Paleonet: Outreach for public science literacy

Michael michael at
Wed Jun 1 21:57:30 UTC 2011

Dear Peter and David,

if outreach is the issue I suggest scientists at all levels to work on Paleo literacy in the field (in the amateur fossil community and in schools). I am an amateur being attracted 4 years ago to microfossils by a professional geologist giving price-worthy lectures at an evening school in Hamburg, Germany. As a result I run now the project, which wants to build a link between science and community in order to rise the interest (literacy) on foraminifera. So I am in contact with scientists on the one side and amateur-paleontologists on the other and know the deep gap in between. 

So what may you do as scientists ? An example: In the US you have got the Fossil-Forum with 4969 members The main issue is trading, showing nice finds and chating. There are almost no posts on the story behind the scenery, no scientists present, no offerings by scientists for an interesting workshop or excursion. People there are interested in fossils but do not get a proper input to leave their collecting and trading attitude. Another issue would be the care for vivid local fossil clubs. If 200 paleontologists in the US would build or care for a local fossil club with 5-20 members meeting each month you would have 2000 people enthusiastic about the paleo-issue and well informed. 

Michael Hesemann Project
Hamburg, Germany
PS: The project has seen some progress with about 80 professional+amateur contributors. Our local microfossil-club has grown to roughly 20 members, we are organizing our first micro-workshop, show a foram-exhibition and give talks on forams at other fossil-clubs. ( We think such activities are an option to rise science literacy.

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