July 14, 2023 Nancy Chabot

Based on a Report submitted to the Endowment Committee by: David T. King, Jr. - Auburn University

Earlier this year, the Meteoritical Society Endowment Fund provided a grant to enhance public understanding of the Wetumpka impact crater, Alabama USA, by supporting the production of a new crater guidebook. The new crater guidebook is keyed to existing educational viewpoint signage within or near the structure. A 38-page guidebook has been created, which is titled “A guide to the interpretive signage at Wetumpka impact crater, Elmore County, Alabama.” That guidebook has been given over to the Wetumpka Impact Crater Commission to use for public dissemination in their outreach and educational activities.

In the guidebook, for the location of each educational viewpoint sign, plus the Alabama Historical Association metal highway marker, there is a discussion of the location in the larger context of the whole of the impact crater and additional photographs of each site. The guidebook also includes some details about the scientific research conducted at or near each site, as well as historical notes about the site. A glossary of technical terms is also included. Anyone using this “Guide to the interpretive signage” would therefore better understand the site’s significance beyond what is said briefly on the viewpoint sign itself. The intention of this guide was to add depth and dimension to the self-guided crater tour that the commission has organized and publicized in connection with their efforts for the placement of the seven interpretive signs at Wetumpka.

With the opening of the new Wetumpka Impact Crater Discovery Center in downtown Wetumpka, it is anticipated that there may be a surge in interest with the public and with school groups for the self-guided tour and now also with the new guidebook. Since 2000, the commission has sponsored annual public tours of the impact crater, and now many more people can take a self-guided tour as well. The support of the Meteoritical Society Endowment Fund for this work is very appreciated.

Visit this webpage to learn more about grants supported by the Meteoritical Society Endowment Fund.