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Paleontology is an interdisciplinary field that attracts a range of individuals, from hobbyists to professionals. A primary goal of the NSF-funded FOSSIL Project is to establish a unified community of paleontologists and promote best practices in the field of paleontology. The Belgrade PaleoBlitz was a pilot effort to meet these goals by guiding participants through the museum curation process via a rapid two-day immersion. The objectives of the PaleoBlitz event were to: 1) educate participants in best practices associated with the museum curation process, and 2) catalog specimens collected from the Belgrade Quarry into the Florida Museum of Natural History vertebrate paleontology collections. These objectives seek to find a balance between educating participants and contributing to science. A pre-event application dispersed to amateur paleontology clubs throughout the United States determined applicants’ baseline content knowledge and practices. To facilitate learning and promote networking, we selected 13 participants who varied in expertise from six different paleontology organizations. Immediate and delayed post-event surveys assessed acceptance and implementation of best practices, confidence related to specific aspects of the museum curation process, and expansion of individuals’ personal paleontology network. Responses showed that all participants made changes to their existing collections, felt more confident in specific aspects of the museum curation process, and had continued connections with other participants after this event.
Perez, V. J., Leder, R. M., Lundgren, L., Ellis, S., Dunckel, B. A. & Crippen, K. J. (2020). The Belgrade PaleoBlitz: A pilot project to engage amateur paleontologists. Palaeontologica Electronica 23(1), A18. doi: 10.26879/1013