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Paleo-Protectors: the First Volunteer Monitoring of Paleontological Resources within the National Park Service

Michelle Carter - Natural Resource Program Manager NPS, C&O Canal National Historical Park

In the summer of 2014, CHOH began a new volunteer monitoring program, the Paleo-Protectors. Recruited from a base of experienced and trusted park volunteers, the Paleo-Protectors monitor several of the many important paleontological localities  with in the park. The program is similar to the Sites Stewards Program, which monitors sensitive archeological resources; however, this is the first program within  NPS specifically for monitoring paleontological resources. Volunteers visit their sites at least once a year and monitor for erosion, fossil abundance, and possible fossil poaching, as well as other relevant data. Beginning  in 2009, the National Capital  Region partnered with the Geologic Resource Division  to build paleontological resource inventories within  the region.  Since then  four visiting paleontologists through GeoCorps America have helped in this effort which produced the Paleo- Protectors program: Erica Clites, Katie Loughney, Ivan Carabajal, and Liz Keily.

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