Huge slabs of weathered shale and slate run down the local stream nearby. Lifting pieces up can introduce you to a large number of different fern fossils. There are bits of Lepidophylloides and pieces of Lepidodendron bark.
The ferns could be Neuropteris or Pecopteris, and I am leaning towards Pecopteris.
An interesting story I found recently focuses on the origin of coal. It appeared on Earth due to a complete lack of things that ate wood. Without something consuming the wood, all of the stored energy in the tree stayed on the ground and turned into the coal we see today.
The Fantastically Strange Origin of Most Coal on Earth by National Geographic