On a ranch in eastern Wyoming lies a rich deposit of dinosaur bones in what is known as the Lance Formation. For 25 years, Southwestern Adventist University, in Keene, Texas, has led students here each summer to the Hanson Ranch Research Station, where they learn quarrying techniques and unearth upper Cretaceous dinosaur bones. More than 30,000 bones have been excavated so far. Besides the annual Southwestern trip, hundreds of other visitors have stayed at the site over the years, including students and researchers from around the world. Conditions are rustic—guests camp in tents, with only a few small outbuildings to provide support. The main building was destroyed in 2020 by a tornado.
In 2021, Maranatha Volunteers International was asked to construct an 8,000-square-foot facility that will house showers, restrooms, offices, a commercial kitchen, garage, medical room, and a large gathering space for meals and classes. When complete, these additional accommodations will expand the capacity of the station to serve up to 150 guests.
Throughout the month of August, 19 Maranatha volunteers came through the ranch to help frame the building. The next project here is set to begin on September 28, when volunteers will install the roof, frame more walls, and get the building closed in before winter. More volunteer projects will come in the spring.
Each year, Maranatha works with organizations in the United States and Canada to provide volunteer labor for various construction or renovation projects at summer camps and retreat centers, schools, and churches. Work ranges from renovations of existing buildings to new construction and saves thousands of dollars in labor costs.