Workshops

Registration for pre-meeting workshops involves the payment of a separate fee to cover cost of materials.  Workshops, mini-courses, and demonstrations offered on April 18th during the meeting are free with general registration.  Spaces are limited.  Register early to assure you get your preferred workshops!

Pre-Meeting Workshops are open to meeting registrants as well as non-registrants, but priority placement will be given to meeting registrants.


Pre-Meeting Workshops (Tuesday, 16 April 2019)


Prepping for Paleohistology Research $25 USD

Full day workshop

Facilitators: Laura Wilson, Holly Woodward

Limit: 20 people

Histological analysis is an important analytical method for understanding the life history of an organism, and the number of labs involved in paleohistology has been growing over the past few decades. This workshop will take participants through the method of thin sectioning fossil bones and teeth: specimen selection, specimen preparation, embedding, sectioning, mounting, grinding, and polishing. We will discuss how methods change based on the size of the specimen being sectioned, as well as considerations for navigating space and other resources concerns at different-sized institutions. There will be an emphasis on documenting materials and methods used in every step in the process, including curating the resulting products.

Hands-on demonstrations and take-home examples will be part of this workshop.


Introduction to Line Drawing $15 USD

AM half-day workshop

Facilitators: Amy Schmierbach (FHSU art professor), Bobby Boessenecker

Limit = 20 people

This workshop will provide participants with an introduction to creating natural history illustrations by hand. This half-day morning session will be an introduction to line drawing for scientific illustration. Demonstrations, exercises, and critiques will help you draw what you see. Instructors will focus on the basics of shapes, shading, perspective, and other basic skills to provide participants with an introduction to basic drawing skills. There will be an emphasis on skeletal anatomy and techniques needed for scientific illustration.

Participants are encouraged to register for both the morning and afternoon art sessions, but they can be taken individually.

Introduction to Digital Illustrations $20 USD

The afternoon session will focus on creating digital images. The workshop will begin with an introduction to digital illustration platforms with a focus on Adobe Photoshop. Instructors will cover basic tools and functions. Participants will then progress to digitizing and modifying hand-drawn images using Adobe Photoshop, as well as generating original images. Participants are welcome to bring personal computers for the digital session if they have a license to Photoshop/Adobe. Laptops with Photoshop will be available for participants, but we are not able to give out Photoshop/Adobe licenses.

Participants are encouraged to register for both the morning and afternoon art sessions, but they can be taken individually.


2019 Host Committee

 Laura Wilson, Chair                                              Fort Hays State University

Christina Byrd

Hillary McLean

Workshops, Mini-Courses, and Demonstrations (Thursday, 18 April 2019)

(Attendance at these workshops and events is free with your registration for the Annual Meeting.)


Molding & Casting: The Basics

Half-day workshop.

This workshop will feature demonstrations and hands-on opportunities for attendees to work with different materials and techniques. Special attention will be given to how materials and methods change with the size and morphology of the specimen. 

Facilitators: Hillary McLean and Pike Holman

Maximum registrations: 15 people


Molding & Casting: Education, Outreach, and Consumption

Quarter-day workshop (offered twice)

This workshop will focus on producing molds and casts for use outside of research and display projects. This includes tips for mass-production of casts for education/outreach/sales, material durability for handling, and production of food-grade molds and casts (i.e., chocolate!). Comments and tips on painting casts will also be offered.

Facilitators: Hillary McLean and Mitch Sommers

Maximum registrations: 20 people each session


Acid Preparation

Half-day workshop

This will be a short-course (including demonstrations) on acid preparation techniques. Facilitators will cover basic how-tos, safety, and challenges, as well as provide opportunities for participants to get hands-on experience with different acids. Sulfamic and acetic acids will be covered.

Facilitators: Joshua Lively, Bobby Boessenecker, Lee Hall

Maximum registrations: 15 people


2D Digitization

Quarter-day workshop

This workshop will discuss a variety of photography equipment and software that can be utilized for collections digitization, with a focus on how to tailor the set-up to your collection needs and budget. Equipment and software specs will be made available.

Facilitators: Christina Byrd, Hannah Horinek

Maximum registrations: 20 people



Developing and Adapting Workflows

Quarter-day workshop

This workshop will discuss the process of workflow development, the importance of documenting workflows, and the ways a workflow can evolve with the needs and resources of your institution. We will cover developing workflows from scratch as well as modify existing workflows (whether developed by a previous employee or a different institution). Particular attention will be given on how to scale workflows to the size of the institution so they are efficient regardless of whether workers are employees, students, or volunteers, and whether you have many workers or just one person. 

Facilitator: Christina Byrd

Maximum registrations: 20 people


Time Lapse Photography: A simple and spectacular technique for public outreach and specimen documentation

Quarter-day workshop

All museums and universities are looking for ways to generate new and interesting content for public outreach purposes.  There is also a widely recognized need to do a more thorough job of documenting fossil preparation or other associated tasks like quarry work in the field, specimen mounting or molding/casting of specimens. Timelapse photography is a very inexpensive and simple way to address both of these needs.  Photography in the digital era has made the task of capturing and compiling images a much easier and more practical task. Once captured, timelapse imaging can be used for web-based outreach or ‘in house’ exhibit content while also serving as an archival record of changes to a specimen through time.  Size does not matter with these techniques because they can be applied to small specimens under the microscope all the way up in scale to large mounts or quarry compositions in the field.  Through hands-on demonstration, this workshop will cover the simple equipment needs as well as address planning, workflow, lighting, and processing of images.  Comprehensive hand-outs will be provided to the class.      

Facilitator: Mike Eklund

Maximum registrations: 20 people


Social Media and Paleontology

Quarter-day workshop

This short-course will explore how different social media platforms can be used in paleontology, with discussion on applications for education, PR, marketing, recruitment, and more.  We will cover an introduction to different platforms, how to share and receive information affectively, and ethical concerns. Information and discussion will be relevant to prep labs, collections, education/outreach, and research. 

Facilitators: Ashley Hall, Darrah Steffen

Maximum registrations: 25 people


3D Digitization

Half-day workshop

This workshop will teach participants how to digitize specimens in three dimensions using the Creaform handheld 3D scanner, with a focus on scalability with specimens and within collections of various size. Techniques taught will include operation of the scanner and associated VXelements software, efficient workflow techniques, and basics of specimen reconstruction in three dimensions.

Facilitator: Chase Shelburne

Maximum registrations: 15 people


AMMP: Archiving Methods and Materials in Paleontology

Quarter-day workshop (offered twice)

Preparators, collections managers, research lab managers, curators, educators, and others in the field of paleontology have been working to refine procedures, develop best-practices, and document protocols and workflows. However, these documents are very rarely shared among institutions, with information most commonly passed from teacher to student, by word-of-mouth between colleagues, or in brief conference abstracts. This workshop will offer people a chance to share documents with others in the field in a centralized database. Fort Hays State University IT staff members will be present to introduce people to the document database and instruct on document upload and organization. Data will be housed on a FHSU server for long-term storage and be publicly available.

Facilitator: FHSU IT staff

Maximum registrations: 25 people each session


Air Scribes 101

Half-day workshop

Air scribes are a preparator's main mechanical way to bulk remove matrix from a specimen. This coursewill discuss several topics on air scribes, focusing on variety and options, maintenance, techniques, and safety. Safe handling of air scribes is critical, and we will go over the different issues that arise from their use and how to mitigate those conditions. An assortment of brands and models of air scribes that are available on the market will be presented with a discussion of the pros and cons of each. Finally, we will demonstrate and practice different matrix removal techniques in a hands-on lesson.

Facilitator: Kelsie Abrams

Maximum registrations: 20 people



Paleontology Collection Tours

Quarter-day (offered four times)

This is your chance to tour the Sternberg Museum’s vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology collections. The collections are representative of Kansas and western Great Plains faunas, with exceptional Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway, Late Miocene grassland, and Pleistocene megafauna assemblages. The geology collection will also be available to those interested.

Facilitator: Laura Wilson, FHSU paleontology graduate students

Maximum registrations: 20 people for each tour




Zoology Collection Tours

Quarter-day (offered twice)

Our extensive zoology collection is vital to understanding, measuring, and monitoring the biodiversity of past and present ecosystems of the region. This collection includes entomology, ichthyology, herpetology, ornithology, and mammalogy. Specimens include skins, taxidermy mounts, skeletons, fluid-preserved skeletons (in alcohol), and a tissue bank.

Facilitators: Curtis Schmidt, biology graduate students

Maximum registrations: 20 people for each tour


Guided Nature Trail Walk

Quarter-day (offered twice)

The Museum campus includes a 22-acre nature preserve with over 2 miles of maintained dirt paths. Sternberg staff, community volunteers, and FHSU students and faculty are working to restore this area with native plants.  Along the trail, learn about native plants and animals, open prairie and riparian ecosystems, our apiary, plans for an arboretum, and ongoing research projects. Even if a guided tour does not work in your schedule, the trails are open to the public free of charge dawn to dusk.

Facilitators: Curtis Schmidt, biology graduate students

Maximum registrations: 20 people for each guided walk; open dawn to dusk for free, self-guided walks.


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