by Sadie Mills
After six exciting and rewarding years the FOSSIL Project, in its current form, is coming to a close. As a National Science Foundation-funded initiative the project was always intended to have a limited lifespan, but we are so proud of all that has been accomplished in just a few years. While many project activities will no longer be supported after September 30th of this year, we are glad to announce that several FOSSIL initiatives will continue. These include our website, eMuseum, and mobile app, although these will largely be supported by the efforts of knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers.
This summer, we celebrated FOSSIL accomplishments through a series of events at the 11th North American Paleontological Convention (NAPC) in Riverside, California. There, the FOSSIL Project helped support several symposia that welcomed diverse voices into the paleontological community. The first symposium– Engaging Diverse Communities in Paleontology: Innovative educational initiatives that connect culture to natural history, coordinated by Gabriel-Philip Santos, Isaac Magallanes, and Sadie Mills –explored unique ways to use paleontological education to reach new and diverse audiences. A second symposium– Two to Tango: amateur-professional interactions in advancing paleontological knowledge, coordinated by Jack Kallmeyer and Dave Meyer –focused on successful collaborations between amateur and professional paleontologists. Finally, FOSSIL’s own symposium– Past, Present, and Future of the FOSSIL Project, coordinated by Jennifer Bauer –showcased FOSSIL accomplishments and future directions.
FOSSIL sponsored nearly 50 individuals to attend this conference and share their experiences with social paleontology through these symposia, including teachers, museum educators, amateur paleontologists, and professional paleontologists. In this final issue of the FOSSIL Project newsletter, we deviate from our traditional collection of articles to bring you their perspectives on attending a paleontological conference and being a part of the greater paleontological world. To all members of FOSSIL’s community, we thank you for lending your support, giving your time, and sharing your expertise and passion for fossils with our social paleontology community.