Paper No. 14-3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
FUNDING PROJECTS AND FINDING PARTNERS TO ADVANCE COLLABORATIVE GEOLOGIC RESEARCH AT FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument was established by a congressional mandate to “preserve and interpret ... the excellently preserved insect and leaf fossils and related geologic sites,” making geology and paleontology the primary purpose for this administrative unit of the National Park Service. Conservation of resources, scientific research, and education for the public are achieved by one permanent paleontologist and supported by a museum technician and ranger interpreters. The Monument has successfully acquired project support for geologic projects from competitive funding sources within the National Park Service, including natural and cultural resource programs as well as programs that distribute funds received from public entrance fees. Recent and ongoing research projects include methods for conservation of delicate shale and deteriorating petrified tree stumps, Pleistocene geomorphology, paleobotanical assessments of Eocene climate, and geologic mapping. Educational outreach projects include a new geology trail, a geologic trail map, a mobile application for trail interpretation using a GIS geologic layer, and a new park film. Resource management projects include annual monitoring of the condition of paleontological sites and GIS documentation of collecting sites. Collaboration on projects with university partners is accomplished through CESU agreements. The Monument strives to be a leader in the newly developing concept of Geoheritage and has collaborated with BLM in an interagency project toward a shared “geopark” designation. International collaboration involves working with other petrified forest sites in Peru and Thailand to realize mutual goals of conservation. Other organizational collaborations include involvement with GSA and Environmental Stewards in support of paleontology interns, more than 60 of whom have contributed toward the Monument’s goals in maintaining an active geology program.