Topic ID #31959 - posted 3/26/2014 3:05 AM

Volunteer opportunity: Dinosaurs, Champosaurs, and Snails...Oh My! Custer NF, MT

Jennifer Palmer

Not archaeology-related, but we do list paleontology opportunities on this site from time to time. -Jennifer

Custer NF
New! Dinosaurs, Champosaurs, and Snails...Oh My!

June 8-14; 15-21, 2014 (including weekend)

Must commit to minimum of 5 days

Join us on the Sioux Ranger District for another summer of "fossil-hunting" at the "Hell Creek" Rock Formation! This year's project will occur in two phases. During Week 1, we will spend our time in the field surveying the Lone Pines unit near Redig, South Dakota, where we will hunt for, document, and collect dinosaur, fish, crocodile, bird, mammal, and invertebrate fossils from the Late Cretaceous. During Week 2, we will move our efforts and our collections to the Paleontology Resource Lab at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) in Rapid City, South Dakota. This laboratory portion will focus on the use of specialized tools and techniques designed to stabilize fossils and prepare them for accessioning into the museum collections for long-term curation. The various fossils we have collected at "Hell Creek" have been very diverse and plentiful, so there will likely be something to tempt even the most discerning volunteer's interests! All tools, supplies, and instructions needed for the survey and excavation and the subsequent lab portion of the project will be provided to participants.

Some words of caution: First, the field project area is very scenic, but remote. High winds and stormy weather are possible, so it is recommended that volunteers come prepared with gear suitable for a variety of weather conditions. Secondly, the Tertiary rocks in the Formation are loaded with erionite, a naturally-occurring, asbestos-like mineral. While we will not be working directly in units known to contain the rock, the roads into the site are graveled with it. Therefore, we will make every effort to reduce participants' exposure. Be certain to follow all instructions to minimize any risk! Finally, please be aware that this is a Paleontological Special Interest Area, so no personal fossil collecting is allowed!

But, these precautions aside, we are very excited about this year's project, which just may be our best field and lab session yet. So, become a paleontologist for a while this summer, and take a closer look at what goes on "behind the scenes" during fossil collection and curation - you'll never look at your local museum's collections the same way again! See you in June!

Number of openings: 35 (20 for Session 1; 15 for Session 2)

Special skills: Field and lab training and equipment provided; volunteers must be physically capable of bending, sitting, standing, and/or kneeling for long periods each day, and in a variety of weather conditions (mostly hot!); previous excavation, pedestrian survey, fossil identification, curation, and/or other paleontological field or lab experience helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 10 years old, under 18 with a responsible adult

Facilities: Session 1: Tent and RV camping (no hookups) in remote (but scenic) grassland pasture; chemical toilets, hot showers, base camp tents, an inexpensive caterer, solar generator, on-demand hot water showers, cook stoves, pots, pans, etc. (if you prefer to prepare your own meals); volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment, extra drinking water, and $15/person/day, if opting for caterer

Session 2: Rapid City is a full-service community with hotels/motels, RV parks, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities; SDSM&T dorm rooms available ($35/night if providing own bed linen); communal bath facilities; volunteers responsible for own lodging, food, water, and transportation; selected individuals interested in booking dorm rooms should inform project leader at time of selection

Nearest towns: Buffalo, SD, 35 miles

Applications due: April 28, 2014

More info here.


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