Volunteering in the Field 2016-2017
The Division of Vertebrate Paleontology has at least one fossil collecting session per year that uses volunteer assistance. This will generally be during the drier and cooler times of the year, either spring or fall. Age limits and physical requirements will vary depending on the conditions at the particular fossil site we are working.
In 2016 we will have a large-scale, extensive excavation at the Montbrook fossil site. The Hemphillian Montbrook Site is about a 40-minute drive southwest of Gainesville, near the town of Williston in Levy County.
The Montbrook Site is very productive and almost all volunteers will find some fossil specimens on their first day. The most commonly found fossils are bones from the shell of freshwater turtles and vertebrae, spines, scales, and skull bones of fish, inlcuding gar, catfish, snook, and drum. Fossils of alligator, birds, and mammals are also found, but less frequently.
We will be working at the site from about October 1 to December 18, 2016 (and continuing after a holiday break through May 2017), but a detailed digging schedule has not yet been set. Work at the site will occur from Tuesday through Sunday, with a few exceptions for some weeks. Volunteers from 15 to 17 years of age will be accepted but must be accompanied by an adult sibling (18+ years old), or a parent or guardian. Otherwise, volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Volunteers must be physical fit enough to work outdoors for sereral hours and be able to walk up and down irregular slopes. Volunteers can work just a single day, a few days, or a regular schedule one or more times a week. There is no limit to the number of times a volunteer can work at the site.
Links to a digging schedule for the Fall 2016 excavation and an application form should be posted here about September 7.
VP Curator Jonathan Bloch and volunteers at the Montbrook site in December 2015