By Louis Stieffel, President, Fossil Club of Lee County
We participate in and enjoy a unique hobby. Most people usually express surprise and comment “Really?” “Here?” when we explain that we collect fossils, especially here in SW Florida. So, frequently we are asked to provide a speaker for small groups, explaining our fossil hunting and collecting adventures. We are very fortunate to have someone in our fossil club who actively seeks out these opportunities to share the knowledge, adventure and passion of paleontology, especially to the children. His name is Zack Deyo.
It is surprising, though, that this particular member is doing this, because, you see, Zack is only 15 years old! And, he has actually been giving talks for over a year already, and has recently expanded his involvement by leading actual fossil hunting trips for school aged groups.
Zack is, believe it or not, very quiet and almost painfully shy at our meetings. Yet he overcomes this and does what most folks do not want to do–speak before a public group. To see Zack at a meeting you would never guess he does public speaking, yet he does, and is growing quite a long list of engagements. His talks include a RSW Airport lecture for TSA employees, two lectures and fossil displays at the Golisano Children’s museum of Naples, two lectures at the 2013 National Fossil Day Show, a senior lecture at the Emeritus assisted living facility, and a talk at Dino Days at the Coconut Point Mall in Estero; Zack also headed a shark camp in Naples at the end of July and led a river fossil hunt for the club during the low water season.
As the club president I usually get the requests from groups who express a desire to have a talk about fossils. Zack makes my job of lining up a speaker for these groups easier, as he is always willing to do so, as long as school work allows. His dad supports him fully in his speaking endeavors and helps get him to the various locations, because, you see, Zack is still too young to drive! Zack is an asset to the Fossil Club of Lee County and we are glad he is such an integral part of our organization.
Zack will be a sophomore in high school this year and will be facing new adventures in school, but still plans to continue his public speaking and opening the eyes and minds of the uninitiated to the wonders and knowledge of paleontology!
Do you have a club member or know an amateur whose contributions you would us like to highlight? Please contact Shari Ellis, newsletter editor at [email protected]