Students at North Carolina’s Wake Tech Community College can now do much more than read about geology. They can experience it firsthand without ever leaving campus.
In April, Wake Tech unveiled its Northern Wake outdoor geology lab, a site on its Raleigh campus made possible by a gift from Martin Marietta that features 11 rocks (ranging in weight from two to six tons) from Company quarries across North Carolina.
A second, almost identical outdoor lab also was established on the college’s main campus in Garner, North Carolina.
The outdoor geology labs provide students with hands-on learning opportunities designed to complement their classroom instruction. Faculty members also plan to enhance the experience with audio and video tours and an interactive website.
(from left) Rebecca Neagle, chief campus officer of Wake Tech's northern Wake Campus, Anne Lloyd, Martin Marietta's CFO, Ward Nye, Martin Marietta's CEO, Stephen C. Scott, Wake Tech's president, John Stevens, Martin Marietta director of natural resources retired, and Sara Rutzky, Wake Tech associate professor of geology.
Stressing the importance of the Company’s partnerships with educational institutions, CEO Ward Nye praised Wake Tech for the opportunities it provides to students of all ages.
“We’re delighted to be a part of this project,” Nye said at the dedication. “We’re grateful for what the college does, not just for Wake County, but for the state of North Carolina.”
Sara Rutzky, associate professor of geology at Wake Tech, was one of several faculty members who traveled to Company quarries to select the rocks for display. In addition to what the students will be able to learn from the labs, Rutzky said the process of collecting the rocks was educational for her and her fellow professors.
“We learned a lot about quarrying and mining in North Carolina,” she said, “and getting into the pits provided us with a very different view of the earth and geology than we were used to seeing.”
John Stevens, Martin Marietta’s retired director of natural resources, and Senior Geologist Jeff Davison, worked with Rutzky to coordinate the quarry visits.
Stevens praised plant managers at Castle Hayne, Onslow, Benson, Garner, Raleigh-Durham, Asheboro, Burlington, Thomasville, Bonds, Bessemer City and Kings Mountain quarries for “being very accommodating and taking so much time to help” the visiting faculty members.