Coronavirus brings TBFC's Season to an End, ALMOST!
It feels like yesterday that we were busy making plans to start TBFC's season, and just like that, it was quickly derailed by Covid-19. A short month ago, only a few days before FossilFest, we took a solid kick to the teeth by the virus. FossilFest canceled out and every other TBFC event toppled down the same hill.
All public TBFC events through September 5 are canceled.
With much thought and care we have decided to not reschedule FossilFest for the fall. At the time of this writing nearly every event through June has been cancelled/postponed. We have real concerns for FossilFest attendance into distant future. Liability concerns still exist. I will not allow the southern version of Covid-19 to be nicknamed the FossilFest Virus. Further, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has issued its Phase One procedures, "Avoid SOCIALIZING in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing (e.g., receptions, trade shows)" and "LARGE VENUES (e.g., sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under strict physical distancing protocols". I never would have dreamed I'd have to quote the White House in these pages.
As I wrote in the April issue of this publication, some of the preparations and materials that were prepared for FossilFest 2020 can be boxed up and stored until the next show. One item that will date itself out is the hundreds of t-shirts that were printed for the show.
FossilFest 2020 T-Shirts - AVAILABLE!
We were all excited with the t-shirt for FossilFest 2020. It was a special design honoring Barbara Fite's discovery of a new species of saber cat that was named in her honor (Rhizosmilodon fiteae). I'm sure Barbara had looked forward to seeing hundreds of people walking around at FossilFest with her cat on their shirts.
TBFC is making the shirts available now for $15 each including tax and shipping. Please mail a check or money order made out to Tampa Bay Fossil Club to: Mike Searle, 2407 Tangerine Hill, Lutz, FL 33549. Include a note with how many shirts you would like (ladies cut available in limited supply, ladies cut sizes run a bit small).
May 2 Meeting
Dr. Ashley Leger
Lights, Camera, Fossils!
How the Entertainment Capital of the World
Turned into a Treasure Trove of Fossil Discoveries
My wife and I met Ashley Leger at least a decade ago when she was working at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota. We figured she was one of the local young folks who had taken a job at the Mammoth Site. Turns out she was an intern studying to be a paleontologist. You would have thought she was a marketing major as her personality couldn't have been more friendly and open. We met her in the gift shop and with her "bubbly personality (Dr. Agenbroad's words)" you'd have bet a bottom dollar that sales were in her future. Each year we sought Ashley out to say hello, and one year she was gone. Dr. Agenbroad told us she had moved on to pursue her PhD in paleontology. Until Dr. Agenbroad's passing in 2014, when we met with him and his wife Wanda, he always mentioned Ashley. She was clearly one of his favorite students... who would later become a colleague.
Fast forward a few years and one Sunday morning my wife and I are on the couch watching the morning's national news. The feature story was on major fossil excavations going on in Los Angeles. We shouldn't have been surprised to see that the city of Los Angeles had found the perfect personality to spread the fossil gospel. It was Dr. Ashley Leger.
Los Angeles, California is expanding the subway system and unique laws protecting artifacts and fossils during construction have generated thousands of fossils from Los Angeles County. During the expansion of Metro's Purple Line Subway, over 2,000 fossils have been recovered from Ice Age sediments, with potential for more every day. Numerous species ranging from gophers and turtles to bison, saber-toothed cats, and mammoths have been found. This Ice Age treasure trove is very near the world famous, La Brea Tar Pits, though the majority of the fossils have been outside of the tar seeps. Paleontologists are working 24 hours a day, actively looking for new fossil specimens. All fossils are being recovered by a team from Cogstone Resource Management and will become part of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum collection. This project has been a dream come true for paleontologist, Dr. Leger, who supervises the team at the subway. Dr. Leger fell in love with paleontology at age 7 and decided that she wanted to spend her life studying mammoths. After working at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD for nearly 10 years, the mammoths of California called to her. Ironically, the first fossil found after Dr. Leger joined the team on the Purple Line excavation was a nearly complete, juvenile mammoth skull.
Please join TBFC as we make our first attempt at a virtual meeting.
Closed for Summer
TBFC takes a much deserved summer hiatus. With the virus, looks like our break has been extended. If you're new to TBFC you may not know that we shut down for the summer. There will be no regular monthly meetings held in June, July, or August.
As I close this edition of the Tampa Bay Fossil Chronicles, the 2019-2020 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 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.
We will be back.
Thanks for the adventure TBFC!
President 2001- Present