2016 Campaign Update 7
We set off for the Gobi the morning of September 14th, a team of five. Bolortsetseg hung back in UB on official business and Binderiya, Teddy and I pooled in Gana’s car with Gamba at the reins of the museum.
We were greeted in Dalanzadgad by Tushka and Suugi, two gentlemen involved in economic development, who showed us some of the town’s public art before dinner.
As the sun went down, we pulled into the neon wonderland of a new dinosaur park replete with near-life-size animatronic dinosaurs. It opened in June, and we look forward to collaborating with them on informational materials.
On the second day, we welcomed our first special guest appearance from TV cartoon star Justin Time. Earlier this summer, we came across an episode of the eponymous kids’ show that takes place at the Flaming Cliffs, and we knew the kids who live nearby would love it–plus, it’s all about paleontology! So we got in touch with the producers at Guru Studios and they were excited to send us the episode. Thanks, Guru Studios! The kids loved it! Hopefully we can get it translated into Mongolian for next year.
We also hosted a Skype session between some Mongolian high school students and the Webb School at the Alf Museum in Los Angeles, which is a unique high school that focuses on natural history. We hope it turns into an ongoing exchange. There is very little attention paid to natural history in the curriculum here, but students in the Gobi are hungry to learn more, especially about dinosaurs.
This is even more true in Bulgan, the small town closest to Bayanzag where Teddy, Gana and I spent two days accompanied by Azaa, an English-speaking tour guide with some paleontological knowledge. She showed us several un-excavated fossil sites around the Flaming Cliffs, and we did a little prospecting.
Bayanzag’s only park ranger, Munkhsaihan, introduced us to members of Altain Hoilog, a kids’ club that meets 2-3 times a week to learn about nature, go on field trips and pick up litter at Bayanzag. They were super inspiring and we’ll be helping them out however we can.
Out of room again & I’ve barely scratched the surface. Next time: the news from Dundgovi & an introduction to Binderiya Munkhbat, our genius-at-hand.