by Linda McCall, President – North Carolina Fossil Club; Research Fellow – University of Texas at Austin
The FOSSIL Project is a wonderful and well-thought out creation, and I think it is perfect for its intended purpose: to bring professional and amateur paleontologists together to share paleo-related outreach with the broader community by communicating electronically through the myFOSSIL web portal, engaging in training and development, attending meetings and workshops, and by digitizing collections (both personal and institutional) for public use. That is its focus and is appropriate.
It is also clear that the FOSSIL Project was perfectly correct when your research indicated that we in the amateur/avocational fossil community are not well-networked. In studying that, I have come to realize that our community needs to have a voice, and that voice needs to come from us.
We are a valuable and overlooked resource in the field of paleontology, and the more we can unite and demonstrate to those in the professional community and the government just what that value is, the better off we will be.
To that end, I intend to create a National Amateur/Avocational Fossil Association, modeled in part after the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, to be the hub for the amateur/avocational community. This will provide a forum for concentrating our efforts while keeping abreast of current events, gathering and disseminating information relevant to our world, and unifying our voice in political matters and other arenas.
I feel this new organization will live on well beyond the mandate of FOSSIL, and I want it to be a compliment to the FOSSIL Project – not a competitor. I believe that if structured correctly, the two entities could be symbiotic, partnering together for the greater good of both.
I will be in contact with each member organization of FOSSIL to solicit feedback, and I look forward to and would appreciate any guidance, advice, and insights you might have as we move forward with this process.
You can contact me at [email protected].