"This little oxbow off the Grand River has a dead elephant in it, and I like to sit in my hot tub right here and look out at the idea that there were elephants frolicking in my back yard," smiles Steve Dodge.
It was about ten years ago when he was handed a massive rib bone that was found in his back yard. He knew immediately by how big it was that it was either a mastodon or a mammoth.
That's when he started digging for more.
"I put up 500 sandbags across the pond, pumped the water on the other side and started probing the mud for this and failed, spectacularly," Dodge laughs.
Many of the pieces of the animal are still somewhere beneath the pond or the ground around it, and Dodge says he wants to make sure that it stays in the community for kids to learn about.
"This should be in a local museum," Dodge explains, "a local school should come out and get this out of the water and appreciate that these creatures were in our back yard 11,000 years ago."
That's why he's taken the pieces that he's found so far to schools for show-and-tells.
"The kids love that kind of mindset and that's what you want to do is trigger kids to see their back yard in a much bigger scale. It's not sized this way," he motions from side to side, "there'a a historical depth."
Dodge believes that's worth more than letting it go to researchers at MSU of U of M.
"What it's worth is immeasurable in the eyes of a child who may become a scientist because they held ivory from someone's back yard... If I can make a scientist or two out of these things, I won. And the future will be better for it," Dodge exclaims with a smile.