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President's Message

TBFC’s 2013-2014 Season Comes to an End, Almost!

It feels like just yesterday that we were busy making plans to start TBFC’s season, and just like that, it’s nearly over. We are beginning to wrap things up, but there are still plenty of events left before TBFC takes a much deserved summer hiatus. If you’re new to TBFC you may not know that we shut down for the summer. TBFC will host our end of the season dinner on June 7th at Nature’s Classroom, but there will be no regular monthly meetings held in June, July, or August. That doesn’t mean we’re finished yet though. This will be your last edition of the Chronicles for the 2013-2014 TBFC season, so be sure to check the calendar and field trip pages in this edition because there are still a few TBFC events remaining.

May 3rd Meeting
Primates in Central America
with Dr. Jonathan Bloch

When did monkeys get to Central America?  Dr. Jonathan Bloch from the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) will show some of the newly discovered mammal fossils from the Panama Canal. Before the rise of the isthmus, Panama was the southern-most tip of North America, separated from South America by a wide Central American Seaway. The animals being found in the early Miocene of Panama very strongly reflect that separation, with most species having a close relationship to what we find in similar aged localities in Texas, Nebraska, and Florida.

Dr. Bloch will talk about a very new discovery that is an extraordinary exception to this pattern, strongly suggesting the possibility of dispersal of some mammals between South and North America millions of years before the rise of the Isthmus of Panama and the related Great American Biotic Interchange.

TBFC’s End of the Season Banquet
June 7th at Nature's Classroom

Now, don’t let the “banquet” thing impress you too much.  It’s just a fancy word for TBFC’s annual end of the season informal dinner and get together (with a scholarship presentation, fossil auction, and some door prizes thrown in for good measure). It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a member of TBFC for ten years or ten minutes, everyone’s invited.  The dinner is a great opportunity for fossil friends old and new to get together for a final evening of fun and fossil tales as we wrap up the 2013-2014 season. And there’s always a bunch of great fossils and “paleo” related items in the auction (if you have anything you’d like to donate, just bring it along to the dinner). This is a great event for the entire family and cheap too.

We’ll cater in spaghetti, pizza, wings, salads, dessert and drinks. The cost is just $5 per person which makes for an inexpensive family outing.

TBFC’s End of the Season Banquet will be held at the TECO Center for Environmental Studies at Nature’s Classroom at 5 on June 7th. Nature’s Classroom is located at 1300 Verges Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592. This is only about ten minutes from where we normally meet at USF.

RSVP is not required, just show up and pay at the door.  But… If you do know in advance that you will be attending, please send me an email to let me know (fossilnerd@msn.com).  This will help out a lot with knowing how much food to have on hand when everyone arrives. Don’t miss it! This really, really, is the last event of the season, whew!

Barbra Fite Receives Howard Converse Award

We’re awfully busy during FossilFest, especially on Sunday afternoon.  So I think it may have unfortunately gone unnoticed to a lot of folks that during closing ceremonies at FossilFest, Dr. Richard Hulbert presented our own Barbra Fite with the prestigious Howard Converse Award.  The Converse Award is presented yearly to recognize an individual from the non-professional paleontological ranks who has made outstanding contributions to Florida paleontology.

The award is named in honor of Howard Converse, a former preparator at the FLMNH.  Award recipients are selected by the FLMNH paleontology staff and are presented with a personalized wall plaque. Their names are also inscribed on a large permanent plaque which hangs in the museum.

David Faucher Becomes Newest TBFC Director

David Faucher’s been attending TBFC meetings with his dad Bill, well, for more than half his life. He’s been attending meetings, volunteering at many TBFC events through the year, and recently decided he wanted to become more involved and help TBFC at a higher level. It was an easy decision for TBFC’s Directors to vote David into the position. Welcome aboard David!

Closed for Summer

As I close this edition of the Tampa Bay Fossil Chronicles, the 2013-2014 season comes to an end for this publication. As I have reported to you many times in the past, it is an honor and a privilege to serve and represent the Tampa Bay Fossil Club and its many fine members.

I want to thank the great support staff behind me in the Officers, Directors, and many of you members who volunteer to help TBFC excel to the exceptional level it has in both the public and scientific communities. Without all of you, none of what TBFC accomplishes each season would be possible.

Thanks for the adventure TBFC!

Michael Searle
President 2001- Present