by Eleanor E. Gardner
The past few months have been very busy for the FOSSIL Project team!
In September, Bruce MacFadden was officially announced as President-Elect of the Paleontological Society. For more information about this, see his new column “News from the Paleontological Society” in this issue.
On October 22, Victor Perez and fellow graduate student Sean Moran helped to run the fossil shark pop-up exhibit portion of the UF Cultural Plaza Festival. At the pop-up exhibit, visitors interacted with professional and amateur paleontologists and received identification help with their own fossil collections. Later, on November 17, Victor gave a talk about the FOSSIL Project to the Fossil Club of Lee County at their monthly meeting. If you’d like to have a FOSSIL-sponsored speaker come to your club/society meeting, please contact us at [email protected].
Before moving back to Germany on November 28 to start his new job as a museum director, Ronny Leder participated in his last U.S. fossil festival – at the Southwest Florida Fossil Society’s Fossil Expo in Punta Gorda, FL, on November 12. At the Fossil Expo, Ronny promoted the myFOSSIL online community, distributed Florida fossil permit application forms, and shared information about volunteering on a FLMNH fossil dig.
On November 13, the FOSSIL team sent Lisa Lundgren, Michelle Barboza, and Sharon Holte to run a table at the 2016 FLMNH “She’s A Scientist: A Girl Scout Exploration” event. Girls from ages 5-12 completed three activities toward earning an earth-science Girl Scout badge, including making their own trace fossils. By far the most popular activity was the makeshift photo booth where girls had fun posing as different kinds of paleontologists.
On November 30, the first FOSSIL Project webinar series, which was entitled “Fundamentals of Fossils,” came to a close. Rachel Narducci of FLMNH gave an excellent presentation on fossil preparation tools, methods, and practices. You can read summaries of the last three webinars in Joyce Drakeford’s compilation article in this issue. If you’d like to watch recordings of any of the webinars, go to http://www.myfossil.org/video-tutorials/. And be sure to mark your calendar for January 25, when the second FOSSIL Project webinar series begins! The theme for our second series is “Women in Paleontology” and our first speaker will be California-based paleontologist and science educator, Tara Lepore. We are also happy to announce that the Paleontological Society and the iDigBio Project are once again partnering with us in presenting the new webinar series.
In early December, Lisa Lundgren, Kent Crippen, Eleanor Gardner, Victor Perez, and Ronny Leder received the news that their paper proposal was accepted for presentation at the April 2017 National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) conference. This proposal forms the basis for a larger manuscript which will be published later on in 2017. Another manuscript, co-authored by Victor, Ronny, Lisa, Kent, Betty Dunckel, and Shari Ellis, on the 2016 PaleoBlitz is in the final stages of preparation and will be submitted to a journal at the beginning of the New Year.
A new team member was officially brought onto the FOSSIL Project in December. Jeanette Pirlo splits her time between GABI-RET and FOSSIL, where she is responsible for promoting K-12 engagement, providing content knowledge, and helping with administrative tasks. Jeanette comes to Florida from the Central Coast region of California, where she earned a B.S. in marine biology and oceanography from UC-Santa Cruz. She recently applied to the Biology Ph.D. program at UF where, if accepted, she would study marine paleobiology under Bruce MacFadden starting in Fall 2017.
On December 7, the Department of the Interior released new proposed regulations under the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act and opened the proposal for public comment. Comments can be made through February 6, 2017. Be sure to read a thoughtful summary and critique of the new PRPA regulations, authored by Mike Nelson (current officer of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and former geology professor), and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the act provided by the Paleontological Society; both are re-printed in this issue. Also in this issue, see our PRPA infographic for guidance on posting comments. For step-by-step video help on commenting, check out http://www.myfossil.org/video-tutorials/#tutorial_6.
Last but not least, we highly encourage members of the FOSSIL community to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations in our special theme session at the 2017 Northeast/North-Central GSA joint section meeting. The abstract submission deadline is FAST APPROACHING – 11:59pm Pacific time on January 3, 2017! The meeting will take place March 19-21 at the Omni William Penn hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, and our special theme session is entitled “FOSSIL Collaborations: Enhancing Paleontology through Professional and Amateur Partnerships.” We invite abstracts from professionals, amateurs, university students, and K-12 educators. Funding is available for session presenters to help defray the cost of travel; contact Eleanor Gardner at [email protected] for more information. Details about attending the GSA meeting and submitting an abstract are available at: http://geosociety.org/Sections/ne/2017mtg/techprog.htm. We are also excited to announce that several session co-chairs, such as Jayson Kowinsky and Cathy Young, along with officers of the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society are arranging a fabulous field trip for Saturday, March 18, prior to the GSA meeting. The field trip plans tentatively include a tour of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and visiting a fossil fern site. For more information, or for help crafting an abstract, please contact Eleanor Gardner at [email protected].