Field Training Award

Theropod trackway, Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite, Wyoming, photo credit: Thomas Holtz

Field Training Award

Mike Getty undercuts a field jacket holding a horned dinosaur skull in the badlands of New Mexico (photo by Rick Wicker)

The SVP Field Training Award is intended to support undergraduate and graduate students, early career paleontologists, preparators, and land managers with responsibility for paleontological resources and others in vertebrate paleontology-related positions who can demonstrate a need for field training and the benefits of field training to their professional development in vertebrate paleontology. The recipient will actively participate in fieldwork and receive hands-on training from a mentor who is an experienced paleontologist or preparator. The SVP Field Training Award arises from a proposal for an SVP award honoring Mike Getty, Chief Preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, who suddenly passed away on September 11th, 2017, at the age of 50, while excavating a ceratopsian skull in Denver. Mike applied his extensive skill set and knowledge of field techniques to survey and excavate a number of important vertebrate fossil specimens and taught countless volunteers, fellow preparators, students, and early-career paleontologists, passing on the techniques he himself so successfully applied in the field. The Field Training Award also honors all individuals who have contributed to field programs and the preparation of fossils over the years providing the data that drives our profession and understanding of past environments and life.

Nationally there are only a few courses that provide training in vertebrate fossil field techniques and most courses are restricted to students who are registered at the college offering the course. The SVP Field Training Award fills the niche of field training needs in vertebrate paleontology. Promoting and encouraging field training from experienced paleontologists will lead to the conservation of vertebrate fossils and the advancement of research. This award also reflects the Society’s mission to “support and encourage the discovery, conservation, and protection of vertebrate fossils and fossil sites”.

DESCRIPTION OF GRANT PROGRAM
The award aims to provide funding in the first instance, of $1,500 for one applicant per cycle. The award amount is intended as a stipend to cover expenses for the applicant to participate in fieldwork and field training. The award amount must be spent on the proposed project within two years of the date of award. If further funds are raised for this award in the coming years, the award amount may be increased or an additional award may be offered.

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY
Eligible applicants include undergraduate and graduate students, early career paleontologists, preparators, land managers with responsibility for paleontological resources and others in vertebrate paleontology-related positions who can demonstrate a need for field training and the benefits of field training to their professional development in vertebrate paleontology. We encourage people who belong to underrepresented groups within vertebrate paleontology to apply.

Further Eligibility Requirements:

  • Current membership in the Society for both applicant and mentor is required.
  • A minimum of one week of training in the field is preferred.
  • Previous award reipients are not eligible.

HOW TO APPLY:

Applicants who can identify a field mentor for their project are encouraged to work with the mentor to deliver a realistic training proposal. The award may be used by the applicant towards financing travel and/or equipment, providing an opportunity for our members who have financial difficulties to gain the fieldwork training otherwise unavailable to them. The Award Committee will help match applicants with potential mentors in order to increase representation and encourage applicants from programs where mentors might not be readily identifiable (see below).

The applicant will need to submit:

  • A one-page maximum description of the proposed project including a summary of the techniques in which the applicant will be trained.
  • A one-page maximum description of how the award will advanced the applicant’s field skills and professional development and/or career aspirations in vertebrate paleontology.
  • A budget detailing how the award funds will be spent.
  • A two-page maximum Curriculum vitae.

The mentor will need to submit:

  • A two-page Curriculum vitae emphasizing field experience and previous mentorship experience.
  • Mentor’s Certification of Responsible Stewardship: Please download the certification, sign and date, and upload it.

MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
We recognize that many institutions do not have members specializing in vertebrate paleontology field work. We do not want this to be a barrier for interested applicants, so we will be able to help match applicants with potential mentors in order to increase representation. Individuals who have an opportunity to mentor a potential applicant are encouraged to provide following information to the Award Committee via Google Form:

  • Type of field training and site (prospecting, excavation, macro fossils, micro fossils, wilderness camping, etc.)
  • Your field experience and previous mentorship experience.
  • Mentor’s Certification of Responsible Stewardship: Please download the certification, sign and date, and upload it

A call to membership will be issued when the awards process opens each year. The committee reserves the right to exclude potential mentors from this list if they feel that the interested researcher is not a good fit for this role.

QUESTIONS?

Akiko Shinya, Chair, Field Training Award Panel