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Volunteer Opportunities with the FLMNH

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digit

Exciting times in Florida. The Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) has announced the volunteer opportunities for 2016. More information can be found directly from their website:

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http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/volunteering/field/

This year the Thomas Farm site will have a limited opportunity for field work--April 4-8 which is a Monday-Friday (no weekends). The reason for the minimal field work at Thomas Farm is actually for a good reason--they are focused on a brand new site! A new fossil site (on private property) southwest of Gainesville near the town of Williston is showing signs of being spectacular. Unlike the random disarticulated finds at the Thomas Farm sinkhole, the new site seems to contain some associated skeletons. They have already found gomphothere and rhino and there have been signs of llama, horse, and some carnivores. Additionally, there is a high diversity of turtles (6 species so far) as well as fish and gators.

The sign-up for Thomas Farm won't be till early March but the extended field season at the new site is already underway (started last Saturday). The link above contains an application form with the schedule of days that they are digging at this new site. If you've got the opportunity and interest to see a brand new site as it is uncovered, don't miss this opportunity--you'll regret it later if you do.

I encourage any TFF members looking for a rewarding volunteer experience to give this a try. If you do, you are, of course, obligated to take lots of cool photos and post a trip report here. I'm going to try to make time for the short Thomas Farm week and I've already put in for a block of time in mid-March at the new site. If I have the time I'll try to make it up for a second trip to the new site before the season is over on May 13.

Don't delay--volunteer opportunities to work side-by-side with experts like Dr. Richard Hulbert don't come along every day.

[End of infomercial]

Cheers.

-Ken

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Shellseeker

Gomph & Rhino !!!

Is this for young and vigorous or just for those without a day job?

Sounds like an adventure!! and maybe if we have a TFF member on the dig , we can get a trip report and some photos!!!

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Grimlock

It sounds awesome. I am going to try and see if I can make it work. Thanks for keeping us informed Ken.

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digit

Gomph & Rhino !!!

Is this for young and vigorous or just for those without a day job?

Sounds like an adventure!! and maybe if we have a TFF member on the dig , we can get a trip report and some photos!!!

I fall more into the latter than the former but wouldn't miss a chance to go dig a special site like this even if they had to roll my hospital bed down into the pit.

Tammy and I are planning on going in mid-March and will definitely be filling up the memory cards while we're up there. It would be great if someone else from TFF makes it up there before I do and posts a nice trip report to entice others.

Cheers.

-Ken

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MarleysGh0st

Hmmmm. Unlike the Tate Museum field digs that JP runs, it looks like FLMNH isn't organizing hotel rooms, meals, etc. for volunteering who might come from out of state? We handle those details ourselves and just report for work at the site? (After having our applications accepted, of course.)

A week in early Spring in Florida (either late snow or early mud season, up north) might not be a bad idea!

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digit

Nope. The FLMNH field work opportunities are pretty bare bones. I'd pay just for the experience of being able to dig as part of the group at the sites FLMNH has available for volunteers (and I usually do in fact make a donation to help cover materials and expenses). As long as they don't have too many volunteers for a particular date (with limited space at the site) an application made far enough in advance is usually accepted. After that, you are correct in that you'd be responsible for getting yourself to Florida and your room/board while you are here. I spend many hundreds of dollars a day for some of my far-flung diving trips to resorts or liveaboard dive boats in out of the way places and to me the cost of the logistics to allow me to work alongside other volunteers and experts like Dr. Hulbert is well worth the cost for a fossil hunting vacation. Some hunting trips you go to for what you can find and keep (like Sharktooth Hill coming up next week for me and my wife) while for other trips the draw is what you can uncover that ultimately ends up in the hands of scientists and the permanent collection. Either way--keeping your finds or not--I'm really after the experience. Ever since watching science/nature shows as a kid where Jack Horner or some other iconic paleontologist was featured out in the field digging bones and making finds, it has been a dream of mine to be doing something similar. I have way too many passions and hobbies to ever have made a career out of paleontology (though I claimed I wanted to be a paleontologist since I was able to pronounce that term correctly as a small child). I enjoy working in the field with scientists--be they coral scientists, taxonomists, paleontologists or other facets of science and nature that I find fascinating. My occasional "pay to play" outings to be able to work with scientists doing fieldwork is one of the things I really look forward to doing. I'm just lucky I'm 5 hours from Gainesville--if I lived in the area I'm sure I'd be volunteering in their prep lab an inordinate amount of time. ;)

These Tate Museum field digs sound interesting. I may have to look into that. Is there a place where Tate Museum field work information is available?

Cheers.

-Ken

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Plantguy

Hey Ken, thanks for the update! Sounds like a thrill to be a part of...keep us posted. I'm going 10 diff directions at the moment...so maybe I'll get a chance to consider this down the road somewhere--maybe too late then but its been crazy of late..

Regards, Chris

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MarleysGh0st

These Tate Museum field digs sound interesting. I may have to look into that. Is there a place where Tate Museum field work information is available?

The leader of these field trips, jpc,probably wants to start his own thread about those trips, but since that info is already available on the Tate Museum web site, I don't think he'll mind if I share this link: http://www.caspercollege.edu/tate-geological-museum/events/digs

I had a great time on the trip to the Lance Formation, last June. My report about that trip is, sadly, several months late...

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digit

Hey Ken, thanks for the update! Sounds like a thrill to be a part of...keep us posted. I'm going 10 diff directions at the moment...so maybe I'll get a chance to consider this down the road somewhere--maybe too late then but its been crazy of late..

I know the feeling Chris--I live in that state perpetually. :)

The opportunities at the new dig site will continue through May 13 this year so you might find a bit of free time in the next couple of months.

Cheers.

-Ken

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digit

The leader of these field trips, jpc,probably wants to start his own thread about those trips, but since that info is already available on the Tate Museum web site, I don't think he'll mind if I share this link: http://www.caspercollege.edu/tate-geological-museum/events/digs

I had a great time on the trip to the Lance Formation, last June. My report about that trip is, sadly, several months late...

Thanks for the link--something else to consider for this year's trips. Out visiting my wife's sister's family in the San Francisco area at the moment and we are planning a quick trip down to the Ernst Quarry (Shark Tooth Hill) in Bakersfield this Friday. Got to look for other opportunities while the El Niño rains keep the Peace River unacceptably high and off limits.

Better late than never--cobble together some images from your trip to the Lance Formation and give us a trip report before you forget all of the juicy details. This forum is great for letting others share the member's experiences vicariously.

Cheers.

-Ken

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Khyssa

Thanks for this information! I am definately going to apply although I don't know when yet. Have to look through my schedule and see if I can arrange a day or two off of work. This sounds like it's only about a hour's drive from my house.

Kara

Edited by Khyssa

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digit

If I was that close I'm afraid I'd be there most days (not that it would be a bad thing). :)

If I'm in country at the time I may try for several days at the Thomas Farm dig (short schedule this year). I've already planned on going to the new Montbrook site in mid-March and will hopefully have time for another visit there before the dig season concludes.

Anybody from TFF that goes to this dig is required to take lots of photos and post a trip report so we can all share in the experience.

Cheers.

-Ken

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