Featured Faculty: Dr. Andrew Heckert


A few days ago I met with Dr. Andrew Heckert, associate professor in the Geology Department at ASU and one of the prominent vertebrate paleontology experts in the state. Dr. Heckert's research interests include micro and macrovertebrates (small and large fossils) and biostratigraphy, or the use of fossils to tell geologic time and establish the ages of rocks. In addition to his research which spans across North America, Dr. Heckert teaches courses in historical geology, evolution of the Earth and dinosaurs. More information about his research can be found on his website: http://www.appstate.edu/~heckertab/research.html.

Dr. Heckert is also the director of the McKinney Geology Teaching Museum which he gave me a tour of. The Geology Museum serves as a teaching facility for college-level geology but it is also open to K-12 groups and the general public. Hundreds of school children and their teachers visit it every year. It is staffed by faculty members of the Geology department and students. The outreach program offered includes a tour of the indoor exhibits which consist of hundreds of rock samples and fossils and a walk through the outdoor rock garden. The Rock Wall is also not to be missed, an exhibit featuring 107 rocks from the Appalachian area. In addition, students are available as tutors and experts to answer questions as part of the Answersphere.

The rock garden, called The Fred Webb Jr. Outdoor Geology Lab, is an awesome collection of huge rocks placed along a path outside, you can also check it out virtually here. The interactive map of the garden includes the 36 rocks, all clickable with information about their properties, age and where they came from. It is a great resource for teachers to use with students before and after their visit. During their visit an expert will guide them around the rocks and they museum also provides a scavenger hunt activity to engage the students.
In addition to his outreach work through the teaching museum, Dr. Heckert also gives public lectures such as his very popular dinosaur ones, part of the Science Seminars sponsored by the Math and Science Education Center at ASU. He also holds adjunct positions at the North Carolina, Virginia and New Mexico natural science museums to which he has contributed specimens that he himself has collected around the world.

Dr. Heckert's Weblinks
Personal website 

McKinney Geology Teaching Museum

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Virginia Museum of Natural History

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Contact (schedules/visits/questions)

Dr. Andrew Heckert
(828) 262-7609

108 Rankin Science South
572 Rivers Street
Boone, NC 28608

Open: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F (during semester)
Closed: Weekends, University holidays, weather closures

Department of Geology

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