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TABLE 1. Participant Information. This table includes randomly assigned participant pseudo-names, number of years as a member of a paleontology organization, leadership positions they have held within their organization(s), frequency they attend organization events, self-perceived knowledge regarding the museum curation process, and the inferred experience level used during the applicant selection process. *Cameron responded, “Varies as to the club.”

Participant Name Years in Organization Leadership Position Attendance Frequency Prior Knowledge Experience Level
Dakota >5 Vice President All of the time Somewhat High Veteran
Elliot >5 Vice President All of the time Somewhat High Veteran
Cameron >5 Vice President Often* Somewhat Low Veteran
Sage >5 Field Trips Often Somewhat High Veteran
Taylor >5 Field Trips Sometimes Somewhat Low Veteran
Alexis 1 to 5 Vice President All of the time Very Low Intermediate
Jordan 1 to 5 None Often Somewhat High Intermediate
Shannon 1 to 5 None Often Somewhat Low Intermediate
Sam >5 None Often Very Low Intermediate
Rory 1 to 5 None All of the time Somewhat Low Rookie
Skyler >5 None Often Somewhat Low Rookie
Kelly 1 to 5 None All of the time Very Low Rookie
Charlie 1 to 5 None All of the time Very Low Rookie



TABLE 2. Applicants’ motivation for collecting fossils.

Motivation for collecting fossils Data Exemplars
For personal enjoyment (100%) “Finding fossils brings joy to my life. Learning about each and every piece in my collection and then being able to teach people about it makes me feel like I have purpose,” Shannon
Use in educational programs (52%) “[PaleoBlitz participation] will help me do my volunteer job at the museum better and more efficiently,” Elliot

“I would like to expand this base knowledge and be able to pass this along to others during ... educational programs,” Sage

Personal scientific research (52%) “I am now a retired and can follow my early yearnings to search for fossils and study geology,” Rory
To help scientists (48%) “If my preservation techniques improved than my collection, current and future, will potentially be more attractive/usable/scientifically important to museums.” Anonymous Applicant
To support their children’s interests (9%) “My son has a passion for this and I have a passion for helping him explore his interests as a scientist would. I think he may well study this as a career and this experience for the both of us would be wonderful.” Anonymous Applicant
For monetary gain (0%) NA




TABLE 3. Specific themes related to applicants’ expectations and desired outcomes identified through directed content analysis of the PaleoBlitz application questionnaire.

Desired Outcomes Data Exemplars
Fossil collecting (43%) “I am interested in learning best practices as a collector,” Jordan

“gain more and new techniques for fossil collecting, data collection, ... ,” Anonymous Applicant

“... get info about collecting ... ,” Anonymous Applicant

Fossil identification (35%) “increase my knowledge of ... classification methods,” Skyler

“I hope to be able to identify more fossils in the future, I would like to be able to id fossils better in the field,” Kelly

“... be able to identify my own fossils,” Charlie

Fossil Preparation (30%) “I would like to increase my knowledge of fossil preservation,” Skyler

“I would hope to gain additional knowledge of the fossil preservation process (the entire process) and especially preparation/preservation of specific specimen,” Anonymous Applicant

Cataloging Fossils (26%) “I would like to learn curation techniques with large collections to improve my methodology with my collection,” Cameron


“The PaleoBlitz would give me a better understanding of the process of fossil curation,” Alexis

“Gain knowledge of how to label new finds,” Sam

“I’m trying to annotate my fossil collection,” Dakota

Fossil documentation (22%) “I am missing large sections of knowledge and experience in the extraction, preparation, documentation and curation of specimens,” Taylor

“Additional information in the curation and photography of fossils,” Anonymous Applicant

“... knowledge of new electronic techniques,” Anonymous Applicant

Museum tours (9%) “see the collections at FLNMH,” Anonymous Applicant

“visit with Dr. Hubbell ... museum,” Anonymous Applicant

Paleontology Careers (9%) “I would like to gain a better understanding of what kind of careers one can have in the field,” Anonymous Applicant

“My son has a passion for this and I have a passion for helping him explore his interests as a scientist would. I think he may well study this as a career and this experience for the both of us would be wonderful,” Anonymous Applicant



TABLE 4. Outcomes of the PaleoBlitz. All quotes are anonymous.

Outcomes Data Exemplar
Changes to existing collections (100%) “I have taken another look at my existing displays and have attempted to identify some fossils that I was unsure of. I intend to photograph the fossils once I have more time.”
Changes in collecting habits (77%) “Earlier I was guilty of gathering information for documentation well after the collection trip. Now I am much more aware that this info (location, etc.) is much easier to get and should be obtained while at the location.”
Expansion of personal network (92%) “I have shared matrix and fossils with participants from the PaleoBlitz. I also have planned trips and have offered participation on trips I am planning. I will maintain these relationships.”
Share knowledge with others (85%) “I have discussed what I have learned with other fossil enthusiasts. I am also inspired to start publishing help videos and instructions and participate closer with my local museums and universities.”

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