THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT IN AVOCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS – CASE HISTORY, THE DRY DREDGERS OF CINCINNATI, OHIO
From the beginning, members of the Dry Dredgers have always been willing to share fossils and localities with students and professors at the University of Cincinnati and other institutions. Furthermore, a sub-group of members are true students of the science, with interests well beyond mere collecting. These members ask pointed questions, conduct their own research, and seek to truly understand paleoecology, sedimentology, stratigraphy and paleogeography. Recognizing the benefit such dedicated amateurs can have on paleontological studies, the professional community has cultivated them as avocational paleontologists
Throughout their 75 year history, the Dry Dredgers have contributed to over a hundred graduate theses, abstracts, professional poster sessions, books and peer reviewed papers. In more recent years, members have been lead or co-author of peer reviewed research on topics including new species of crinoids, problematic phosphatic fauna, epizoan tiering and commensalism, and taphonomy. Many students and professionals have started research projects due to a discovery by a Dry Dredger that sparked their interest. These collaborators include: W. I. Ausich, B.M. Bell, B.F. Dattilo, S.K. Donovan, R.L. Freeman, N.C. Hughes, B.R. Hunda, D.L. Meyer, J. R. Thomka, M.J. Vendrasco, and many others. Thus, as presented here, the Dry Dredgers demonstrate that professional paleontologists benefit greatly when they actively support avocational organizations.