Paper No. 13-6
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:30 PM
AVOCATIONAL PALEONTOLOGY OUTREACH AND EDUCATION IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA: EFFORTS BY THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA FOSSIL SOCIETY
The Southwest Florida Fossil Society (SFFS) is strongly committed to increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of paleontology. Each year, SFFS donates hundreds of man-hours to create successful outreach and education events. Examples of events include talks at public programs (e.g., libraries and nature centers), workshops for youth organizations (e.g., local Boy and Girl Scout troops), display tables at regional fairs and festivals (e.g., National Fossil Day celebrations), and facilitating field experiences for adult groups (e.g., scuba diving clubs). Recognized across the southeastern U.S. for high levels of cooperation with other fossil clubs/societies, SFFS helps with major outreach events such as the Aurora Fossil Festival in Aurora, North Carolina. The society also partners with regional colleges and universities, like the University of North Florida, to provide undergraduate students opportunities to learn about Florida’s fascinating paleontological history. As a huge proponent of the FOSSIL Project, SFFS encourages all fellow amateur/avocational paleontologists to learn and grow together and to support the science of paleontology through public education. Going forward, the society plans to continue improving our education and outreach endeavors in hopes of inspiring future generations to observe, enjoy, and care for the paleontological resources around them.