2015 Aurora Fossil Festival Wrap Up

   What a great Fossil Festival for 2015. Above all, I first want to thank all of the volunteers for their work, effort, and time given on not only the day of the festival, but the entire week before. When we arrived there was so much to do, from landscaping to set up, from construction to clean-up, and it was all accomplished on time because of the incredible job of Friends support. I also want to thank the 9-10 members of the SW Florida Fossil Society who made the trip to pitch in as well. The Friends theme for 2015 was to showcase the united cooperative efforts of the two organizations and that aspect was in full force from Monday through Saturday. The Friends members stood shoulder to shoulder with those from Florida, making friendships, sharing stories and more importantly readying the museum, community center, and the common ground in the park for the thousands of people who visit the festival.

   The Friends organized and led two field trips at the festival this year, so that the volunteers could mix business with pleasure. The trip to Green Mill Run was lightly attended (7 members and guests) on the Wednesday prior to the festival, but it did give those members an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone to collect cretaceous fossils along with fossils from several other eras. The mine trip on Friday morning to Maysville, NC was packed with approximately 35 participants, including University of Florida speakers and FOSSIL team members, the Smithsonian trio, Friends members and SW Florida Society members.

 Belgrade 2015

From Washington to Florida this trip was packed

   The banquet on Friday evening was also well attended, and all of our business was conducted, including membership ratification of the two changes to the by-laws and rules, without dissention. The points system has been simplified and should be much easier for members to fill out and compute. The major points change eliminated the differences in Festival Points and other volunteer points. Everything is now unified on equal grounds. The membership of the Friends re-elected Lee Cone (President), Rob Birchfield (Vice President), and Don Muller (At Large Board Member).

   Saturday presented a cool morning for the 5K run, and remained beautiful all day. Our speakers were absolutely outstanding as Megalodon was covered thoroughly from its evolution to its extinction. A number of people reported that it was the best sequence of speakers that we have ever had, and many thanks to Rob’s effort to coordinate the speakers. The museum was full of visitors all day and Cynthia and the museum staff did an outstanding job taking care of the flow of people. The Community Center, which was at full capacity with displays, was definitely the place to be to view fossils from the North Carolina area and many other locations. The Friends had their own table of micro-fossils and information about our organization, and fielded many questions from interested visitors. The NCFC was out in full force, along with SWFFS and the University Of Florida Department Of Paleontology. Friend George Powell was in his usual location with his whale display, VMNH was represented, as was the Aurora Fossil Club and the Catawba Valley Gem and Mineral Club. The Smithsonian group answered a stream of questions all day and had the opportunity to actually receive several important donations from visitors with unique fossil finds, which were donated to the Smithsonian Museum (USNM). Familiar faces wandered the streets of Aurora which were alive with fossil enthusiasts, young and old.


    Pat and Ken Young were caught on candid camera                                     Becky Hyne surprised a lot of folks including Trish Kohler

   As the sun began to set in the west the fossil auction was in full swing with the 200 auction items that Jay had organized for bids. I thought that we had some of the best auction items that we have had in recent years, and eager bidders were quick to snatch up great fossils and some super deals.

   As we head into the summer travel period, plan to make a trip to Aurora to volunteer or just to visit and see what is going on at the museum. Again, I want to personally thank all of you for making the 2015 Aurora Fossil Festival such a success, and we look forward to helping make this year a great year for the Friends.

My best to all,

Lee Cone – President of the Friends of the AFM