DinoByte Wednesday: Meet the DIG Field School Team

The fifth annual DIG Field School is quickly approaching and we are working around the clock to prepare for an exciting week in the field with an excellent group of educators! Before everyone heads out to Montana, we wanted to give our teachers a chance to get to know more of the field instructors that will be guiding them through their DIG experience. Check out our blog on DIG Co-Founders Greg Wilson and Lauren DeBey and keep reading here to meet your awesome DIG Team!

Dave DeMar joins the DIG Field school for his third year as a field instructor. He is a graduate student in Dr. Greg Wilson’s lab at the University of Washington and his research focuses on amphibian, lizard, and snake extinction and recovery across the K/Pg boundary. Dave’s work has described new species of amphibians and lizards from the Late Cretaceous Period based on fossils from the Hell Creek area. The opportunity to step back in time and learn about animals that no longer exist today is one of the many things Dave loves about paleontology. He has been working in the Hell Creek area with Greg since 2007 and has also spent time collecting fossils in Wyoming during his undergraduate degree at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. Dave is a military veteran and served his country in the US ARMY for three years. Fun Fact: Dave has seen nearly every PBS and BBC special on dinosaurs ever made.

Dave gives the thumbs up after finding and excavating a turtle at the K/Pg boundary site “Lerbekmo”  during the 2011 DIG Field School. Photo credit: Lauren DeBey.
Dave gives the thumbs up after finding and excavating a turtle at the K/Pg boundary site “Lerbekmo” during the 2011 DIG Field School (left) and collects data on an “in situ” dinosaur rib during a 2014 UW field course (right). Photo credit: Lauren DeBey.

Stephanie Smith completed her BA in Biology at Johns Hopkins University in 2012 and is entering her third year of graduate school at the University of Washington in Dr. Greg Wilson’s lab. Stephanie’s research includes examining faunal recovery following the K/Pg extinction using fossils of mammal teeth from the Hell Creek area. Her favorite part about fieldwork is finding microfossils. She says, “the best is when you’ve been staring at the same spot of outcrop for ten minutes and find something you somehow hadn’t seen before.” Stephanie joins the DIG Field School for her third year as a field instructor. Fun Fact: Stephanie owns a stuffed Echidna (spiny anteater) named Humphrey.

Stephanie snaps a photo at a fossil microsite in McCone County in Montana (left) and displays her general enthusiasm for Anomalocaris, an extinct animal related to arthropods (right). Photo credit: Stephanie Smith.
Stephanie snaps a photo at a fossil microsite in McCone County in Montana (left) and displays her general enthusiasm for Anomalocaris, an extinct animal related to arthropods (right). Photo credit: Stephanie Smith.

Dr. Tom Tobin received his PhD in the Earth and Space Science and Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington last month! His dissertation research focused on reconstruction of paleoenvironments across the K/Pg mass extinction using stable isotope geochemistry. He reconstructed a marine paleoenvironment in Antarctica and a terrestrial paleoenvironment in the Hell Creek. Throughout his undergraduate work at Macalester College and graduate work at UW, Tom has spent two seasons conducting glacier field work in the Canadian Rockies, one season filming, catching, measuring and sampling living Nautilus for population studies in American Samoa, and a combined seven seasons performing fieldwork in Antarctica, Australia and Montana. Tom joins us for his third summer as a DIG field instructor. Fun Fact: When Tom leaves our field camp he will continue his drive from Washington to Wisconsin to join the faculty of Lake Superior State as a Visiting Assistant Professor of geology.

Tom stands in the Lake District of the United Kingdom (left), and clears sand around a giant Cretaceous ammonite fossil in Antarctica (right). Photo credit: Tom Tobin.
Tom stands in the Lake District of the United Kingdom (left), and clears sand around a giant Cretaceous ammonite fossil in Antarctica (right). Photo credit: Tom Tobin.

Dr. Regan Dunn completed her PhD at the University of Washington late last year and has since been working as the Geology and Paleontology Collections Manager at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Regan has conducted fieldwork in Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. Her Masters research (University of Wyoming) focused on Paleocene megafloras and pollen from the Hanna Basin, south-central WY. For her PhD work, she studied phytoliths (plant silica) to reconstruct vegetation structure in the context of climate change in the Middle Cenozoic Period of Patagonia. Regan also worked as a Paleobotanist for the National Park Service at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in east-central Oregon, and she joins us this summer for her first DIG Field School experience! Fun Fact: Regan played Division 1 soccer in college and likes to run big rapids in places like the Grand Canyon.

Regan in her happy place, surrounded by sedimentary rocks at Deer Creek in the Grand Canyon. Photo credit: Regan Dunn.

Watch below as Regan describes her work in Costa Rica:

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