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President's Message

This is sure a busy time of the year for TBFC.  In the next 120 days we’ll need to get in four more meetings, eight or more field trips, and FossilFest, the largest “paleo” show in the southeast.  As soon as we close the doors to FossilFest, we’ll be loading up for the Peace River Adventure, TBFC’s largest field trip of the year where 300+ people will gather for a “paleo” weekend.  With the help of the Officers, Directors, and good folks like you, everything will be accomplished and we’ll have a great time doing it.  It’s our time to shine!

Dr. Cristina Robins
Florida Museum of Natural History
February 7, 2015

Dr. Robins currently works at the Florida Museum of Natural History as the Project Assistant for the NSF funded Panama Canal Project (PCP). The PCP is rescue paleontology - where paleontologists are taking advantage of the excavations surrounding the Panama Canal expansion to collect thousands of fossils that would otherwise be lost, and never excavated in a tropical environment. Dr. Robins works on the logistics associated with the everyday activities of dozens of scientists, staff, and students. She also prepares some of the invertebrate fossils found in Panama.

Her research focuses on invertebrate paleontology; specifically, the systematics and phylogeny of squat lobsters (Anomuran decapods; Jurassic - Recent). Squat lobsters are neither lobsters nor crabs – although they are lobster-like in appearance; they seem to be more closely related to hermit crabs.  You may have encountered them without knowing it. Although most species are too small to be commercially valuable, others are harvested and sold under the catch-all name “langostino lobster.”  Modern day squat lobsters live everywhere in the oceans - from coral reefs to hydrothermal vents.

So far, Dr. Robins has published the descriptions of 30 new species of squat lobsters. These new species are mainly from the Jurassic of central Europe. Her free time goes to additional research on squat lobsters, formatting for journal publication the descriptions of 20 more new species (also from the Jurassic), and a proposed phylogeny for the group.

Dr. Robins received her BA in geology from Carleton College in Northfield, MN and her MS and PhD from Kent State University, in Kent, OH.

FossilFest 2015
March 21st & 22nd, 2015

At the time of this writing, FossilFest 2015 is just a couple months away. As I’ve reported to you before, the majority of funds TBFC operates on throughout the year are generated at FossilFest. The event is important to TBFC, not just because of the financial earnings though, almost all of the media attention that helps attract new members to TBFC is received during the weeks leading up to FossilFest.

I’ll be running information here in my message this month and next asking you for donations of both fossil related items and your time.  Any help you can provide as a volunteer or with the donation of needed items is greatly appreciated.  Please help make FossilFest 2015 another great and record breaking event!

Volunteers - We will need to staff FossilFest for three days.  Everything begins with set-up on Friday morning, March 20th and will end with break-down on Sunday afternoon. You can volunteer for as little as three hours, or for the entire weekend. We have a job to suit everyone’s capabilities. Volunteers will receive a free FossilFest t-shirt , free admission and free parking! Plus, I give you the TBFC Presidential Guarantee that you’ll enjoy a weekend spent meeting other paleo-enthusiasts and helping teach our community about Florida’s exciting prehistory.

Please contact Seina Searle at (813) 909-9358, or tampabayfossilclub@msn.com to schedule your volunteer hours. You can also speak with Seina at the February or March meetings if you have any questions.

Silent Auction - TBFC needs donations of fossil and “paleo” related items for the silent auction. Do you have a few extra Metaxytherium or Platygonus teeth lying around? How about too many megalodons for your shelf to handle? We’ll take ’em! Any fossil or fossil related items including books, rocks, shells, or minerals are great for the silent auction. Please go through your collections to see if you can find any fossils that you can spare. Director Phil Mathes will be running the Silent Auction and accepting donations at any TBFC meeting leading up to FossilFest, or you can drop them off on the morning FossilFest begins. It will sure help Phil get the Silent Auction items prepared though, if he can get them in advance.

Kid’s Fossil Sand Mine - The fossil mine is a huge hit with the children who visit FossilFest. If you haven’t done so already, you need to take the time to stand by the pit for a while and watch these kids digging for fossils.  It’s unbelievable how excited they get (and how much they learn). TBFC needs both scrap fossils and identifiable fossils to throw into the pit. Please take the time to "dig" out some donations for the kids. To make donations to the kid’s fossil mine, please drop them off at the Paleo-Store at any of the meetings leading up to FossilFest, or bring the donations along with you to FossilFest. These items too are very helpful to get in advance, as they will need to be sorted prior to going into the pit.

Display Cases - This is a great opportunity to show off the fossils that you and your family have found. The display cases are important as they educate the public and get new folks excited to learn that they can find these same prehistoric treasures too. Make signs and labels for your fossils, use photos, get creative, and decorate your case to attract a crowd! You can sign-up for a display case with George Overhuls at a TBFC meeting, or drop him an email at: du12746@verizon.net

Please help us with advertising! If you know anyone who may be interested in FossilFest, please take the time to tell them about our event.  Forward FossilFest information to your email contacts; share it on your Facebook page and other social media. If your child can take flyers to their school, please don’t hesitate to ask for as many as you may need.  If you would like some FossilFest flyers to pass out to friends and neighbors, please see me at the meeting or contact me (fossilnerd@msn.com). And if you know someone who owns a television or radio station, give me a call!

Good Hunting!
Mike Searle