The "Fossil Posse" is a group of staff and volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). When fossils are discovered and reported (typically by construction projects), the Posse's goal is get to the site quickly, evaluate the discovery and recover specimens, all with little or no impact to construction schedules.
When someone finds a fossil, or something they think might be a fossil, they should call the Fossil Posse at the DMNS. The Posse will make an initial site assessment. If their report is favorable, DMNS scientists visit the site, obtain permission from the landowners, and excavate the site.
The Certification in Paleontology Program at the DMNS: In 1989-90, Paleontology was revived at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (then called Denver Museum of Natural History). As part of this rebirth, contributions and potential of amateur paleontologists and interested members of the general public were recognized. In 1990, we formalized the Certification in Paleontology Program was developed. It includes a curriculum of subject-based lecture courses (usually 4-6 2-hr lectures with a fieldtrip or lab) and practical courses (field paleontology, lab preparation, curation methods, and research methods and report writing). To date, more than 150 people have graduated from the program. Many of them now serve as trained volunteers. In 2000, 191 volunteers (largely Certification Program participants and graduates) donated more than 34,629 hours (17.3 FTE) to the museum. This large and capable volunteer force facilitates fieldwork, a salvage paleontology program (The Fossil Posse), the rapid preparation of fossils in a lab with public viewing windows, curation, and various forms of education and outreach (see Follow a Fossil at www.dmns.org).