You get to spend a week hunting for dinosaur bones with guides out in the field!
You will be able to keep almost everything that you find. In most cases each participant finds several hundred bone fragments, ten or so mostly complete bones and an occasional tooth and claw.
There aren't many cooler things you can say than "Hey, want to look at my fossil collection? It's a hobby." At least, that's what we would like to think.
During this week we will be collecting on two different ranches. Both ranches contain an Oligocene component while one has a mid to late Cretaceous Marine deposit. This last ranch has produced over 20 small to large mosasaurs.
During the second week, we will be collecting on a ranch we have been to several times before. It is well known for Triceratops material, T Rex material, plant fossils and petrified wood.
During this week we will be collecting on a large 33,000 acre ranch. This ranch with fossils from the Lance Creek formation was collected for the first time last year, and not all of the ranch was covered. Most participants had a very positive experience, however, there is a lot of walking involved. This will remain the case until we have a better understanding of where the fossils are located.
During week 4 we will continue collecting on the same ranch as last week. The ranch will be divided into two sections; one section will be collected during session 3 and the other during session 4. In addition, there will be a small group of student excavators working at various sites discovered on the ranch last year.
During session 5 we will be based in Buffalo South Dakota. We will be collecting on three separate Hell Creek ranches all located within 20 miles of the city of Buffalo. The students will still be with us during this time.
During Session 6, we will still be based in Buffalo, but will be collecting in North Dakota. In addition to the usual Hell Creek ranch that we collect, this year we will be adding another smaller ranch with about 2000 acres of exposure. This area was covered very briefly last year, to determine if it was a viable collecting area. The net results were positive and so it has been added to the list of our collecting ranches. The new acreage adjoins the ranch from last week.
During our last session, we will be on a Judith River formation ranch, North West of Glasgow. Last year was another excellent week of collecting on this physically demanding ranch. For those able to tough it out it always provides excellent fossils. New areas uncollected in past years were investigated this year with very positive results. In addition we are beginning, finally, to understand the nature of the fossil bearing layers in the Valley.