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Students are honored for dinosaur wall at museum

Thirteen Inverness Middle School students created the exhibit based on an afterschool project.

By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE
Published November 3, 2005


INVERNESS - They are eighth-graders this year, but what they made when they were seventh-graders is still making an impact on Citrus County.

Thirteen students from Inverness Middle School gathered at the Historic Courthouse recently to be recognized for the paleontology wall they created. It is on display inside the museum at the courthouse.

The students were members of seventh-grade science teacher Greg Biance's afterschool Paleo Club. They spent many hours creating the prehistoric information exhibit. The wall features moving Tyrannosaurus rex and pterodactyl figures that "talk" and explain fossil reproductions molded into the wall. When a fossil is highlighted it lights up. The whole thing starts up with the push of a button.

The effort started in Biance's class, but the students who were really dedicated to the project met after school. "They came in all the time," Biance said. It took five to six months for completion, plus the assistance of Biance's friend, Gregg Bear.

Bear creates and repairs this type of exhibit in museums across the country. He helped the students with the necessary wiring to animate the display.

The students' names are recorded on a plaque in front of the display.

Biance has only given clues as to his current students' next project. He mentioned water, native Floridians and a flash of time. These kinds of things take money, though. Biance and his wife, Kim, put money of their own into the dinosaur wall. He used a small grant and contributions from Bear and his wife, Kim.

Biance is beginning to look into funding for the next project. The hope is for the dinosaur wall and other projects like it to travel and, not only educate, but inspire children to realize they are capable of such things.