People “Dig” FossilFest!
Wow… What a weekend. And once again, what a successful show! I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Despite not much coverage from the newspapers, we did have good coverage on television and it sure brought in a great crowd.
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 three. And it looks like we had 20 new families sign up as members with TBFC at FossilFest. That itself is a great success!
Everyone worked very hard, some for the entire weekend (TBFC Director David Faucher and Austin Morgan spent about 48 straight hours at FossilFest). I’d like to thank TBFC’s Officers, Directors, and 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 thank you all.
But don’t sit down to rest; TBFC’s fossil season isn’t over yet…
April 1st Meeting
Dr. Steven Manchester
Curator of Paleobotany, University of Florida
Fossil Plants of Florida
While fossil plant remains are nowhere as abundant as the remains of fossil vertebrates, or invertebrates in Florida, they are nonetheless, an important part of Florida's fossil record. In fact, the fossil sea grasses found in the limestones of the Middle Eocene Avon Park Formation of south-central Florida are among the oldest fossils known from Florida. Other leaf impressions are seen in Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene clays. Petrified woods, represented by several different trees, are sometimes found in the same layers as vertebrate fossils. A good example is the vertebrate rich Bone Valley Formation of Polk, Hillsborough, and Hardee Counties which has produced sections of petrified tree trunks weighing hundreds of pounds.
At the microscopic level, Florida sediments are rich in fossil pollen, diatoms, and phytoliths. Although these fossils are too small to be seen with the unaided eye, their unique beauty and scientific importance as environmental indicators make these fossils an important resource.
Fossil woods can be preserved in a variety of ways. Sometimes the wood tissue is preserved in more-or-less original condition, remaining soft and unmineralized, and typically compressed by the weight of overlying sediment. This kind of fossil wood is common at some localities, such as the Pleistocene Leisey Shell Pit.
Don’t miss this rare chance to meet with Dr. Manchester. Bring along any
fossil plant or wood specimens you have collected from Florida.
Peace River Adventure
April 29th & 30th
We just can’t seem to get away from celebrating anniversaries around TBFC. And the Peace River Adventure is no exception. 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 like we do now, 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 on, the weekend event has become known as The Peace River Adventure! In celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Peace River Adventure I’m making a promise to all of you to have some of the best raffle prizes the event has ever seen!
So, with FossilFest hardly behind us we move directly into TBFC’s second largest event of the year. With no time for a sigh of relief, the Peace River Adventure is right around the corner.
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 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 email@example.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.