Amherst – Discover the distant past today by Land, Sea and Air (LSA – Discovery)

About The LEAP

Throughout the two and a half day Discover the Distant Past Today by Land, Sea and Air (LSA - Discovery) LEAP program, participants will explore the deep time associated with the amazing natural history of the greater Amherst area.  We will explore by Land, Sea & Air some of what makes this part of Massachusetts an outstanding place to study.  

  • Participants will gain an appreciation of the important role Amherst College has played in the understanding of the Natural History of the Connecticut River Valley.
  • Participants will learn to recognize the geologic features of the region as seen on the Land, on the Sea (River) and in the Air.
  • Participants will get to know more about themselves and new students.

What To Expect
During the LSA - Discovery Leap you will explore and discover:

  • The Beneski Museum of Natural history – With over 200,000 specimens it is one of the most significant natural history collections in New England.  The focus of this exploration shall be on the geology of the Connecticut River Valley with an emphasis on the early inhabitants of the valley: dinosaurs.  The museum holds a world-class collection of dinosaur tracks and traces, all collected locally by Amherst College in the early 1800s.
  • BY LAND – Traveling in vans, participants will explore some of the important geologic features that make up the region including mountains, rivers and hills.  We will visit some of the original sites once studied by Amherst College in the 1800s. Be prepared for some moderate hiking.
  • BY SEA – Traveling on a riverboat, participants will be in a position to view the Connecticut River valley from the bottom up.  Interpretation during the excursion on the river will help provide additional context for the natural history of the region.
  • BY AIR – Traveling in small planes, participants will be afforded a perspective of the Connecticut River Valley that was not available to Amherst College faculty members in the 1800s.   
About Us

Alfred (Fred) J. Venne  - Fred currently serves as the Museum Educator with the Beneski Museum of Natural History @ Amherst College.  Fred also serves as an educational consultation to the Massachusetts Department of Education.  Prior to his current work Fred worked as a public school educator for over 25 years as a School Principal, Science Teacher and curriculum developer. Fred has also worked and volunteered with such organizations as 5-College Partnership, STEM Pipeline Network, Look Memorial Park, the YMCA, The People’s Institute, the United Way, and the Red Cross.

Hayley Singleton - Hayley is currently the Head of Collections and Operations at the Beneski Museum of Natural History. Aside from managing the 200,000 specimens within the museum collections, she helps students and visiting researchers use the collections for many purposes including scientific studies. Prior to managing the collections at Amherst College, Hayley studied Anthropology and Archaeology during graduate school while also working in numerous museum and national park institutions.