FOSSIL Project Updates and Looking Forward to 2015

by Bruce MacFadden

The FOSSIL project has been busy on several fronts since our last newsletter. On October 4, the FOSSIL project participated in the National Fossil Day Celebration via a display table at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. Later in October, Austin Hendy, Lisa Lundgren, and Victor Perez promoted the FOSSIL project at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Lisa Lundgren, Victor Perez and Kristen MacKenzie representing FOSSIL at National Fossil Day event at the South Florida Museum
Lisa Lundgren, Victor Perez and Kristen MacKenzie representing FOSSIL at National Fossil Day event at the South Florida Museum
Victor Perez, Lisa Lundgren and Austin Hendy represented FOSSIL at GSA
Victor Perez, Lisa Lundgren, and Austin Hendy represented FOSSIL at GSA

Representatives of the FOSSIL project, including Kassie and Austin Hendy, Sharon Holte, and Adiel Klompmaker, made presentations to fossil clubs throughout the fall. I presented on the C. megalodon exhibit to the Florida Fossil Hunters in Orlando. During that trip, I toured the fossil exhibits at the Orlando Science Center and learned of the great activities sponsored by that club. In February 2015, Cristina Robins and Victor Perez are scheduled to present at fossil clubs in Florida.


Bonnie Cronin of the Florida Fossil Hunters with her horse evolution module
Bonnie Cronin, of the Florida Fossil Hunters club, with her horse evolution module

Since the summer we have engaged the services of a local web development firm, Atmosphere Apps, to design and develop the next version of the myFOSSIL web site. The new and improved version will provide the opportunity for collaboration among members of fossil clubs and professional paleontologists throughout the U.S. We plan to launch this new version of the web site in early 2015, and we hope that all FOSSIL participants will feel at home on this web site as we develop a national learning community among amateur and professional paleontologists.

We are pleased to report that communication among our participants by social media is rapidly expanding. In fact in late 2014 we passed 1,000 likes on Facebook and 359 followers on Twitter. See the article by Lisa Lundgren in this issue of the newsletter.

In November, Austin and Kassie Hendy moved westward to California where Austin has taken a new job as the Collections Manager of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. We thank Austin and Kassie for their contributions to the FOSSIL project and wish them the best as they start a new phase in their lives, along with their two young daughters, Lucy and Josephine.

Looking forward to 2015, we expect that our new myFOSSIL web site will be the engine that drives the FOSSIL project, and coordinates club and professional participation in cyberspace. It will promote club activities, individuals’ interests, and have a fossil photo gallery and e-library and K-12 educational resources, to name just a few of the major components of myFOSSIL.

FOSSIL-sponsored activities that are planned for 2015 include representation at the ever-popular Aurora Fossil Festival in North Carolina in May. Our participation will include a talk by UF PhD student Catalina Pimiento on Megalodon and a FOSSIL project display table. We are organizing a field conference to be held at the Calvert Marine Museum, in Solomons, Maryland immediately following the festival in North Carolina. We are in the process of developing a joint FOSSIL meeting with the Dallas Paleontological Society prior to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology to be hosted at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in October. As part of the goal of FOSSIL to expand our reach around the U.S. we are also in the initial stages of planning for other workshops, meetings and field trips during 2015. We are hoping that FOSSIL participants will plan to attend these events, as they represent special opportunities for partnerships involving active fossil clubs, the FOSSIL project and professional paleontologists and their societies.

We also are looking to expand our outreach to local fossil clubs throughout the U. S. during 2015. If your club has interest in having a speaker either representing, or supported by, the FOSSIL project to give a talk, please let us know and we will try to facilitate this on a first-come-first-serve basis. Depending upon travel costs, we should be able to support six talks to clubs. Preference will be given to clubs from regions outside of Florida and the southeast.

Contact us at [email protected]