The Fossil Project Mini-Conference Wrap-up By Rocky Manning
I hope you had a chance to attend The Fossil Project’s mini-conference at Brookhaven College this past month. It was a big success thanks to many very capable people. Eleanor Gardner and Dr. Bruce MacFadden, of The Fossil Project, had the faith to have the DPS host the conference. They spent many hours planning and executing it. The Fossil Project is intended to help create a communi- ty of amateur fossil enthusiasts and to strengthen ties with professional paleontologists. During the conference the new version of the MyFossil.org website was demonstrated. Please go to MyFossil.org and create an account and post infor- mation there. As this site is populated with fossil data it will become an important interface between amateurs and other amateurs and between ama- teurs and professionals. Your use of the site will make this happen.
Sunday morning started with a field trip to the North Sulphur River. It was led by Polly Mullinnex with field assistance from Mick Tune and David
Hill. The weather had not cooperated and flushed out new fossils with rain, but several nice finds were made.
Sunday evening the out-of-town guests and a few DPS members met at the hotel for a welcome din- ner. A few last minute plans were made and every- thing was set for the mini-conference to kick off the next day.
Monday morning started about 7:00 am when Lee Higginbotham and Judah Epstein met to rent a
van. Judah drove the van to shuttle our guests from their hotel to SMU for a tour of the Shuler Museum conducted by Mike Polcyn. Everyone attending was quite impressed. Richard and Joan Sheppard helped get everything set up for the main session and worked the registration table. All of our out-of- town guests received a copy of the North Sulphur River book as well as Charles Finsley's recent booklet "A Simple Comparison of Cow and Buffalo Bones.” The main session kicked off at noon with a welcome by Dr. Bruce MacFadden and Dr. Louis Ja- cobs (SMU) and a mixer lunch. The lunch and afternoon snacks were arranged by Pam Lowers with assists from Bob Williams and Lee Higginbotham. Lee Cone, of Special Friends of the Au- rora Fossil Museum, moderated a town hall session on Fossil Collecting Legislation for BLM land with talks by Dr. Scott Foss, Cynthia Crane and Linda McCall. The talks were followed by a very lively discussion on the amateur role in collecting. Dr. Pamela Owen, of the Texas Memorial Museum, gave a very interesting talk about National Fossil
Day. After a short break several breakout sessions were conducted on topics related to the amateur’s role in paleontology. Dr. Louis Jacob and Dr. Chris Strganac (The Perot Museum) chaired two of the sessions. Roger Farish recorded the first two ses- sions and took photographs. Tom Dill acted as chauffeur and drove our keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Sereno, to and from the evening meeting.
After a break for dinner, the regular DPS meeting started with a few quick business items by Lee Hig- ginbotham. Dr. Bruce MacFadden introduced Dr. Sereno who delivered a very interesting talk on “Feathered Dinosaurs”. Numerous questions after the talk extended the time to about 1 1⁄2 hours. It was a capacity room crowd. Extra chairs were brought in and put along walls bringing the estimat- ed attendance to over 200. Dr. Tony Fiorillo closed with perfect segway into the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting which was October 14-17. He gave a short history on the SVP logo which is based on fossils found in Texas. After the meeting, some of our friends from Florida and South Carolina traded fossils with DPS members. Judi Alistat and Suzie Gibbons made sure there were plenty of snacks. Bob Williams and Dan Ely manned the promotions table.
Roger Farish and Polly Mullinnex teamed up to plan a field trip to Lake Jacksboro Spillway and the Mineral Wells Fossil Park (MWFP) for Tuesday October 13. Roger made the bus reservations and lined up most of the food including breakfast and Subway for lunch. Polly planned everything else and pre- pared handouts. Tuesday morning started very ear- ly about 6:00 am with donuts, bagels, fruits, juice and coffee brought by Roger Farish and Lee Hig- ginbotham. Mark MacKinzie provided expert com- mentary on the geology during the trip and for the two collecting stops for the 51 attendees. There was a stop for a Subway sandwich lunch in a Mineral Wells park before heading to the MWFP second stop. Our field trip participants were immortalized in a group photo celebrating the ribbon cutting and opening of the new shade structure, tables, and benches at Mineral Wells Fossil Park.
Rodney Wise kept the website updated with all these events and last minute updates and eblasts. Polly Mullinex arranged the NSR field trip Sunday morning (Oct 11), the Tuesday (Oct 13) bus field trip to Lake Jacksboro and Mineral Wells Fossil Park, a TXI quarry field trip on Saturday (Oct 17) and there was a possibility of another informal one on Tuesday (Oct 20).
Everyone pulled together and made the event a big success. Be sure to shake each hand and thank them the next time to you see them. Our DPS team put together a top quality event.
The next The Fossil Project meeting will be in Cincinnati next summer. It will be hosted by the Dry Dredgers, the oldest amateur fossil group in North America. Plan to attend.