Are kids and dogs allowed on trips? Typically, they are allowed to participate except for quarry trips. However, take into consideration the terrain, distance walking and weather conditions from the parking area to to farthest point you may collect. Can your child or pet walk go the distance?
What do I need to know if we are going to a quarry? You must be an Active Member to participate on quarry trips. Unless there is an exception, persons under the age of 18, and pets are not allowed. Hardhats, protective eye wear and steel-toed boot are highly recommended and sometimes required. Sometimes, the quarry will provide hardhats. If these items are not mentioned in the trip description, ask the trip leader.
I am not a member can I go on a trip? Generally, Yes. Field trips are considered a privilege of membership. Sometimes members dues help pay for different aspects of a trip. Some trips have a limited roster and showing up out of the blue might just ruin the day for yourself and maybe others. If you want to go on one or two trips to see if you would like to join feel free. Just remember, paying customers don't like free-loaders.
I won't be able to make the trip on that day but on another day, where are you going to collect? Specific field trip information is rarely given out. There have been times when people jump the gun causing many problems. First, every site requires permission from the landowner for anyone to collect. Just because the Society has permission on a specific day does not mean members can go whenever they please. "Jumping fences" makes you and the Society look bad. So don't. Second, going before the group, if you don't get arrested or shot at, is not fair to those who go at the designated time. Going afterwards may mean the site has been picked clean.
WEATHER: North Texas weather is hard to forecast except in the summer, typically very hot (Heat Index over 100F) and dry. The rest of the year the weather can change quite rapidly. Check the forecast before you leave the house. You may be caught by surprise but at least you checked, right?
WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING: Prepare for the weather conditions for the entire trip. Depending upon the time of year there can be a dramatic need for different clothing from morning to afternoon (or evening if you camp). Always bring plenty of water. Whether it is winter or summer underestimating your fluids intake can be fatal. Snacks and sack lunches are based on personal preference.
Wear tough shoes like work boots or hiking boots are best. Steel toed boots for quarry trips is recommended. Any type of open-toed shoes are not recommended, except for some places like creeks. Knee pads and gloves! Knee pads can be found at local home improvement stores, some gardening centers and carpet supply stores. A type of glove used by weight lifters and cyclists have the finger tips open for grasping while the palm of the glove is padded.
Things to carry your fossils in: They can be backpacks, buckets or sacks. Plastic baggies are always a good thing to include. These can be easily labeled especially if there are multiple collecting localities. Film canisters (a soon to be trace fossil) and medicine bottles are excellent for storing small and fragile fossils. Bring tissue paper to wrap the delicate or small fossils. For larger specimens, newspaper or aluminum foil is good for wrapping and protecting your goodies.
Equipment: This is wide open. Of course the matrix that you will be digging in will dictate the tools that you use. Ask before you head out. Some never fail items are an ice pick or awl, a rock hammer and one or more cold chisels. If you plan on using a hammer, please wear safety glasses.
Other equipment: A camera! Photos of in situ fossils are fun to submit to the newsletter. Plus, you can get pictures of the others on the trip. Bring some small brushes, a sledge hammer (even a short handled 4 lbs hammer saves a lot of work). Dynamite is never allowed. (Bummer, it could come in handy.)
Comment about limited roster field trips.
Please do not accept a spot on a limited roster field trip and then not show up. This is very inconsiderate to other members further down the list. If you know you are not going to make the trip, contact the field trip leader in a timely manner to allow for others on the roster to move up. Additionally, if you are not on the roster and show up unannounced the day of the trip there will be no exceptions made to accommodate you.
Most quarry trips are typically member only trips and many of them require limited numbers of people.