Spring 2016 -  After finishing the organization of the Cambrian Collection, we decided to put the curation of the material on hold and continue organizing the rest of the Paleozoic (excluding the Bear Gulch).  The remaining 5 Periods are housed in 9 cases and contain specimens acquired during the early 1900s as part of the growing teaching and research collection at the University.  Volunteers assisted with this project and helped to complete it by the end of the semester.  Now, the full Paleozoic collection is ready to curate next semester.

The main use of the collection is research, but it is heavily used in outreach as well.  I had the amazing opportunity to feature some of the UMPC specimens and be interviewed by Hank Green on the SciShow Talk Show (find the link under the About page).   Upon writing this, the video had been viewed over 90,000 times!  Currently my main outreach project is developing a better Traveling Trunk (TT) that can be rented out by teachers and used in the classroom.  The existing TT is used regularly, but is small and does not contain approved curriculum for Montana.  This upgraded TT will complement our other outreach programs including tours, science nights, and remote learning opportunities at the UMPC.   To view an example of distance learning available through the UMPC and the University, check out my paleoneurology lecture with MonTec Inspired Classroom from March.

As spring comes to an end it ushers in graduations.  A mammoth-sized congratulations is in order for Montana Hodges, who will complete her dissertation titled, “Geochronology and Paleontology of Eastern Panthalassan Coral Recovery After the End-Triassic Mass Extinction and the Dissemination of Paleontological Research to Promote Positive Science Identities “, this May under the direction of Dr. Stanley.  Dr. Hodges will continue her work in paleontology in Alaska for the summer with a grant from the Alaska Geological Society and will be teaching at Yuba Community College in California this coming fall (August 2016).  For more information on Montana and her dissertation see her STEM Stories video.

-Kallie Moore, Collections Manager

Dr. Hodges surveys students while watching STEM Stories

Dr. Montana Hodges surveys students while watching the STEM Stories YouTube Videos.