Spring is a busy time as we ramp up preparations for the 2014 DIG Field School (Jul 31–Aug 4). This year we received many strong applications from K-12 teachers aross the country, from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, California, Montana, and Washington. We are eager to welcome our largest and perhaps most diverse DIG class yet!
Since our last newsletter we've sent the DIG Box to five classrooms around Washington and Montana, reaching 150 students. Four more DIG teachers and 400 students will work with the DIG Box before school's out for summer, and we are officially in need of more boxes to meet demand. See below for some fossils found by Rick Dees' students at the Huntley Project High School in Billings, MT.
In April we hosted two behind-the-scenes Burke Museum tours. Three DIG teachers and 56 students and parents learned how the fossils we collected last summer are cleaned and stabilized by technicians, how they’re curated into the collections for study, and how the research is translated into fossil exhibits.
Below, Board Chair John Pohl gives an update on the progress of the DIG Advisory Board.
Stay tuned for more updates and thank you for your continued support!
– The DIG Team
DIG Box Snapshots
Rick Dees, a 9–12th grade teacher at the Huntley Project High School in Billings, MT, used the DIG Box in his biology classes this month. He and his students connected their cell phones to microscopes to take these awesome pictures. Check out more DIG box finds here!
A Letter from John Pohl,
DIG Advisory Board Chair
The DIG Advisory Board was created last year to advise, advocate for, and raise funds in support of the DIG and the teachers and students it serves. I graduated with a degree in Geology from Dickinson College, and then followed a career in business, eventually running my own company. In 2008, I met Greg and Lauren while taking graduate courses at the University of Washington. With their encouragement, I participated in the 2011 DIG Field School and was immediately hooked. This was a program that worked. Upon returning from the field I asked how I could help the mission, and here I am.
“The DIG really changed how I view teaching.” – DIG 2012 Participant
When I read the above quote, I realized the impact the DIG is making in our classrooms. Students are more engaged and teachers better prepared. It connects students and teachers with real science that inspires active learning.
We had an excellent 2013-2014, training 20 teachers and reaching over 1000 students with the DIG Box curriculum. Graduate student members of the DIG Team had opportunities to learn the importance of engaging with local communities and schools. The program continues to meet the new science standards by reflecting the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world: connecting research, curation, and education.
We recognize the growing demand to provide continuing education for in-service teachers and are working to add more field sessions and more field camps. We are also looking to improve year-round access to DIG resources and research for students and educators by using web-based videos, conferencing, and forums. And to sustain and grow the program, to inspire the next generation of scientists, we must continue to raise funds.
Many of you have asked, “How can I help?” The answer is simple. You can support the program by encouraging others to learn about the DIG and by identifying resources that can help to fund it.
I look forward to a great 2014 and your support.
John C. Pohl
Chair - DIG Field School Advisory Board
DIG Research Update...
Dave DeMar, a graduate student in the Wilson lab and part of our DIG Team, studies fossil amphibians, lizards, and snakes from the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods. Recently, Dave presented his research in Alberta, Canada at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology Annual Speaker Series. Dave also examined the RTMP's and the University of Alberta's excellent collections of fossil salamanders and lizards, and he CT scanned two amphibian jaw specimens at the University of Calgary.
Want to design this year's DIG Field School T-shirt? Enter the 2014 "Design the DIG" contest to see your idea on our t-shirts and win DIG gear. Email your design entry to firstname.lastname@example.org. The contest is open to anyone, including students. The winning entry will be announced in June.