Here you will find links to photos of fossil specimens found within the Waldron Shale and photos of past workshops and classroom activities.

We welcome past and present participants to submit photos of their students performing the Waldron Shale Project as well as photos of specimens uncovered during the project. We will be glad to review them and post them to our site, with credit given to the participating teacher and school. Photos involving students must either a) include a photo release form indicating the permission of a parent/guardian to use on the website, or be taken without identifying features (i.e., taken from over shoulder or above the child, showing just hands or back of head). Please submit all photos to for review.

Fossil Specimen Galleries

Brachiopods (“Lamp Shells”)

Brachiopods are shelled animals that look like clams but actually belong to a totally separate phylum! They are very common in the Waldron Shale and are still alive today. Brachiopods are filter-feeders, using delicate filtering structures called lophophores to obtain food particles from seawater.

Bryozoans (“Moss Animals”)

Bryozoans are colonial organisms that create mineralized structures that look like twigs, branches or fan shapes. Under magnification, you can see small holes on these structures where the organisms (zooids) live. When they are feeding, the zooids stick out of the colony and use their lophophore to obtain food. They are still alive today, living in both fresh and salt water. The ancient bryozoans from the Waldron Shale lived in salt water.

Corals (Horn and Honeycomb)

Corals are also found in the Waldron Shale. During the Silurian Period, there were two primary forms of coral known as Rugose (Horn) Corals and Tabulate (Honeycomb) Corals. Both kinds are found in the Waldron Shale. One of the distinguishing features to look for when identifying ancient coral are whether the corallite (opening) in the coral has septa, or structures in the interior that look a bit like spokes on a wheel. Honeycomb corallites do not have these structures. Honeycomb corals are always colonial, whereas rugose corals can be solitary or colonial.

Echinoderms (Crinoids, Blastoids, Cystoids)

Some of the most spectacular fossils from the Waldron Shale are echinoderms, ocean-dwelling animals known for commonly having five-fold symmetry. In the Waldron Shale, these include crinoids (sea lilies) as well as uncommon cystoids (rhombiferans) and rare blastoids. The latter classes of echinoderms are long-extinct.

Fossils of these creatures commonly include individual body parts like their cup, arms, stem, and holdfast, often fragmented. Many sea lilies superficially resemble a flower when complete, but most Waldron crinoids are the body (calyx) separated from the arms and column.

Better known relatives include sea stars (scientifically known as “asteroidea”), sand dollars and sea urchins (echinoids or “echinoidea”). Stalked echinoderms gather food using tube feet in their arms to catch particles of food in fine comb-like structures called pinnules. Many modern crinoids have the ability to move, crawl or even swim!

Mollusks (Cephalopods, Clams, and Snails)

Mollusks are ancient organisms and you can find them in the Waldron Shale as clams, snails and cephalopods (chambered squid). Some of the most beautiful fossils from the Waldron Shale are the snails. They can be found with all of their shell still intact, and can be as large as a golf ball! Interestingly, some snails have been found associated with crinoids, perched on top of the crinoid head. The snails were eating the waste emitted from the crinoid, an interesting ecological interaction that can be observed in the fossil record!


Trilobites are a group of extinct arthopods that lived during the Paleozoic Era. They were marine organisms, living exclusively in saltwater. Like all arthopods, they have an exoskeleton which they molt as they grow larger. In the Waldron Shale, there are several types of trilobites, some of which are preserved well enough that you can see their compound eyes. Their name comes from the shape of the three lobes of their bodies, where there is a central axis or “lobe” and left and right pleural lobes on either side.

Photos coming soon.

Additional Fossils (Graptolites, Worms, Trace Fossils and More)

There are more than 200 species of organisms documented from the Waldron Shale. Some of these include unusual, rare, or little-known organisms. Keep an eye out also for pieces of pyrite or fools gold. These have been interpreted to be mineral changes associated with trace fossils within the shale.


Participant Galleries

Professional Development Photos

Nearly 90 teachers have participated in the Waldron Shale Project since it began in 2015! Here are some pictures from past workshops.

Classroom Photos

Many kids have now had the opportunity to discover their own fossils over the years. Here are a few pictures of students in action!