Riverside California NAPC Convention 2019

By Linda McCall (@lmccall)

It was especially meaningful for me to attend the 50th Anniversary North American Paleontological Convention (NAPC) in Riverside, CA June 23-27 as a guest of the myFOSSIL Project.

These conventions are held every 5 years and I had attended the previous one in 2014 in Gainesville, FL at the kick-off of the myFOSSIL Project, so it was especially poignant for me to be attending this one at the Project’s close.

I am no stranger to working with professionals and presenting at paleontological conventions but I have  learned a lot in the ensuing years since the FOSSIL Project’s inception, becoming even more aware of the vast variety of opportunities that exist to interact with the broader professional community in a meaningful way.  The FOSSIL Project has also been invaluable in helping me connect with other amateur/avocational paleontologists from all across the country.  These are friendships that will last for the rest of my life and I am deeply indebted to the project for facilitating those introductions.

Presenting in the Two to Tango session. Photo by Sadie Mills.

As an active advocate for advancing the collaboration between the non-professional and the professionals sides of paleontology, this convention was particularly noteworthy in that for the first time ever (that I am aware of), an entire session was created by, dedicated to, and run by Amateur/avocational paleontologists.  Offered by the Dry Dredger Fossil Club from Ohio: Symposium 32: Two to Tango: amateur-professional interactions in advancing paleontological knowledge.  The session was chaired by Dry Dredger and Paleontological Society Strimple Award Winner Jack Kallmeyer and Dr. David Meyer.  There were 18 presentations – all well attended, some talks with over 60 in the audience.

It was an honor to be a part of this inaugural foray of the amateur/avocational community into the world of professionalism and I hope it will continue and serve as a model for future sessions to draw on.  The myFOSSIL Project and the NAPC Convention have enriched my life and I will be forever grateful for the lessons learned.