DIG Field School January/February 2017 Newsletter – Issue 21
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Greetings DIG Friends! 

We're getting excited for the 2017 DIG Field School, which will take place July 27–31 at the Hell Creek State Park near Jordan, Montana. The 2017 DIG application is now live, so be sure to apply soon! See below for more details on this year’s field school, and visit for additional information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Are you a Puget Sound teacher, parent, or dinosaur enthusiast? The Burke Museum is hosting Dino Weekend Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12. This is a fun and educational event for kids and adults alike, and the DIG will have its own booth this year! Additionally, if you're looking to learn more about the paleoecology of dinosaurs, join us March 10 for a talk by Dr. Matthew Carrano, the Curator of Dinosauria at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Pre-registration for this free event is encouraged.

Are you interested in what's happening with the fossils collected this summer? See below for updates and pictures from the Burke's prep lab, as well as recently published research by members of the Wilson Lab and DIG Team. 

Among the many benefits of attending the DIG is continued involvement in scientific research after the field school ends. Join us at one of the next sorting parties to find some fossils and directly contribute to our ongoing research! See below for upcoming sorting party dates.

Finally, we'd like to take the time to thank those of you who have and continue to donate time and money to the DIG. Your support allows this program to have a growing and meaningful impact on K–12 education across the nation. Additionally, we'd like to thank our sponsors as well as the Bureau of Land Management for their ongoing assistance. 


The DIG Team
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Join Us This Summer!

We are excited to announce the 8th Annual DIG Field School dates and the opening of the application! The DIG will take place July 27–31 at the Hell Creek State Park near Jordan, Montana. New and returning participants are encouraged to apply for the experience of a lifetime. At the DIG you can expect to: 

  • Learn field geology and paleontology techniques and collect valuable scientific data for research on the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction event
  • Excavate dinosaurs and vertebrate microfossils with UW and Burke Museum paleontologists 
  • Build your knowledge and bring renewed enthusiasm for Earth Sciences into your classroom
  • Get dirty, laugh a lot, and have an amazing four days in the field with fellow teachers and DIG staff

The DIG Field School is open to all K–12 STEM educators, and continuing education credits/clock hours are available. Click here to apply, and please forward this message to anyone interested the in program! More information can be found on our website. The deadline for the application is March 31st, so be sure to apply before then. 

In addition to the DIG, our research team will be conducting fieldwork from late June to early August. If you're a past DIG participant or paleontology enthusiast interested in volunteering, please send us an email

2017 Dino Weekend

Join us on Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. for an engaging talk by Dr. Matthew Carrano, the Curator of Dinosauria at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Dr. Carrano studies the evolution of predatory dinosaurs, the paleoecology of Mesozoic ecosystems, and the quality of the terrestrial fossil record. This is a free event you definitely don't want to miss!

Due to popular demand, the Burke's annual Dino Day event has been extended into a weekend-long affair!
Dino Weekend gives kids, families, and dinosaur enthusiasts alike the chance to see an awesome array of dinosaur specimens and speak with Burke Museum paleontologists. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from experts in the field and take a look at progress on the T. rex discovery, as well as many other specimens collected by UW paleontologists and DIG participants! See below for more details. 

The DIG will have its own booth during the event, so please be sure to stop by if you attend! Additionally, if you are a DIG teacher and interested in volunteering at our booth please send us an email. We'd love to have you help!

Fossil Sorting Parties

Come join us at the next sorting party! These are great opportunities to get your hand on some fossils, connect with other members of the program, share classroom activity ideas, enjoy coffee and treats, and more! Please feel free to email us if you have any questions. Here's the schedule for the remainder of the school year:

  • March 19
  • April 2
  • May 21

DIG In The Classroom

This school year alone, the DIG box has already visited 12 classrooms across the country, including Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, and California. We've also sent sediment samples to a total of 11 classrooms (and counting) in Washington, Montana, Ohio, and Indiana, reaching over 12,000 students. Moreover, our instructors are connecting directly with students through visits to classrooms as well as private tours of the museum. Interested in using DIG materials or having a DIG instructor visit you? Send us an email!

Many teachers have already developed and continue to develop their own classroom activities based on their DIG experience. 2016 DIG teacher Malia Sturgeon, for example, had her students design and map out their own fieldwork expedition—pretty cool! Additionally, her classroom produced this awesome piece of art entitled, "Hell Creek Starry Night." Take a look below!

Research Updates

Burke Museum preparators are busily working on many of the specimens collected this past summer and in prior years. See below for a few notable updates, and be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for future posts!

In case you haven't seen, recently published research by members of the Wilson Lab has been getting a lot of press! See below for articles about Dr. Greg Wilson's work on Didelphodon—along with co-authors Eric Ekdale, John Hoganson, Jonathan Calede, and Abby Vander Linden—which was the largest Cretaceous mammal in North America. Additionally, take a look at a new lizard species described by Dr. Dave DeMar and co-authors Jack Conrad, Jason Head, David Varricchio, and Greg Wilson. Moreover, former DIG instructor and University of Washington PhD alum Dr. Jonathan Calede and Wilson Lab alum Jennifer Glusman recently published a paper on using quantitative techniques to identify extant and extinct gopher species. Pretty cool!

Above – The Tufts-Love T. rex jaw in a field jacket (top); current state of the jaw in the prep lab (bottom).
Above – Extracting the "Clarisasaurus" hadrosaur in the field (top); progress on the hindquarter section of the specimen in the prep lab (bottom).
Above – Drs. Greg Wilson and Dave DeMar pose with the fossil discoveries in the Burke's Vertebrate Paleontology Collection room.
Above – Link to Dr. Jonathan Calede's recently published paper in Paleobiology.
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