Let me start with a great big thanks to Derek Main for allowing me and a couple of members of my family to participate in this summer’s dig at the Arlington Archosaur site. After helping out for several weeks, it was also a pleasure to be able to tag along on the tour of the site that Derek gave to a new Earthwatch group that had just arrived for a two week (I think) “vacation” to help out with the dig.
I first heard about this type of citizen scientist project on a TV program over a decade ago. The program had mentioned some digs out West where volunteers were allowed to participate. This really caught my attention and I hoped I would get lucky enough to be able to participate in one someday. A few years later an opportunity presented itself for an archeological dig but unfortunately my family was unable to take advantage of it. Then, I think it was near the end of the first or second dig season at the Arlington Archosaur site, I learned about the call for volunteers to help with the dig a little too late to be able to be able to participate. At the time, I did not realize that this was going to be an ongoing effort, so I was really excited to find out this past spring that it was still going and needed some additional volunteers. (If Derek had not participated in the Front and Center Event this past April, I probably would still be oblivious.) It is so cool to have this type of opportunity “right in my own backyard”.
So what is the Arlington Archosaur site and do they still need help?
From the Arlington Archosaur website, “The Arlington Archosaur Site is a prolific fossil site that was discovered … by UT-Arlington students Phil Kirchhoff and Bill Walker along with local fossil collectors Art and Olivia Sahlstein in the summer of 2003…. To date, more dinosaur fossils have been recovered from the Arlington Archosaur Site than from any other site in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex." Fossils of ancient crocodiles and turtles were the main finds uncovered during my volunteer time.
With regards to help, assistance is needed in two areas, volunteer sweat equity and monetary donations. While the summer field season is over, the fall dig season should begin again near the end of September. You can stay up to date with current information about the site by visiting the Arlington Archosaur facebook page. The website also has information about how to volunteer to help at the site in the “sweat equity” category. While there does not seem to be any information about how to donate funds to this project, from having worked at the site several times this summer, I am aware that there are smaller day to day needs that donations would help with as well as long term wishes, that if they come to fruition, will require a large amount of funding. If this type of assistance is more your speed, contact Derek to see how to help with the monetary category of assistance.
Update: I have just noticed that a donations button has been added to the website.