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TBFC Season 2023-2024 updates:
Next Club Meeting is April 6, 2024 @ 7pm EDT in the USF Behavioral Science Room #103 (In-Person)

Next Peace River Monthly Trip: April 13, 2024 (Paid, Active Members only and water levels permitting) - Zolfo Springs Guage
Next Brooksville Trip: April 17, 2024 (Paid, Active Members only. Limit 20 People)
Next Bone Valley Farm Trip: April 20, 2024 (Paid, Active Members only. Limit 20 People) - Sign up at the April Meeting (Cash Perferred)
Next CEMEX Center Hill Trip: (Earth Day at Center Hill) April 20, 2024 (Paid, Active Members only. Limit 20 People)
Peace River Canoe & Screen Apr. 27, 2024 (Paid, Active Members Only Details in the Chronicles Newsletter)
Check the Field Trips page or the Calendar for details!

President's Message

2023-2024 Season

Tampa Bay Fossil Club

People “DIG” FossilFest! (Pun intended)

What a weekend. Once again, another successful FossilFest! I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. FossilFest had good cov- erage on both television and social media, and it sure brought in a good crowd. Saturday started a little slow, but I think we did okay. Boy, it was a hot one though. Our air conditioning bill was through the roof.

We have three major goals each year at FossilFest; earn funds to operate TBFC through the year, teach the public about Florida’s prehistory, and reach out to new members. We accomplished all of that! It looks like we had 33 new families join TBFC at FossilFest and 52 renewals during the month of March. That in itself is a great success! If you’re one of those new members that signed up for the adventure, welcome to the Tampa Bay Fossil Club! Everyone worked very hard, some for three hours, some for three days (some for weeks and months leading up to the show). I hate to thank individual volunteers by name in this writing, but I have to mention a few people here. TBFC Director Joe Branin and David Faucher spent the night on the FossilFest floor both Friday and Saturday n ight to stand sentinel for the show. That’s about 56 straight hours at FossilFest for these guys!

I must thank my wife Seina for working on the volunteer assignments for months ahead of the show, and many of the other details at Fossilfest that just seem to “happen” because of her. Every year for as long as I can remember Barbara Fite has worked on scheduling the vendors and taken care of many other aspects of FossilFest. She also handles other problems as they occur during the three-day event. Barbara and Jerry Zolg spend many hours leading up to the show arranging and rearranging the floor plan to fit our needs, and sometimes the last-minute changes that have to happen. Our FossilFest trailer is 20 feet long and weighs in excess of 6 tons. We need a huge truck to make that move and for many years Mike Burnett (and his wife Jessica) have driven from Bradenton, Florida to pick up the trailer in Zephyrhills where it is stored on the property of TBFC members Darren and Nicole Watts. By the time Mike drives to Zephyrhills, hooks up, drives back to the fairgrounds, and then back home to Bradenton, it’s a eight-hour day. He does this on Friday, in morning traffic, and then again on Sunday afternoon. Hidden in all of the excitement of FossilFest is Bill Faucher collecting money, making change, and getting cash money safely to the bank.

Joe Dumont spent two days at the “ID” table and made sure everything was back in the trailer on Sunday afternoon. Dr. Bob Sinibaldi assists me with television appearances and does two presentations each day at FossilFest. Dr. Leslie Branin hauled a metric ton of books to the show. Fred Hendershot spent the entire weekend with kids at the Touch Table. Also working with the kids, was Pat Appledorn and Debbie Porter who managed the Kid’s Mine for the entire weekend. It takes a bunch of patience to deal with all of the excitement in the kid’s area. Marlin Swikert runs the Silent auction all weekend like a well-oiled machine. And that’s just some of the big things that get done... I am so sorry I can’t mention everyone here in this writing.

We had several people travel from out of state to volunteer at FossilFest. Debbie Porter from Atlanta and John Campbell from Massachusetts are two I know of.

Again, I hate to mention individuals here because I know I’ll forget somebody who did an above the “call of duty job” and there were too many people to name that spent three entire days at FossilFest. I have to thank all of TBFC’s Officers, Directors, and ALL of the 135 members who volunteered to make the show the success that it was. We certainly couldn’t have done it without you. If you were one of the volunteers, thank you. From the admissions, to the silent auction, donations, club sales, kids mine, set up, break down, security, and everything in-between, I can’t thank you all enough. I receive lots of accolades and slaps on the back during FossilFest. I want you all to know that I always tell everyone what a great support staff I, and FossilFest, have. FossilFest 2024 was a huge success, and that’s because of all of you.

So, I have to ask... Are you still tired from FossilFest? Sorry, no time to sit down; TBFC’s season isn’t over yet. We’re just getting started!

Read the Chronicles each month (Members Only), check the calendar here on the TBFC website, and follow us on Facebook. Also, please be very cautious while venturing out into the rivers and creeks. There’s nothing in those rivers worth dying for.

Peace River Canoe & Screening Day

The Peace River Adventure has turned into one of TBFC’s most popular outings. Years ago we worried if we’d get enough participation to make the event even worth the work. Then we worried if we could accommodate everyone who wants to attend. That was before COVID though, and hurricanes, toxic algae blooms, and now winter/spring rains.

We’ve hoped to run the entire weekend event in 2024. However, it appears that water levels may be too deep. At the time of this writing the measurement at Zolfo Springs is nearly 7 feet. We need it at 6 feet, or below to hold a safe hunt. Despite that, we will press forward in attempting to hold an advertised day of hunting for our new members that we pick up during FossilFest. These folks will be biting at the bit to get out and hunt some fossils and we will be ready for them.

We’ll watch the weather and water levels and shoot for a day of canoeing and/or screen washing on April 27.

In closing, I want to again say thank you again to everyone who helped this past month. Thank you for making FossilFest, and everything else about TBFC so great.

I look forward to seeing all the new faces at the April meeting.

Good Hunting,
Mike Searle

Missed a meeting or just want to watch it again? You can view our past meeting recordings or live streams in the playlist below (Also found in the About section):


April 6, 2024
Living Your Dream
Dr. Bob Sinibaldi
7PM IN-PERSON CLUB MEETING at the USF Behavioral Science Room #103

If you’re new to TBFC, prepare yourself for Dr. Bob. If you already know Dr. Bob, you know that you can expect to learn a lot from his presentations. You also know to expect a lot of humor and anecdotes mixed into the good science he presents. This presentation will take you through Dr. Bob’s “life story” in paleontology. From finding his first fossils on a canoe trip with his wife Mary, to authoring several published books on the topic of paleontology.

Dr. Bob is an important part of TBFC and how we operate through the year, so come out and see him on April 6.

Tampa Bay Fossil Chronicles

Hopefully you’ve noticed that TBFC has stepped up its game with the newsletter each month. In addition to all of our regular contributors, we’ve added two new recurring articles this season. “In Touch with Inverts” by Rob Carlson was added in September. Recently added, “Paleo Analysis” by Steve Vicari. Each month Steve will be discussing interesting prehistoric fauna and how they relate to extant species.

Please check out all of the articles in each issue. Only TBFC members receive the Chronicles, we don’t post it online or on Facebook.

Be sure to renew your Fossil Permits!

Paleo Preserve Burnett's Wholesale Nursery
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