Paper No. 13-4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:30 PM
JUNIOR PALEONTOLOGIST EDUCATIONAL KITS, A RESOURCE FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE'S JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAM
During 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) will be celebrating its centennial year. To help celebrate, the White House has begun an incredible "Every Kid in a Park" youth initiative to get all 4th graders and their families to experience the places that are home to our country’s natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture. This also presents a unique opportunity to showcase the paleontological resources of our many National Parks to these young people. Over the past four years, the Florida Paleontological Society (FPS), the Florida Geological Foundation (FGF), and the Florida Fossil Hunters (FFH) have been working with many fossil groups around the state to produce a much needed resource to help the parks in their interpretation and presentation of Florida paleontology. Each year several fossil education kits have been produced, from club resources and member donations. These kits are designed to complement the NPS Junior Ranger Paleontology Program. They highlight the diverse paleontological resources of our national parks, with a special emphasis on local paleontology. So far the kits have been distributed to 11 national park units, mainly in Florida. The earliest kits have been in use and rotation since 2012 and are a major component of each unit’s National Fossil Day celebrations. It is our hope that these kits will become an integral part of each park's programming and educational outreach. A survey completed by each park with a Junior Paleontology kit shows that, increasingly, this is the case; we hope to see growth of the program to other regions of the country and expanded outreach opportunities in paleontological education.