Paper No. 188-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
TURNING MOUNTAINS INTO MOLEHILLS: AN INTERAGENCY PARTNERSHIP IN THE BACKLOG CATALOGING OF FEDERAL COLLECTIONS
Since 1972 the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been the repository for a large collection of geological and paleontological specimens from Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GUMO). These specimens were collected by Dr. Lloyd C. Pray and his graduate students to provide early descriptions of much of the park’s depositional and diagenetic history. Many of these localities lie along the Permian Reef Trail which is now protected from large scale collecting. Although this collection was scientifically significant, faculty collections were not integrated into the UW Geology Museum (UWGM) collections and these specimens were uncataloged and unavailable to the greater scientific community. In 2009 the UWGM began a cooperative partnership with GUMO and the NPS to tackle backlog cataloging and the digitizing of NPS from the Pray/GUMO Collection under the requirements of the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act. The aim of this project was to provide scientific identification of specimens, improve accessibility to the collection, and clearly identify specimens as National Park Service (NPS) property. For a small university museum, the financial assistance from the NPS and the expertise of GUMO staff were critical components in ensuring the completion of this project in a reasonable time frame.
One successful outcome of this project is that we have assembled a significant research collection of the park’s litho- and biostratigraphic units. Using a small subset of samples which lacked determinable provenance, we created a Permian Reef Teaching Collection for use in undergraduate and graduate student laboratory classes. While this project required an investment of time from UWGM personnel, it has helped to create institutional buy-in through new department-wide policies regarding specimen collection from federal lands as well as ease the burden of departmental reporting requirements using the curatorial expertise of the UWGM staff. Cataloging the specimens also helped GUMO staff identify important localities within the park. This in turn has aided park staff tasked with the protection and preservation of geological and paleontological resources.