Oregon Student Essays 2015 Web Exhibit

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Middle School: "My Favorite Oregon Place"

Kaleigh A. Henderson, Essay Contest Runner-up

Mrs. Bowen’s Seventh Grade Class
Athey Creek Middle School, West Linn

red thunderegg with blue and white center; tree fossil
Left: The Thunder-egg (geode) is Oregon's state rock. (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries)
Right: The Metasequoia, or dawn redwood, is the official state fossil. (John Day Fossil Beds National Monument)

My pick hits the well-worn hill with a dull thump. I dig deeper and deeper until – clunk! My chisel hits something solid. Carefully, I gouge into the surrounding rock to excavate my discovery. Have I just retrieved a long-lost pirate’s chest? No, but I have just mined my own personal thunder egg!

The thunder egg is Oregon’s state rock, and you can harvest them at many scenic locations in central Oregon. Down long roads, you reach sandy hills, where, just below the surface, hide thousands of undiscovered, perfect thunder eggs. All you need is a pick, chisel, hammer, and bucket to carry your trove back home. Find a spot and start digging, and within just a few minutes, you are an official thunder egg miner! But the excitement isn’t over yet! You can then have your eggs professionally cut and polished to reveal the dazzling jewel-like crystals inside.

Oregon is also rich in plant fossils and even gold nuggets! So, even though much of central Oregon’s treasure is confined to the hillsides, much more flourishes in its people, its places, and the adventures you will find in this wondrous state. Now, come find your own treasures!

rock formations in John Day Fossil Beds
The rock palisades at the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument hold a variety of plant fossils. Visitors are encouraged to view fossils along an interpretive trail, however fossil hunting is prohibited in the monument. (Oregon State Archives Photo)