Museum, center at fossil site to train volunteers

Contributed To The Press • Updated Feb 17, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Paleontology enthusiasts are welcome to volunteer with excavation and lab crews at the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site. A volunteer orientation session is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10-11 a.m.

Due to the recent discovery of large mastodont fossils, various volunteer opportunities are available for assisting in the prep lab and in the field. Gray Fossil Site paleontologists are seeking dedicated individuals to join the field crew to help recover these specimens. Volunteers will work side-by-side with the crew excavating the massive bones and will wet-screen the sediment produced during the dig.

There are also positions for work inside the lab. Sediment produced by the excavations can contain small pieces of the mastodont, and it is vital that these and any associated microfossils are recovered. Lab volunteers will use microscopes to sort through the sediment and recover these pieces so the project can be completed.

Volunteers may also contribute by greeting visitors to the Natural History Museum, guiding groups or working alongside museum curators. 

Volunteers must be 15 or older. Volunteer training and orientation is offered in the spring and fall. The museum cannot accept volunteers outside of the orientation dates at this time. For more information, call 423-439-3661 or email [email protected].

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