As Curator of Education I take the job of involving the youth of today in our Museums seriously. Even before coming to work for the Museums I was ensuring that tomorrow’s leaders saw the value and importance in museums and research through a high school paleontology program. I am proud to announce that this idea is now being carried forward here in the Grand Valley.
In the fall of 2016, I began working with Billy Johnson, a geology teacher at Fruita Monument High School; and Maria Duel, the STEM coordinator at District 51. The plan was that students from Mr. Johnson’s class at FMHS would come to Dinosaur Journey in Fruita to not only experience the exhibit hall but also to have an ongoing place in museum operations. Student introductions occurred in October of 2016 and Mr. Johnson has been at work with D51 to make sure the proper paperwork is in place on their end.
Starting in the spring of 2017, students from the FMHS geology class will be coming to Dinosaur Journey to help with exhibit setup, fossil preparation, collections cleaning, and other aspects of museum operations. Not only will this help the Museums with needed work but it will give students a peek behind the scenes of what really goes on in a museum.
Additionally, this will set students up to be in a good position for the summer. We will be hosting two high school paleontology camps this summer, June 5-18 in the Bears Ears and June 21-29 in the Gateway area. By having local students involved with the Museums before these camps start, we hope to encourage them to participate in these camps as well. Several students I have worked with over the last three years have gone on to co-author peer-reviewed scientific papers while still in high school or as college undergraduates, received scholarships for their work, and traveled to international conferences to present on their research.
With this partnership in place, the groundwork has been laid for students in our area to achieve great things in science while the Museums support our community. I’m very excited to see what this partnership brings us in 2017!