HUDSON — Students interested in what happened millions of years ago now have the chance to explore eras long (long) past hands-on, thanks to the donation of around 300 fossil specimens by a Hudson resident.

Harvey Kaufman, a Hudson resident for 43 years and a fossil collector for about 42 years, donated a large part of his collection to the Hudson City School District. The 300-some fossils are worth about $15,000. Kaufman was publicly thanked during the Hudson school board's Dec. 9 meeting. A sampling of the donated collection also was brought to the meeting for display.

"This is a sponge," Kaufman said before the meeting, holding up a beige rock. "An ancient sponge." On the rock was a protrusion about an inch high and the diameter of a quarter. On the top of the fossilized sponge were numerous symmetrical indentations.

Kaufman said the specimens were mostly of plants and invertebrates, and included fungus, sponges, a sea scorpion, and even the skull of an oreodont, an extinct mammal about the size of a sheep. Kaufman said the youngest fossil in his collection is about 33 million years old.

"Ohio was an underwater sea," Kaufman said.

Christina Wooley, the curriculum coordinator for the district, said the collection has already been used in the classroom.

"A teacher was reading about fossils," Wooley said. "So we brought over some fossils so the students could not only just hear about fossils but actually see them."

Wooley said she's "had a really good time" sorting through and labeling the fossils, which covered a conference table at McDowell Elementary Schools, and that she "will continue to have a good time."

"We hope for the students to be eternal learners, and that is embodied in Harvey Kaufman," Wooley said.

The board and administration voiced their appreciation for the donation.

"We are very grateful for this very generous gift," said Board President David Zuro.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC