NWF State College students participate in paleontological dig

NWF State College Paleontology students work to unearth fossils as part of a research excavation with the Florida Museum of Natural History and University of Florida.

NICEVILLE, FL – Northwest Florida State College students enrolled in paleontology got a unique hands-on experience during spring term when they travelled to central Florida to participate in a fossil research excavation sponsored by the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida.

The trip, led by NWF State College Geology Professor Dr. Jon Bryan, was supported by the College’s Science Development Fund through the NWF State College Foundation.

“Participating in scientific research in the field is such a valuable experience for students,” said Dr. Bryan. “It has helped our students win scholarships, gain employment and prepare to major in fields in earth and environmental sciences.”

During the trip, eight students dug for a week at the University of Florida fossil site at Montbrook, helping to uncover an ancient mastodon, early alligators, turtles and other fossils. The students also visited the Florida Museum of Natural History, Devil’s Den and Rainbow Springs State Park.

“It was incredible, I got to learn so much about the field, and honestly it was one of the best educational experiences I have ever had,” said Alizabeth Turner-Ward, a NWF State College Collegiate High School student. “I got to learn from grad students and professionals, and I am just so thankful that I got the chance to do that.”

NWF State College’s Science Department offers geology courses in summer, fall and spring terms which include local and regional field trips.

Northwest Florida State College President Dr. Devin Stephenson added, “We are grateful to Ms. Dotty Blacker whose donation several years ago created the Science Development fund which has provided learning experiences outside the classroom such as this archaeological dig for NWF students.”

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