A PALEONTOLOGICAL MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY AND THE FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
There are over 1,600 insect and plant species described from the late Eocene Florissant Formation. Significant collections, including important holotype and figured specimens, are housed at the University of Colorado. Data sharing and exchange of information regarding curatorial best practices are frequent between the institutions. Collaboration on digitization, imaging and accessibility has further facilitated curation, documentation and increased accessibility to specimens and associated data for researchers, educators and the public. Working together and in partnership with other institutions has led to a diverse community of Florissant researchers who study history, biodiversity, geochemistry, sedimentology and stratigraphy, paleoecology, taphonomic processes, and climate change. Education and outreach efforts have been focused on presentations and seminars for public audiences, permanent and temporary exhibits at both locations, the development and implementation of K12 teacher training programs, Florissant’s highly successful internship program and the CU Museum’s graduate program in Museum and Field Studies. Thus, continued strong collaboration between the University of Colorado and the Florissant Fossil beds in paleontological resource management, research and education/outreach has allowed both to accomplish more together than either could have accomplished alone.