News and events

It’s a busy time of the year for the paleo community! Last week Seattle hosted the Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting from October 22–25, and 12 current and former members of the DIG team presented at the meeting: DIG Director Greg Wilson, Assistant Director Brody Hovatter, Stephanie Smith, Luke Weaver, Paige Wilson, Tom Tobin, Isabel Fendley, Meng Chen, Jonathan Calede, Courtney Sprain, Natalie Toews, and Amanda Peng. The GSA is a global professional society for geologists and paleontologists, and the event played host to 7,100 attendees from 54 different countries. Additionally, University of Washington Professor Dr. Caroline Stromberg was awarded the Schuchert Award from the Paleontological Society, which is presented to a person early in his or her career whose work reflects excellence and promise in the science of paleontology. Congratulations Caroline!


Like the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) annual meeting, the GSA meeting provides a chance for professional and non-professional geoscience enthusiasts to learn about current research in a number of different subdisciplines, meet and network with geoscience researchers and educators, and connect with old friends and colleagues. Additionally, these societies are a great way to help build your content knowledge in a number of different scientific disciplines (especially if you’re a STEM teacher!). Interested in learning more about these societies? Visit GSA’s website here and SVP’s website here.




In other paleo news, a number of interesting scientific articles have been released lately, including an interesting new take on the factors that led to the extinction of non-avian dinosaursmammalian ecological diversity across the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (authored by DIG founders Greg Wilson and Lauren DeBey!), and an interesting piece on Dr. Mary Schweitzer’s hunt for ancient dinosaur moleculesClick on the links above to read more about some of the latest research in paleontology.

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Bring the DIG experience to your class

One of the primary goals of the DIG is to connect students and teachers with real scientists. To accomplish that goal, members of our team visit the classrooms of DIG participants in the greater Seattle area, where they teach students about paleontology, lead hands-on fossil activities, and discuss careers in science. We also hold Skype sessions with classrooms that are outside of Washington.

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So far these classroom visitations have been extremely rewarding for us, and feedback from the teachers has been great. Witnessing the excitement of a student touching a real fossil is an experience that’s hard to beat. We hope that this type of experience is something that sticks with them, and helps demonstrate that scientists are not just old curmudgeons in lab coats hiding inside laboratories. Moreover, these visits help increase engagement with and understanding of scientific concepts among both students and teachers, which in turn leads to increased preparedness for tackling the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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In addition to visiting classrooms, we give behind-the-scene tours of our research lab and the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. During these tours students get to interact with university and museum scientists and with fossils not accessible to the general public. These museum and lab tours have been equally as impactful as the classroom visits, and with the building of the new Burke—as well as some exciting fossil discoveries like the Tufts-Love T. rex—we hope to continue to expand the number of classrooms we interact with.WOLKEN-4898 copy

Teachers who have been through the DIG program can request a classroom visit or tour of the museum by emailing us at Be sure to sign up soon!


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Join us at the Burke!

We’re continuing our monthly Sunday fossil parties at the Burke, and would love for you to be there! Please see below for the complete list of dates. During these events participants sort through microfossils, help piece together macrofossils, and take part in a number of other paleo activities. We’re excited to announce that we’ll be co-hosting these events with the Northwest Paleontological Association (NPA), which is a Seattle-based organization for professional and amateur paleontologists of all ages. You can read more about the NPA by visiting their website here.

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New for this year: we will have an invited speaker for many (hopefully all) of the events! Stay tuned for a list of the presenters coming soon. These events are a great way to connect with members of the DIG and other fossil enthusiasts, learn more about paleontology, and get your hands dirty! Moreover, these events can help STEM teachers build their scientific knowledge through direct interaction with authentic data and scientists. Please RSPV to, or send us an email if you have any questions.

Event Details:
Where: The Burke Room at the Burke Museum in Seattle, WA
When: 11a–2p on select Sundays:

  • November 19th
  • December 3rd
  • January 21st
  • February 11th
  • March 18th
  • May 6th
  • June 3rd

Directions: The Burke Museum is located at the corner of 17th Ave NE and NE 45th St, on the north end of the University of Washington campus. The Burke Room is located on the second floor of the museum, directly to the left as you enter the main entrance.

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2017 DIG Field School Dates and Application

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We are excited to announce the 2017 DIG Field School dates and the opening of the application! The DIG will take place July 27–31 at the Hell Creek State Park near Jordan, Montana. Interested teachers can apply to the program here. The application will remain open until March 31 at 11:50 p.m. PST.

Please help us circulate this message to anyone who may be interested in the program, and be sure to check out our website, Facebook, and Twitter for additional updates!

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