GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 146-10
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM


BAUER, Jennifer E.1, MILLS, Sadie M.2, BEX II, Richard T.3, ELLIS, Shari4, CRIPPEN, Kent J.3 and MACFADDEN, Bruce J.1, (1)Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, Gainesville, FL 32611, (2)Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, Gainsville, FL 32611, (3)College of Education, School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida, 2403 Norman Hall, PO Box 117048, Gainesville, FL 32611, (4)Center for Science Learning, Florida Museum of Natural History, Powell Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611

The FOSSIL Project has been an active NSF-funded project (DRL-1322725) for the past 6 years and will no longer be formally staffed in fall 2019. At its inception the project aspired to connect amateur and professional paleontologists through a social media platform and face-to-face events where collaborations and knowledge could be shared. The web platform allows users to upload their fossil collections and over the past year has transformed into a community science project, where specimens with high quality data can be ingested by data aggregators such as iDigBio. This allows anyone with an excellent personal collection to contribute to scientific knowledge.

Outside of the myFOSSIL platform, the FOSSIL community expands to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube – reaching over 13,000 people in all, with minimal overlap between digital communities. In 2018 the project also developed a mobile app which encourages users to share images about fossils and the practice of paleontology. Finally, the project has hosted in-person and online events over the past five years, all with successes and challenges. Our research on the various niches of the FOSSIL Project can help inform the efforts of other organizations who want to increase inclusion, diversity, and accessibility of paleontology within the broader community. In this talk we will highlight several examples of online and in-person interactions that provide valuable insight into future efforts to increase participation in paleontology.