What is a Paleoblitz?

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    Victor Perez

    A Paleoblitz is a new initiative devised by the FOSSIL Project to give amateur paleontologists an opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes in museum collections, while also aiding the museum in the curation of important fossil finds. Often during collecting trips we return to the museum with an excess of fossils, but what happens to those fossils from that point on? The fossils that have high research priority/interest get cataloged immediately, other important finds that aren’t being researched will be cataloged eventually, and then specimens that are deemed non-scientifically significant typically end up in a bin used for outreach and/or education. This process inevitably results in uncataloged specimens going unnoticed for indeterminate amounts of time. To remedy this, a Paleoblitz will invite amateurs to join in for a cataloging/socializing workshop, with the goal of completely cataloging a single locality. Ideally, each Paleoblitz will also be centered around a research question related to the locality being cataloged.

    I would like to use this initial Paleoblitz forum to help construct the format of these Paleoblitz workshops (@lmccall @lcone @cferrara @rleder @bmacfadden @kcrippen @jnance). What are some ideas for activities/events that you would enjoy in conjunction with the Paleoblitz? What are some types of research questions that you might want to ask? (Also, please invite others to join in on this conversation!)

    During past museum-hosted workshops, activities have included collection tours, presentations (by professional and/or amateurs), collecting field trips, etc. Can we improve upon your experience with more activities?

    Chuck Ferrara

    Victor @vperez

    I think that’s a great idea! I was just up there in Gainesville on Sept 19 and Roger Portell was showing me how they are making room for new cabinets (I was asking all kinds of questions). The only specimens to be kept there will be identified or cataloged; the others that have not been will be kept at another location and they will bring a little at a time to work on. So, I think a “what happens after you donate a specimen” and go through the process step-by-step is a great start. Another could be the process of prepping a specimen which is heavily scaled. Then micro-fossils. And show how to label a specimen since not everyone does it the same. There is a lot of info on those labels explaining the process of labeling. You must be helping Roger make room for new cabinets and got the idea… haha. Count me in when you ID shark teeth. I would definitely love to do more behind the scenes and help out!

    Linda McCall

    Pizza is always good.  Suzanne Galligher @sgalligher should be in on this – she is very good with the education bit.  Most folks would come initially just to see behind the scenes, and hear about or see some project you guys are currently working on.

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