the No.1 Fossil Park in the United States, after a seven-year study done by professors from Louisiana State and Mississippi State universities.

To date, visitors have come from 32 states and eight countries. The site has more than 1,100 memberships in 30 states and Canada and Great Britain.

In 2012, the site and its offerings were visited by more than 103,901 children and adults.

For more information, visit the Penn Dixie website at Membership forms are also available on the website.

Penn Dixie is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visits may be scheduled at other times, by calling the site. Penn Dixie members may visit at any time.

The 20th anniversary celebration is open to the public.

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