By Jason Kenworthy and Vincent Santucci, National Park Service
Fossils are an integral part of our national heritage. Fossils have been found in every state and span well over a billion years of geologic time. They have defined our understanding of the history of life on earth and provide clues for life on a changing planet. Millions of Americans are inspired by fossils every day at museums, parks and fossil sites.
There are plenty of reasons to celebrate!
National Fossil Day is a celebration organized by the National Park Service, the American Geoscience Institute, and more than 300 partners across the country to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values. National Fossil Day is held annually on the Wednesday of Earth Science Week and will be celebrated on October 15 in 2014. The first National Fossil Day was held in 2010 and since then, hundreds of events have been hosted nationwide.
National Fossil Day is very much a local celebration and hosting a National Fossil Day event is an opportunity to highlight the stories told by fossils near you and how they contribute to stories told across the country. Fossil clubs and societies are one just one type of partner and we encourage your group to consider becoming a partner and hosting an event. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out the National Fossil Day event hosting page for ideas and more information about joining the National Fossil Day partnership, identifying, planning, registering, and promoting your event. The type of event is completely up to you. Past events have included fossil identification tables, special lectures, field trips, or even a sing-a-long with the National Fossil Day song. Some groups incorporate the National Park Service Junior Paleontologist activity book for kid-friendly events.
The National Fossil Day website is the source for all things National Fossil Day. At the website, you can learn more about the day and events across the country. You can access fossil-themed group activities, meet more than 300 partners, and visit fossil parks and sites. Monthly feature articles highlight partners and their spectacular fossil stories. An annual art and photography contest provides opportunities for you to showcase your artistic talents. The “Kid Stuff” pages include stories about kids in paleontology, “meet a paleontologist” and online games and activities. Every year artwork is produced that features a fossil or ancient ecosystem from the United States. This year the logo features a Triassic reptile known as an aetosaur (aeto = “eagle”; saur = “reptile”) and the website highlights partners preserving Mesozoic ecosystems. You can also visit National Fossil Day on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information or to get involved with National Fossil Day, contact the NFD team at [email protected].