CITY, S.D. (May 13, 2014) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
is hosting the 2014 Conference on Fossil Resources, attracting nearly 120 paleontological
experts from around the world.
conference begins today and runs through Thursday. The focus will be on
partnerships between federal and non-federal agencies in managing fossils found
on public lands. The university’s Museum of Geology has been a repository for federal,
tribal and state fossils for many years
are considered by several of the agencies to be a poster child for good
professional relations between museums and agencies, especially now that our
Paleontology Research Laboratory is open,” said Sally Shelton, associate
director at the museum and conference chair.
conference will highlight the history of Fossil Cycad National Monument, between
Hot Springs and Edgemont, the only National Park Service unit ever
decommissioned because its main resource was removed or stolen. Conference
attendees will travel to the site on Wednesday afternoon following a moderated
morning session on the site’s history and future.
conference highlights include sessions on monitoring/mitigation paleontology, when
experts work to salvage fossils from construction, highway and industrial sites,
as well as law enforcement issues when sites are damaged and fossils are
will come from throughout the United States, Canada, Uruguay and the United
Kingdom. Representatives of the Cheyenne River Reservation’s and Pine Ridge
Reservation’s Tribal Historic and Cultural Heritage Preservation offices will
discuss paleontology resource management issues. “One of our priorities is
training the next generation of tribal paleontologists in this region,” Shelton
a dozen School of Mines paleontology students are highly involved in the
conference. The School of Mines teaches the only graduate/undergraduate course
in paleontology resource management in the country, preparing students for
industry jobs in monitoring paleontology, federal, state agency and tribal jobs,
and paleontology law enforcement jobs.
am very proud of the students. They will get a terrific chance to talk to and
network with the experts in these fields,” Shelton said. The School of Mines
has been asked to contribute to a textbook on mitigation paleontology. The book’s
lead authors will attend the conference.
reception celebrating the life of longtime museum volunteer Bill Schurmann and an
announcement of a new exhibit/program made possible by his estate gift will be
at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Museum of Geology, third floor of the O’Harra
Building. The conference is dedicated to the memory of Schurmann in honor of
his many years of volunteer service to the museum and the School of Mines.
of the notable guests will include Vernon Bump, son of early museum director James
conference is sponsored by the Museum of Geology at the School of Mines, Bureau
of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.
three-day conference kicks off with welcome remarks at 8 a.m. in the Surbeck
Center ballroom. Today’s events also include the keynote address, presentations
and posters. Wednesday’s events focus on the fossil Cycad National Monument and
also include discussions on mitigation paleontology. Thursday’s events include
a law enforcement discussion.
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D.,
offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls
2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio
of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent
placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on
Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.