SUNY Cortland Geology students study effects of weathering on various types of stone

We're excited to know that Professor Tim Conner's geology and/or science education students, from SUNY Cortland, have been visiting the Cortland Rural Cemetery for several years now -- clipboards, cameras, and questionnaires in hand! -- to study the effects that upstate NY weather has on various kinds of stone located in our cemetery!

  • In a typical study, each student must conduct a survey of multiple stones, making note of:
    (1) the stone's installation date (derived from the 'date of death'),    
    (2) what type of stone it is (most commonly marble or granite)  
    (3) the stone's condition (cracks, surface wear, etc.)
  • Next, the data is plotted on a curve, which can be seen in this example.
  • Then, the student must make conclusions based on his/her observations, data, and curve.
  • And finally, Professor Conner requires each student to write a creative or imagined "life narrative" about one of the deceased citizens whose headstones they have studied, based on the name, birth/death date, epitaph, decorative details, or other attributes evident in the stone...so each student also gains an appreciation for those who lived and died in Cortland in years past. (See this example, by student Mikayla Shade based on the headstone of Charles T. Shaft.)  

    Kudos to TIm and his students for visiting our cemetery to conduct this real-world study year after year!
Ever thought of cemeteries like the CRC as 'green space?' You are onto something if so... Check out this paper from Trustee President, John Hoeschele. (And watch for more activity at the CRC along these lines as we leverage our 'garden cemetery' legacy in the months/years ahead!)