by Bruce MacFadden
We are pleased to announce that the FOSSIL project has a new coordinator, Eleanor Gardner, who started with us in May. Eleanor is rapidly coming up to speed as an active member of the project team. Read more about Eleanor here.
During the past quarter, the FOSSIL project partnered with fossil clubs to promote activities of common interest that advance the science of paleontology and are building a national, networked community. On May 16th we participated in the 2nd Annual “Women in Paleontology” Day sponsored by the Florida Fossil Hunters (FFH) and held at the Orlando Science Center. The FOSSIL project sent five of our students who presented talks and hosted a display table. We are committed to broadening representation and encourage women to be engaged in paleontological activities, and we applaud the Florida Fossil Hunters for their leadership in this regard. There is considerable interest in having a 3rd Annual event, and a FOSSIL-sponsored “WiP Working Group” has been formed, consisting of Bonnie Cronin (FFH), Betty Dunckel (FOSSIL), Eleanor Gardner (FOSSIL), Cindy Lockner (FFH), and Lisa Lundgren (FOSSIL). We are seeking one or two other volunteers to be members of this working group, with priority placed on members of fossil societies or clubs who might want to participate from other parts of the U.S. For more information, contact Eleanor Gardner at [email protected].
In May, six members of the FOSSIL project participated in the Aurora Fossil Festival in NC during Memorial Day weekend. Two of our students, Catalina Pimiento and Victor Perez, presented talks about fossil sharks, and the team also hosted a FOSSIL display table. At the end of the weekend we traveled to the Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) in Solomons, MD, where we participated in a mini conference along with about 40 other members of a dozen fossil clubs. The formal talks, discussions, evening social fossil ID session (including sampling of the paleontologically-themed beer, Bone Dusters Paleo Ale), as well as the spectacular field trips all resulted in a rewarding and memorable experience. We thank both the Special Friends of the Aurora Fossil Museum club and the Calvert Marine Museum for welcoming us to their events; we especially thank University of Florida (UF) graduate student Victor Perez and CMM paleontologists, Stephen Godfrey and John Nance, for organizing the mini conference.
On June 15, George Phillips, a paleontology curator at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and FOSSIL outreach partner, traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas. There, he presented a paleontology program for the Mohawk District Cub Scout Day Camp. The theme of the day camp was “Jurassic Journey,” and George did a great job engaging over 100 young scouts. You can read more here.
In June (15-17th), the FOSSIL project partnered with iDigBio (www.idgibio.org), the national effort to digitize natural history museums (including 100 million fossils), to bring together 50 professionals, students, K-12 teachers, and members of eight fossil clubs to Gainesville for three days. At this 3D Digitization of Fossils Workshop, held on the UF campus, we learned about the recent advances in the 3D scanning and printing of fossils, particularly as these methods relate to research and education.
Over the past year we have been working with Atmosphere Apps to develop the next version of the myFOSSIL web portal. This has involved user testing of the web portal while in development. We thank the members of fossil societies and clubs who have helped us in this process and for their great suggestions and input to build the community resource. We will be launching the new and improved myFOSSIL.org soon, so stay tuned for further updates.