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President's Message

People “DIG” FossilFest!

Wow… What a weekend. And once again, what a successful show! I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. FossilFest had good coverage in the media (print, radio, & television) and it sure brought in a great crowd. Especially on Sunday!

We have three major goals each year at FossilFest; earn funds to operate TBFC through the year, teach the public about Florida’s prehistory, and reach out to new members. We accomplished all of that. It looks like we had 35 new families sign up as members with TBFC at FossilFest and at least another 30 renewals. That in itself is a great success! If you’re one of those 30 new families that signed up for the adventure, welcome to the Tampa Bay Fossil Club!

Everyone worked very hard, some for three hours, some for three days. I hate to thank individual volunteers by name in this writing, but I have to mention few here. TBFC Director David Faucher and Austin Morgan spent the night on the FossilFest floor both Friday and Saturday night to stand sentry on the fossils at the show. Then they worked both days in one of the busiest booths at FossilFest, the hotdog stand. All in all, they spent more than 48 straight hours at FossilFest!

I have to thank my wife Seina for working on the volunteer assignments for months ahead of the show, and many of the other details at Fossilfest that just seem to “happen” because of her. Every year for as long as I can remember Barbara Fite has lead the negotiations with the Fairgrounds and the dealers. That’s not easy considering the Florida State Fair is occurring right before FossilFest and those fair people are awfully busy and hard to get ahold of. Jerry Zolg spends many hours leading up to the show arranging, and rearranging the floor plan to fit our needs, and sometimes the last minute changes that have to happen. Our FossilFest trailer weighs in excess of 6 tons. We need a huge truck to make that move and Mike Burnett has driven from Bradenton, Florida to pick up the trailer in Zephyrhills where it is stored on the property of TBFC members Darren and Nicole Watts. By the time Mike drives to ZHills, hooks up, drives back to the fairgrounds, and then back home, it’s an eight hour day. He does this on Friday, in morning traffic, and then again on Sunday. Hidden in all of the excitement of FossilFest is Glenna Overhuls collecting money, making change, and getting money safely to the bank. Bill Faucher and Dr. Bob Sinibaldi both made local radio and television appearances. Dr. Bob also did two presentations each day at FossilFest. Leslie Branin hauled a metric ton of books to the show. Fred Hendershot and Robert Page both spent the entire weekend with kids at the Touch Table. Also working with the kids, Steve Vicari managed the Kids Mine for the entire weekend (his first time). It takes a bunch of patience to deal with all of the excitement in the kid’s area. Marlin Swikert stepped in at the last minute and managed the Silent Auction. Roger and Teresa Morgan both stood in the steam of hot dog water for two days. And that’s just some of the big things that get done…

I have to thank all of TBFC’s Officers, Directors, and ALL of the members who volunteered to make the show the success that it was. We certainly couldn’t have done it without you. If you were one of the 120 plus volunteers during the show, THANK YOU!. From the admissions, to the silent auction, donations, club sales, kids mine, set up, break down, security, and everything in-between, I can’t thank you all enough.

I get lots of accolades and slaps on the back during FossilFest. I tell everyone what a great support staff I, and FossilFest have. FossilFest 2018 was a huge success, and that’s because of all of you.

So… Are you tired? Sorry, don’t sit down to rest; TBFC’s season isn’t over yet. We’re just getting started!

April 7th Meeting
Dr. Bob Sinibaldi
Cultural Modification of Bones, Antlers, and Teeth

Everybody knows Dr. Bob, at least those of you that have been to a meeting or two. A longtime member of TBFC, past president, and current Board member, Dr. Bob is certainly active in the paleo community and a big part of what makes TBFC tick. Did I mention he is also an author with three paleo books to his credit? I’ll throw a plug in here for the Paleo-Store where you can purchase any, or all, of Dr. Bob’s three books: What Your Fossils Can Tell You: Vertebrate Morphology, Pathology, and Cultural Modification, Fossil Diving: In Florida’s Waters or Any Other Waters Containing Prehistoric Treasures, and The Handbook of Paleontological Terms.

Dr. Bob could “take us to school” with any chapter from his book What Your Fossils Can Tell You, and that’s just what he plans to do at the April 7th meeting.

Dr. Bob’s April presentation is based on Chapter 7 of What Your Fossils Can Tell You. I’m proud to tell you that if you turn to Chapter 7 in the book, you will find a drawing of a fossil my wife and I found that was used for the chapter’s opening. Taking a look through What Your Fossils Can Tell You, you’ll see that Dr. Bob used many items from the collections of amateurs, many of them TBFC members.

Cultural modification of bones, antlers, and teeth by Paleo-Indians (the earliest Native Americans), and those Native Americans who followed, truly deserves a book unto itself. Dr. Bob’s presentation will give the amateur or beginning paleontologist and archaeologist a reasonable start in recognizing cultural modifications to bones, antlers (a specialized type of bone), and teeth. Any bones, antlers or teeth that show signs of work done by Native Americans can be considered culturally modified. Indians did this for a variety of reasons. Dr. Bob will explain the use of many culturally modified items. Don’t miss it.

Peace River Adventure
April 28th & 29th

With FossilFest hardly behind us we move directly into TBFC’s second largest event of the year, the Peace River Adventure is right around the corner. Twenty plus years ago a group of us from TBFC started an annual pilgrimage to the Peace River to camp, canoe, and of course, hunt for fossils. Each year more and more friends from TBFC would join us on the hunt. For some people it turned into a weeklong event. While lots of people were hunting the Peace River, TBFC didn’t have an annual campout, or even organized day trips like we have now with Fred Hendershot. I asked the club president at the time if he thought TBFC should host an annual campout and he thought it was a great idea… and put my wife and I in charge of it.

For many years the event was simply called, “Peace River”. Then one April at the close of Peace River Trip weekend a little girl came up to me and thanked me for letting her hunt for fossils. Then she told me it was the greatest adventure of her life. From that day the annual event has been known as The Peace River Adventure!

The Peace River Adventure has turned into one of TBFC’s most popular outings. As I mentioned previously, with FossilFest comes many new members, some who have never set foot into a river or mine in search of fossilized creatures from the past. The Peace River event has become these folk’s freshman outing in paleontology and the perfect opportunity to learn how to hunt for their very own fossils. The trip is also a sort of reunion for many of us who have attended the event for more than twenty years!

The Peace River Adventure is a wonderful family outing and the only TBFC fieldtrip when we invite non-members to join in on the hunt. This is your opportunity to introduce friends and family to TBFC and Florida’s prehistoric past. The river is at its shallowest level and accessible by hunters of all ages.

The Peace River Adventure will take new and seasoned fossil hunters into the beautiful Peace River near Zolfo Springs. An afternoon barbecue dinner, benefit auction, and campfires galore will follow the day of fossil hunting. On top of all of that, the Peace River outing boasts some of TBFC’s hottest selling t-shirts of the year. You can find registration forms in this edition of the Chronicles. Sign up early! This weekend trip only comes around once a year. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me (813) 909-9358 or fossilnerd@msn.com). And, if you’re interested in volunteering at the event for a couple hours, please drop me an email.

In closing, I want to again say thank you to everyone who helped out this past month. Thank you for making FossilFest, and everything else about TBFC so great.

I look forward to seeing all the new faces at the April meeting.

Good Hunting!
Mike Searle