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Cairo fossils wait for grants

Nov 04, 2021 1:45 pm

Roger Hannigan Gilson reports in the Times Union that little is being done to protect the world's first known forest found in Cairo in Greene County. So far, officials are applying for a few grants, and discussing concrete barriers. Cairo had been seeking a Community Development Block Grant in March to fund a feasibility study, but gave up after the state employee the town was communicating with lost their job, according to Cairo resident Joe Hasenkopf, who leads the town committee in charge of preserving the site. Now State Senator Michelle Hinchey wants to help Cairo apply for a State and Municipal Facilities Grant to protect the historic site. Currently "a ring of boulders and a layer of gravel that mostly covers the fossils" is the only protection from the ATV riders who speed past the site that's on town property. Hasenkopf says the town wants to install about 1,100 feet of concrete Jersey barriers with 6-to-8 feet of fencing on top. Scientists from SUNY Binghamton and Cardiff University in England "discovered" the former Cairo quarry in 2009, and published their findings in Current Biology in December 2019. Over 150 specimens from the Cairo site are in the New York State Museum. Read more about this story in the Times Union.