Our program this month will be presented by Professor Danita Brandt and is titled, The Darwin You Don't Know: Charles Darwin, Geologist. Danita promises the talk will be illustrated with fossils.
Danita Brandt is a faculty member in the Department of Earth & Environmental Science at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Originally from Kankakee County, Illinois, where her first encounter with bedrock was Silurian dolomites with fossil voids and internal mold preservation, Danita earned her bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Illinois, under the mentorship of Professor Dan Blake (known for his work with fossil sea-stars). Professor Blake advised her to apply to the University of Cincinnati for a master's degree, because he thought that the paleontology program at UC, which had just hired a new assistant professor by the name of Dave Meyer, would be a good fit. He was right. Even though an echinoderm specialist, Dr. Meyer agreed to supervise a thesis on the familiar Cincinnatian trilobite Flexicalymene.
Like every paleontology grad student at UC, Professor Brandt benefitted from the generosity of time in the field and donations of specimens from members of the Dry Dredgers, particularly Steve Felton. Ignoring her advisor's caution that Yale's paleontology program was in a "rebuilding" phase, Danita went for the Ivy League Ph.D. and ultimately prevailed, even though her dissertation was on something called "stratigraphic resolution." Her first job, at Eastern Michigan University, led to a National Science Foundation award that allowed her to spend a year anywhere she chose. She chose to come back to UC, this time as a faculty colleague to her former advisor. Danita continues to look for opportunities to visit her old stomping grounds, and has particularly enjoyed introducing Michiganders to Skyline, Graeters, and the Cincinnati lagerstatte.
Danita should be a familiar face to the Dredgers as she has attended all of our Zoom meetings and some of our face to face meetings when she’s been in town.
Our last Zoom meeting was the most successful so far with 69 connected and about 83 actual people viewing.
TIME: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Beginner’s Class
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Optional Chat
8:00 PM Main meeting with program
DATE: Friday, March 26, 2021. Link to be sent by March 24th
PLACE: Via Zoom
The February 2021 Beginner’s Class will be via Zoom from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on March 26th. It will be held before the general meeting. This month's Beginner’s Class will be presented by Asa Kaplan. The topic of the presentation will be, Float: Fossils Out of Place. It'll be a roundup of all the places to encounter fossils other than at outcrops, including urban settings (e.g., counter tops), and a discussion of what it means to find them there.
For Asa Kaplan, science is only as good as its ability to enrich everyday living. A Chicago- and St.Louis-based naturalist and social entrepreneur, Asa focuses on gathering community around hyperlocal nature experiences in urban settings. Though more informed by experiences of personal discovery, Asa's formal educational background includes Biology undergraduate (Yale) and Geology graduate work (University of Michigan) on brachiopods, trilobites, and cephalopods. Asa's recent projects include a paleontological building stone tour of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, as well as the internet's first real-time almanac of the seasons, The @Living_Almanac.
This class will be managed through the Zoom Breakout Room feature. Once you have joined the general meeting (using the link provided by Jack Kallmeyer on the 24th) you will need to locate the Breakout Room icon at the bottom of your screen and click it. Next click on the Beginner’s Class Breakout Room (there will be only one choice) and then click Join. By clicking Leave Room you may return to the main meeting at any time. The Beginner’s Class Breakout Room will end promptly at 8:00 and you will automatically be returned to the main meeting.
If you join the main meeting and do not see the Breakout Room icon, you need to ask Jack, who will be in the main meeting, to let you in to the Beginner’s Class Breakout Room.
Prior to the meeting, download the Zoom app on your PC, tablet or cell phone. Here is a link to the sign up page: https://zoom.us/download You will be signing up for the “Zoom Client for Meetings” which is free. You do not need a paid subscription.
If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, please Google “how to use Zoom” and you should see dozens of simple explanations.
[NOTE: this field trip was originally planned for March 2020; however, activities in this country – and throughout the world – ground to a halt. Consider this the beginning of a “do-over” for 2020!]
The word for today is “copacetic,” meaning “in good order” (Scrabble value: 15 points, without any bonus squares.) What better way to begin the first official Dry Dredgers field trip of the 2021 season in “good order” than to visit a Kope Formation site! Saturday, March 27th, at 10:00 AM.
Exploring this exposure in March, coming after the winter rains and snow, should reveal fresh specimens. While a variety of trilobite fragments will be found, whole ones are rare. That said, cephalopods are plentiful, as are graptolites, brachiopods, trace fossils, and many others. The site has good parking, a rudimentary bathroom facility (i.e. pit toilet, NOT a bush alongside a roadway) and is easily accessible in the lower levels. While it can be muddy at the bottom if it has recently rained, its overall layout provides plenty of room for all, and is a much safer place for younger members than a typical roadside cut.
Please keep in mind you may get muddy; at the very least, you will get dirty. For those newbies to our field trips, this marks you – and your vehicle – as true amateur paleontologists. As our field trips are rain or shine, some of those markings may take a bit of cleaning afterward! Please remember your mask and social distancing.
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