Bears Ears Trip

Thanks for your interest in volunteering to support some of the exciting paleontology taking place within Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah.
The December 28th, 2016, Proclamation that established the Bears Ears National Monument describes the paleontological resources within the monument as follows:

 “The paleontological resources in the Bears Ears area are among the richest and most significant in the United States, and protection of this area will provide important opportunities for further archaeological and paleontological study. Many sites, such as Arch Canyon, are teeming with fossils, and research conducted in the Bears Ears area is revealing new insights into the transition of vertebrate life from reptiles to mammals and from sea to land. Numerous ray-finned fish fossils from the Permian Period have been discovered, along with other late Paleozoic Era fossils, including giant amphibians, synapsid reptiles, and important plant fossils. Fossilized traces of marine and aquatic creatures such as clams, crayfish, fish, and aquatic reptiles have been found in Indian Creek's Chinle Formation, dating to the Triassic Period, and phytosaur and dinosaur fossils from the same period have been found along Comb Ridge. Paleontologists have identified new species of plant-eating crocodile-like reptiles and mass graves of lumbering sauropods, along with metoposaurus, crocodiles, and other dinosaur fossils. Fossilized trackways of early tetrapods can be seen in the Valley of the Gods and in Indian Creek, where paleontologists have also discovered exceptional examples of fossilized ferns, horsetails, and cycads. The Chinle Formation and the Wingate, Kayenta, and Navajo Formations above it provide one of the best continuous rock records of the Triassic-Jurassic transition in the world, crucial to understanding how dinosaurs dominated terrestrial ecosystems and how our mammalian ancestors evolved. In Pleistocene Epoch sediments, scientists have found traces of mammoths, short-faced bears, ground sloths, primates, and camels.”

Bears Ears is one of America’s newest national monuments, and while amazing paleontological research has been conducted there, a lot of work remains to find, document, and study the paleontological resources in the monument. 

We are looking for 10-20 dedicated volunteers who are interested in helping a few paleontologists in their field work looking for, documenting, and excavating fossils.  We will be working with paleontologists Robert J. Gay, Allison Stegner, and possibly others.  

The work will be varied, but in general will be arduous and in very hot, rough, and steep terrain.

We very well may not have room for everyone, but if you fill out the survey below, we will be in touch regarding the upcoming field work and, if we don’t have room for you during this field session, Rob and Allison will keep you on their lists for potential future work.

If you are interested in participating, please complete the survey below.  We will be in touch to provide more details in the coming days and weeks.

Thank you!

* 1. Your name:

* 2. Your contact information:

* 3. How many days are you interested in volunteering?

* 4. Check the box for any/every day you could make the trip:

* 5. Do you have experience with paleontology survey/excavation work?

* 6. Can you bring a 4-wheel drive SUV on the trip?

* 7. Can you bring an ATV with you?

* 8. Are you willing and able to participate in strenuous hikes across rough and steep terrain?