BY LANCE CARLSON
As an undergraduate student, opportunities such as those the ARPP affords are few and far between. It was a high honor to be part of the August and October field seasons. In addition to all the wonderful experiences I had in the Field, the opportunity to be in on the academic and curatoriaI processes undertaken in the Florida Museum of Natural History was unbelievable. I was able to observe the findings from their discovery in the sediments of the Aucilla to their curation and prepublication finish.
The ARPP has always committed itself to the implementation of sound scientific techniques and rigorous academic pursuits. With all the commitments that the project has had to live up to, it has never failed in its efforts to produce excellent scholars. Now more than ever, the project is living up to this commitment by including undergraduates. "We must get the young people involved. They are the key to the future of this project," suggests Jack Simpson.
As the October field season came to an end, I couldn't help but feel that this was another successful field season to reflect on. Beyond all of the intense academics, glorious finds and remote locations lies the key to continued success of the ARPP, the people. Of all the wonderful opportunities the ARPP has to offer, the most rewarding has to be in the friendships that are forged. During the field season and beyond, many of the team members act one big extended family.
I believe these types of friendships not only provide a more enjoyable working environment, but act to strengthen the credibility of the excavations. Everyone knows what everyone else is capable of, and the stimulus to do the very best is ever-present. There is almost no limit to where this project can go with all the wonderful people involved.