Petrified Forest National Park has reopened, along with Painted Desert Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museum. There are no limitations on access to most of the park attractions and established trails.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the Field Institute events have been canceled as we rework the guided hiking trips and workshops to implement necessary safety measures. Our hope is to be able to bring these workshops and more back next season in a way that protects participants and instructors.
- This event has passed.
Fossil Dig: Discovery and Excavation
August 8, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Instructor: Adam Marsh
Prepare to get dirty digging in the Triassic Chinle Formation for fossil bones of giant amphibians, reptiles, and even early dinosaurs. Join the park paleontologist for a fossil dig in the Petrified Forest National Park. This one day excursion provides an introduction to paleontology field work.
The trip starts with a behind the scenes tour of the park fossil collections and then travel ‘off the beaten’ path to the dig site. We provide the training and the tools. This is a real-life adventure where participants participate in a real paleontological dig. Collected specimens become part of the park’s museum collection.
- 8:00 AM – Painted Desert Visitor Center (Exit 311, I-40) – Introduction and tour of collections.
- 8:45 AM – Travel to dig site
- 9:30 AM–3:30 PM – Partake in a fossil excavation (includes 1/2 hour lunch)
- 3:30 PM – Return to Painted Desert Visitor Center
- 4:30 PM – Class dismissed
- $159 – Non-Member
- $130 – Member *Learn more at PFMA site
We provide training, equipment, tools, transportation, and lunch.
Participants should provide their own sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, light sweater or jacket and sturdy shoes. There is no shade in the quarry, hats are recommended. During monsoon season, gnats and mosquitos are present and temperatures and conditions can change with little notice.
Maximum number of participants: 10
Minimum age of participants: 14 (no exceptions, must be accompanied by parent or guardian)
Fieldwork will involve walking/hiking into a remote areas with uneven terrain and may be strenuous for some. Quarry work includes use of hammers and chisels, pick axes, sledgehammers, trowels, brushes and awls.
Fossil collection may involve casting fossils in the field using plaster and burlap, heavy lifting and transport of heavy, awkward objects. The participant may be exposed to extreme heat or freezing conditions, rain, hail, lightning or flashfloods. The volunteer will work in and around four-wheel drive vehicles in off road conditions.
Class registration does not include park entrance fees. For more information, visit the FAQs page.