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Found 20 results

  1. It is becoming to Fossils on Wheels tradition to do a program way ahead of schedule lol I just booked our first marine mammal themed program This is about 5 months before I thought we would be ready but we do not turn down opportunities to do our thing in a classroom. The program is a look at the Miocene featuring marine mammal and shark fossils. We have just enough fossil material to touch on the West and East Coasts of the United States during this time. In fact, we have just enough material to do the program at all but we did this with dinosaurs last year and it worked out just fine. I am really quite excited to talk about marine mammals. This is something I wanted to do last spring but we figured Dinosaurs would be the program that got us attention. Now we can have a little fun and expand on what we can already do quite well. Carter and I can follow the same formula of scientific information enhanced with touch fossils. We have some cool material from STH including some nice touch fossils, a couple of decent Cetacean pieces from the East Coast and shark fossils. We may not have all the fossils that I would want to do this with but I think we have enough to give the kiddos a really great hands-on experience. We can explore some interesting Cetacean adaptations such as echolocation, intelligence, communication, and migration. We can discuss the different feeding styles of whales and why they super-sized themselves. We can balance these adaptations with shark adaptations and fun facts about evolution and theories regarding the extinction of Megalodon. This also gives a chance to really get into the fauna of Sharktooth Hill. I grew up a few hours from STH and it remains the only formation I have collected in personally. We use a number of sharks from STH in the shark program but this is different. We will focus on it while touching on the East Coast of the US. I am pretty excited to get into detail about a really cool part of the natural history of California with our local kiddos. It is going to be fun and I feel pretty confident that we can pull this one off. I have three weeks to work on the presentation plus the kids will get free fossils which helps. I will be nervous like I was when we debuted the dinos but that is not a bad thing. It drove me to make sure we did our absolute best in every presentation. I am excited and will update TFF on the how well this one is received since there are so many STH collectors on the here !!
  2. After spending the summer being more of a collector than an educator, it is time to get into educator mode. We had a good run in the spring and surpassed our own expectations. Carter and I set a big goal for this year. We want to triple the 700+ students we provided fossil education for last year. 2100 students is the goal for this year. It is going to take a lot of work but we are up to the challenge. We are already booking programs in Chico and we are starting to get some interest from schools in Fresno, Sacramento and Redding. We may end up traveling quite a bit more than anticipated this year. All of the programs we have on the schedule right now are from schools we did not get to last year too which seems a good omen. We are going to do 5th and possibly 6th grade programs this year in addition to the 2nd-4th programs. We added an Intro to Fossils program for the 2nd graders and the 5th grade program will feature some Miocene marine mammal material which I am super excited about. I think the bulk of the programs will be Dinosaurs but I am going to really push sharks this year too. We got our new displays done and added some really cool fossils to show the kids. I think the science is stronger this year as I really studied pretty hard. I even did some work on the Facebook page which I totally neglected last year lol I can not say we will give away fossils to all of the kids this year but we did restart the fossil give away program this year too. Right now we have about 200 shark teeth to give away so we know the first few programs will be covered. I should be able to pick up 100 or so more shark teeth in early October. We will do our best to get fossils to as many kids as we can and I hope surpass the 700 mark again this year however we made sure to tell teachers it is a first come first serve part of the program. The best part of the season will be working with my son all the time. He is out of high school and ready to work. The art is coming along and we will be razor sharp with the presentation material. I will not be around on TFF much so no more bad shark identifications lol but I will get updating our progress throughout the year including pictures ( we will have release forms !). I will not be adding more fossils except for give away stuff until December at the earliest so the collector in me is going to be sitting on the sidelines. That is okay because it is time to work We want to once again thank all of our friends on the forum who have contributed to Fossils on Wheels. You have all made this a much better organization and we would not be doing this again without the support we have gotten.
  3. New Dinosaur Education Displays

    We did a lot more work on our shark stuff this summer than dinosaurs but we did change how display the non touch fossils. We added a few new items too but stayed light on additions. First up is our updated Cretaceous North Africa display. We added a really nice theropod tooth that fits @Troodon ‘s Morph Type 4 Dromaeosaurid-like profile hence the label for the program. We explain the ID difficulties of fossils so for a tooth like this they know we are not sure of what critter had this tooth. I am pretty happy with how this one looks. We give a nice picture of Cretaceous North Africa from two different times. This is an important part of our program and we have some nice fossils I think. We also have two touch fossils with this section. A limb bone that we go with Spino as the critter and one is a theropod very that we use to talk about Deltadromeus.
  4. I was recently reading some studies on extant sharks to see if there was a way we could incorporate a more direct message about extant shark conservation in our future education programs. I was struck by the plight of Angelsharks and decided to make this special animal a featured species in next years programs. We have a great opportunity to bring some awareness to the conservation issues that these sharks face while doing our fossil education programs with Project Angelshark. Carter and I have decided to donate a percentage of each paid education program to the Angelshark Conservation Network in addition to featuring them in the program. We may also do some T-shirts to sell with proceeds going to the same cause. I spent many years working in wildlife conservation and we wanted to work this idea into our programs which is difficult when you are dealing with fossil education. The Angelshark is the perfect critter for us to start with because they extend back to the Jurassic and we should be able to trace their history in the fossil record pretty effectively. Some extant Angelsharks are critically endangered and they are not exactly the public face of shark conservation, even though they could be. They are pretty cute. We can make a small impact on the effort to save them by teaching kids about them. They are found in California and this helps us in our goal of connecting kids to modern species here through fossils. They are a specialized shark with some cool adaptations which makes them perfect for the education program in that sense too. We currently have a possible Squatinadae tooth from the Jurassic and our lone STH Squatina tooth. We need to fill in the blank spaces between the Jurassic and Miocene but I think we can accomplish that over the summer. As a collector, it seems an attainable goal to put together a nice collection of Squatina teeth without breaking the bank. One of our goals in splitting the program into two presentations was to work in more modern shark families and a focus on Angelsharks fits that idea beautifully. We are very proud of this idea and it is something we will repeat going forward. I feel like this is an excellent cause for us to take up and a wonderful chance to help the conservation effort for these sharks. I am pretty excited about this project. It combines some of my favorite things: sharks, fossils, education, and Carter's artwork
  5. 715 free fossil kits. That is the number. We have three individual class presentations left and a small assembly type for two classes. Adding up those students with the students we have already done presentations for put us right around 715 for the spring. Every teacher got fossil kits for future students to enjoy too. The fossils we gave away we are a combination of our own fossils, fossils we purchased, and a hell of a lot of donated fossils from TFF members. The kids knew that most of the fossils were given to us to give to them from very generous people. That is 700+ kids that got take fossil home and hopefully that inspires further interest in fossils and natural history. It has been such a great thing to see the kids light up and see them talking about it with each other and comparing fossils. I will spend most of today preparing the kits for this week. I have not kept track of the time I put into the giveaways but i can say MOST Sundays since early March have been spent watching golf while preparing these kits all day lol EVERY student and teacher got shark teeth. We mixed in fossils from the Devonian through Pleistocene. Kids got coral, gastropods, brachipods, crinoid stems, bivalves, sand dollars, croc bones, a few mosasaur teeth, and dino bone fragments plus other stuff I am forgetting. The fossils came from all over the world. I am really proud of this and grateful to all the members who donated. Our supplies will be completely exhausted and that is okay with me We made a difference. That WE includes our TFF friends. You are part of the Fossils on Wheels education programs. We could not have done this without you.
  6. We have wrapped up our shark adaptation programs for this season. We still have at least 5 dinosaur programs left, possibly up to 9 but sharks are done for the spring. We have an abundance of shark adaptations that we covered in these 1 hour long presentations but I am ambitious. Next school year, we are splitting the program and offering a much more comprehensive two part program. We can really deep dive on the shark science and work in more sharks. I am in the process of slowly adding some things to improve the program. We picked up a pretty little Caseodus tooth, some Orthacanthus playpternus teeth and Lissodus selachos tooth. I think we have found a Venustodus tooth and will finally be adding a Hybodus spine (fingers crossed). I am quite happy with the Carboniferous and Cretaceous shark material we have. We are well covered in the Miocene as well. There is a big hole though and I have decided to open this up to TFF members for suggestions. We have only a few tiny Hybodont teeth to cover the Triassic and Jurassic sharks. Splitting the program essentially means we would end the first program at the end of the Jurassic leaving the awesome Cretaceous sharks and the giants of the Miocene for the second program. The kids have loved the early sharks but I need to bolster the post Permian extinction sharks. Though mostly small sharks, these sharks are really important. There survival allowed modern sharks to develop. I want to present enough species not to just fill in space but to draw a far more complete picture of what sharks survived the Permian and how they did it. I know options are limited but we can do better than 3 small Hybodont teeth. We do explain the Xenacanthids survived the Great Dying but they disappear relatively quickly after it. This is where we need your help. What Triassic and Jurassic sharks can we and should we add? I figure we need an additional 5-6 sharks to cover. We do not need many but we do need to expand on this par tof the program so give us suggestions or thoughts if you know your sharks from this time. We love the ideas we get from our knowledgeable friends here. You have helped us craft thes eprograms and make them better so let's do that again lol
  7. I do not want to brag but I am going to just a little We did our note taking dinosaur adaptation program yesterday and it was really pretty awesome. Every kid in both classes took notes and they were among the most engaged students I have ever worked with. I already knew these kids from an earlier shark presentation so they were really pretty excited. They knew their dinosaurs but we were able to expand their knowledge and get them excited about new dinosaurs. We will be doing more these dual standard programs next year for sure. This was also the first presentation i had done where I got to work in information about the evolution of flight that came directly from one of leading experts on this subject in the world, Jingmai O' Connor. I had the pleasure of getting some information from her via email and it paid off in the form of more accurate information. This was also the program where our tiny Avisaurus tooth made its debut and it may be the last appearance for that tooth before it goes on a journey of scientific importance in the near future. Our program was so good yesterday that the students want us to come back to their classroom for round three before the end of the school year !!!
  8. Today is a big day for Fossils on Wheels. It is our first multiple school, multiple program adventure. Three programs at two schools, 1 shark and 2 dino programs. I am excited to the point of being hyper, which could also be due to too much coffee lol This is a great challenge for me as I have to rapidly switch gears from shark adaptations to dinosaur adaptations. It is a physical challenge as well just setting up the different programs. My son is at school today so it is all me though he will be with me for a program tomorrow. By the end of today, more than 100 students will have gotten fossil education and free fossil starter kits. It took me several hours yesterday to reload our supply of fossils kits as we have already given out more than I anticipated but this is a fantastic problem to have
  9. The response to our programs has been almost unbelievable to me. We booked an additional 5 programs this week and will be working almost non-stop until the end of the school year !! It going so well that I am now concerned about having enough fossils to give away to all of the students. This is not a problem that I had foreseen as I did not expect to be this busy. I am going to have to get more shark teeth and we had ALOT of shark teeth to give away. I am really happy about this. The first teacher we did a program for told us that we would be working year around in no time and it appears he was right. We will spend the summer putting our name out there with events like a Dino Day at the Library and an activity at the small science museum that I work for plus some summer camp gigs are not out of the question. As an educator, all of this fills me with a great deal of pride. We are nailing every program and each one gets better. The feedback has been awesome. The need for better supportive education is significant in our area and we are delivering that. I am learning on the fly about dinosaur fossil collecting and The Fossil Forum has proven to be an invaluable resource. I thank people here pretty frequently and this is just another thank you. There is no way we would be having this level of early success without the knowledge, support and donations of fossil material from the members. I am very sincere in saying we could not do this without you. Each kid that gets a program from us has taken home knowledge and fossils. We are making an impact and that to me is the reason for doing this. Carter and I are extremely grateful to all of you
  10. I don't know if this is a fossilized tooth or not but I thought it might possible be. It's a gentleman's watch fob mounted in 14K gold and dates from the mid to late 1800's. Teeth were commonly used in this fashion but I have never seen a fob with a tooth like this. Can anyone identify it for me? I spent countless hours researching but couldn't find another tooth like it. The tooth is approximately 3/4 inches long. Thank you so much for any help you can provide.
  11. We had two really great Dinosaur programs this week. We have two more Dino programs and a shark program next week too so things are rolling along very nicely for us. I did notice this week that we are missing out on an opportunity to give a broader picture of the paleoecology of the dinosaur era. The kids yesterday wanted to see Pterosaur and marine reptile fossils. We had a chance to really explain the difference between those reptiles and dinosaurs because we have yet to acquire those fossils. I wanted to open this topic to TFF members because I respect the knowledge of fossils and the animals that left the fossils behind that our friends have. We need to round out our programs and I need to begin learning more about dinosaur age animals that were not dinosaurs. We do have croc teeth that will start going with us and I am putting together a display of dinosaur era shark teeth to keep in the dino program bin. Now that I have a better handle on how much material we can fit into an hour long program, I can tighten up the program and find a few minutes to cover non dinosaurs. This is where we need your help. I want to know what critters from the age of dinosaurs you think we should be touching on. What animals do I need to start looking into getting fossil representatives from and what critters do i need to study ? I thought it might be really fun to get the opinions of our friends and have the great minds here contribute to the material cover. This is open to all forum members so give us your thoughts and knowledge. Help us further our education goals by creating a more well rounded program !
  12. Today we debuted the Jurassic sauropod bones we picked up and Camarasaurus was the dino of the day. The kids loved the fused ribs and each kid got to touch them. We also passed around the Trike frill as usual plus some smaller Camarasaurus bones. This was by far our most interactive program yet and the students really responded. We ended up covering fewer dinosaurs but it did not matter to the kids. They were so excited to get to touch real dino fossils. This was a very informative program for me. The more of these we do, the more I believe that we need to keep adding bones the kids can touch. The display fossils are great but it is really the hands-on experience that makes the biggest impact. We are developing a niche as the dudes that will let you touch dino bones lol The best part of the program is always the end when we pass out the free fossils. Today was Goblin shark and Lemon shark teeth with bivalves and Gastropods. 26 students got those fossils plus we left some with the teacher for future students. 3 students that volunteered to help other students get to touch fossils were given Camarasaurus bone fragments for the volunteer work. Another great day of fossil education and making kids smile !
  13. We were asked to comeback to 2 classrooms we had done a shark presentation for and do dinos ! Very cool but the teachers threw me a curve. They want a program aimed at teaching kids note taking and writing short essay answers from the notes. This is quite different than just talking about adaptations or the geology of fossils. I happily said yes and now I have two weeks to plan an entirely different theme but this will help us going forward as it gives us another style of program to offer teachers. I am pretty stoked that the teachers though enough of our program to invite us back and have us help the students build some skills. Quite a compliment for a program just getting started I think
  14. I am super excited to say we are adding a couple of fossils from Canada. Part of working on getting a 501c3 is making sure we operate within our own bi laws and working with any laws that govern whatever it is you do in your non profit. I saw a dealer with some Canadian fossils from the Horseshoe Canyon formation that came with a disposition from the Canadian government. I saw an opportunity to grab a few fossils that not only add something to our presentations but gave us legally obtained fossils from our neighbors to the north. The dealer was kind enough to work with us on holding a couple of items that were within our budget. There are some really interesting dinosaurs in Horseshoe Canyon and while we did not add anything rare or spectacular, I am quite happy with what we did pick up. We got our Ankylosaurus scute. We had been looking to pick one up and we were not finding anything affordable. Not only is the one we picked up from Horseshoe Canyon, it was quite affordable for us. I am not yet sure which Anky we will talk about in our program but either way this was a great addition. I think it compliments our "Zuul" tooth very nicely and the kids will really like seeing some of that Anky armor. We also picked up a toe bone from a Ceratopsian. The kids really liked learning about animals other than Triceratops so I jumped at the chance to add one from this formation. Like the Anky scute, the genus and species is indet but I am pretty sure we will talk about Pachyrhinosaurus when we show this fossil. It is a cool critter with a cool name. We talk a lot about Ceratopsians so this was an easy choice. We also added something really cool. We got a Dromaeosaurid tooth. When I purchased it, the seller had said it was from Judith River and labeled it as Dromaeosaurus albertensis. It is not from Judith River. It was actually collected from Red Deer River Badlands near Drumheller in Alberta. I am pretty sure it is actually from Horseshoe Canyon which means it is not Dromaeosaurus. The only described raptor from that formation is Atrociraptor. I will get around to posting better pictures and seeking an ID from TFF members eventually but for now am quite good with going with Atrociraptor for education programs. It was a pretty fearsome looking creature and also pretty different from the other raptors we present. Sure, I whiffed on Dromaeosaurus again but I am not complaining. It is another really nice tooth and we add another dinosaur to educate the kiddos about. This also gives us a theropod from the formation which rounds out the presentation nicely. I am pretty sure the tooth is also legal as it was collected in the 60's and has been in the US since the 70's. Anyway, here are the fossils minus the toe bone which I do not have a picture of yet.
  15. Read that title and imagine a cheesy 80's TV commercial from your local furniture store lol We booked 4 more programs which means at least 130 more free fossil start kits will end up in the hands of local kids We received a fantastic donation from @Flx of some dinosaur bones, including some chunkasaurus bones. Carter and I decided to match that so we donated some chunkasaurus bones from our Jurassic purchase. We can now mix in dinosaur bones for the kids which is really pretty cool. It is an awesome feeling to see the kids react to getting fossils. It makes all the hard work well worth it. My best guess right now is that by the end of the school year, we will have provided education for over 1,000 kids and given away 500 free fossil kits. We do not have the supplies to give away fossils at the large school wide presentations but that gives us a goal to work towards. Another huge thank you to all who have donated fossils and helped us with knowledge and support. We could not do this without all of you !
  16. Fossils on Wheels can officially say we are an elementary assembly program We will be doing two presentations for all of the students at Nord Country Day School. it is a small charter in the middle of farm country here. I personally love the single class presentations because they allow you to interact with the students in a more in-depth manner. The assembly style programs are our best way to travel to schools outside of city though. We can educate an entire school versus 30-35 students at a time. This is pilot program but it is very important to our future to develop a large scale traveling fossil program. Things are moving very quickly for us and we are starting to reach large numbers of students. A big leap forward for us and a chance to bring real fossils to an entire school. This will also be the debut for our Diplodocus fossil which is our largest piece. I am really excited to bring Dippy to a presentation.
  17. Yesterday we knocked out our first Dinosaur Rock education program, tomorrow we do our first 3 Sharks Through Time education program. Unlike Monday when I was pretty nervous about our first program ever, I am relaxed and ready to talk about shark adaptations over 400 million years. We have nice fossil displays, the science is strong, and FREE shark tooth laden fossil starter kits. A HUGE thank you goes out to all who donated. Those donations are getting into the hands of kids We will hand out 100 fossil kits tomorrow and by the end of our first official week of operation, close to 150 fossil starter kits will be in the hands of local elementary students. That is not a bad first week at all.
  18. We just wrapped up our first official fossil education program and it was AWESOME !! I let my son miss his last two classes of the day so we could do our first program together. We talked about how fossils are formed. We showed the kids some awesome fish fossils, our 5 inch Meg and some big whale fossils. Most of the program was about dinosaurs and we covered quite a bit of ground. The kids got to touch and feel Trike frill pieces. They saw T-Rex teeth and raptor teeth. We showed them fossils from a Titanosaur and Spinosaurs. We introduced them to Ornithiomimid dinosaurs and they learned about an Anky named Zuul. We wrapped our hour long program by giving 35 2nd grade students free fossil starter kits which was the highlight of the day. To all who have donated fossils, passed on knowledge and encouraged us....THANK YOU. All of the donations and support are putting fossils into the hands of kids and spreading natural history education. My favorite part was having Carter there with me. This is a fantastic start for us and it appears the future is very bright for Fossils on Wheels. All of the hard work we have put in is absolutely worth it and the faces of the kids at the end of the hour reflected that.
  19. We have officially booked our first dinosaur education program A local teacher actually used The Fossil Forum to find us and ask us if we did dinosaur programs. We are dinosaur educators. The program is actually two days before our first official Fossils on Wheels shark program. I would never have thought our first program would be dinosaurs because we were not planning on even offering dinosaurs until the fall of this year. We are 9 months ahead of schedule but the demand is there so off we go in the wild world of dinosaurs. I am excited and a little nervous as I have less than two weeks to get myself ready. Thanks to donations from TFF members we have fossils to give these kiddos and we are going to have a lot of fun with this presentation. We get to talk about how fossils form and introduce the kids to the some awesome dinosaurs. I hope this is the first of many to come !! Thank you to The Fossil Forum and its members who have been so supportive and welcoming to us. Without your help, we would not be doing this.
  20. Today is my last day off before I go back to work and I was supposed to spend the day making fossil starter kits. I have a cold though and I do not want the kids to think that 12 million year old shark teeth gave them a cold lol I am pretty bored so I thought I would post about our Judith River dinosaur fossils and how we are going to get discuss this formation. I am really surprised how much I am enjoying learning about these dinosaurs and this will be a formation that we spend a good bit of time on. It must have had some very productive ecosystems and there is a great diversity here to discuss. The kids will also get to see some familiar dinosaur families while learning about species that are new to them. I think during adaptation related presentations, this formation lets us get into ecological niches and discuss how two Tyrannosaurids existed as did at least two species of Dromaeosaurids and a Troodonitd plus other predators including non dinos. That is a lot of hungry mouths so niche selection and adaptations become very important. THere is also a great diversity of herbivores in this formation. I love the Ceratopsians from this formation and the diversity gives my son a lot of artistic options. We currently have one tooth but by the time we present we will have a couple more I think. This allows us to present a few species and say the teeth are not diagnostic so the teeth could have belonged to one or more really cool looking horned dinosaurs. This also gives the kids knowledge that there other Ceratopsians besides Triceratops. This will also be the point where we introduce Dromaeosaurids. Raptors are just iconic and this formation gives us the chance to really hit on adaptations. We have a Saurornitholestes tooth and will soon have a Dormaeosaurid caudal vertebra. While not assigned specifically to Dromaeosaurus, the vert will presented that way so we can talk about the differences between the two raptors. Of particular interest is the larger skull, more robust teeth, and specific wear patterns on the teeth of Dromaeosaurus. We will also have a small tooth tip from a Tyrannosaur indet. The kids will love learning about other Tyrannosaurids and I will leave it to the kids to imagine which one it belonged to. The real owner of the tooth is not important. That two existed in this formation is what is important. They must have occupied different niches plus a lot of kids may think T-Rex was the only member of that family. The last fossil I know we will have from Judith River is one of my favorites. It is an Ankylosaurus tooth and thanks to some help from TFF members, I spotted this among a few Nodosaur teeth. In our inventory, this is Ankylosaurus indet. However, in every single dinosaur presentation we do this will be Zuul and it will be a rock star. We want the kids to understand that there are many new discoveries being made and there will be a lot of new dinosaur discoveries made by THEIR generation. Everything about Zuul will be cool to kids. It is the one of the most incredible fossils ever found, armored dinosaurs are just cool, and it even has a pop culture name that a lot of kids will recognize from Ghostbusters lol Only 5 fossils but we can do A LOT of quality education with these fossils. I also have a very clear idea of the next items to find from Judith River. #1 on that list is a Dromaeosaurus tooth. A tooth gives us the perfect way of illustrating the difference between the raptors. We have two more purchases to complete before I buy again so I will save up and in the spring I start searching for that tooth. I also would love to add a hadrosaur bone from this formation and eventually I will track down a frill piece. Anyway, here a couple of the fossils... Pic 1- our Saurornitholestes tooth. Not a great picture but a really nice tooth. Pic 2- the Dormaeosaurid indet vert. Not here yet but will be right around my B-day. Pic 3- the Anky tooth. It is just a cool tooth and Zuul is a great dinosaur to teach kids about so Zuul is what this tooth is for Fossils on Wheels. Our only fossil from an armored dinosaur.