Aspen teachers to join Snowmass fossil dig crew
ASPEN – Aspen educators will be well represented in the group of 15 local volunteers who have been chosen to work alongside scientists at the fossil dig near Snowmass Village this summer.The Denver Museum of Nature & Science interviewed 55 applicants, most of them in person, before choosing a group of mostly teachers who will join the dig for five-day stretches between June 6 and 24.The selected participants, announced Thursday, include: teachers Chris Faison of Aspen Community School, Kristin Lidman of Aspen Country Day School, Lisa Lawrence of Aspen Elementary School, Georgina Levey and Greg Shaffran of Aspen Middle School, and Andre Wille of Aspen High School, plus Sarah Schmidt with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.Other volunteers include: Trent Bakich of Riverside Middle School in New Castle, Diana Buirgy of Coal Ridge High School in New Castle, Andrea Brogan with the U.S. Forest Service, Patrick Uphus with the White River National Forest, Alice Steindler of Rifle High School, and James Campbell, Ronald Carsten and Sandra Jackson, all with Colorado Mountain College.”It was a very difficult process,” said Dr. Ian Miller, the museum’s curator of paleontology, on selecting the group. “The folks who were chosen had some really innovative ideas on how they were going to share the information.”Wille, a teacher of biology and chemistry at Aspen High, intends to incorporate his experience into both of those curriculums. Evolution, speciation and extinction all have a place in biology, while carbon dating, for example, relates to chemistry, he said.”I’ve been hoping to get in on the Snowmass dig since they first found it last fall,” Wille said. “I’m sort of a fossil collecting nut, so I’m excited.”Volunteers, who must first attend training in June, will have a chance to wield shovels, pick axes, trowels and brushes at the dig. Applicants, in addition to living full- or part-time in the greater Roaring Fork Valley, had to be willing to do strenuous physical labor.They’ll also be screening sediments to look for bone fragments, applying plaster “jackets” to fossils in the field to keep them intact while they’re moved, washing and cataloging fossils, and attending the breakfast and dinner meetings where the rest of the volunteers and scientists convene, according to the firstname.lastname@example.org
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Perhaps it’s because we are in the abbreviated days of winter and I instinctively know that the sun is shining down-under. But every January I go through a nostalgic period where Australian wine dominates my mind.