Underground at Sterling Mine

It was not an average day on November 11 for 62 of Ms. Escobedo’s Environmental Science students as they took a class trip to the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Sussex County. The trip was a hands-on experience for the students who are currently learning about rocks and minerals in their classes.

Ms. Escobedo said excitedly, “It was cool that my students learned about the history of mining in New Jersey.”

Photo: Michelle Escobedo

The museum, previously a former iron and zinc mine, provided fun and education for the students. Students took a tour in the underground mines where they visited the “Rainbow Tunnel.” For many, this was the most anticipated part of the tour as students witnessed the beauty of fluorescent rocks. The rocks, which were illuminated under ultraviolet light, glowed red, green, blue, and yellow.

“If there was one way to describe that experience in the tunnel, it would be ‘eye-opening,’” said Ms. Escobedo with a grin.

Students were also able to go into the “Lamp Room” and other underground areas where they saw mine equipment and machinery such as ore chutes that were utilized 50-60 years ago. They also learned about the everyday life of miners, the dangers they faced, and the kind of rocks they mined.

“I would definitely recommend it to underclassmen to go discover the history of mines in New Jersey and see firsthand the rocks that actually come from here in NJ. It truly is a lifetime experience!” Senior Ody Castillo concluded.

The annual trip may need two buses next year.