10: It's a Family Affair

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Wyoming, USA
© A. Shinya
Dr. Grande and Stone & Bones Class

So here I am back at my desk in Chicago. It's been a great trip to Wyoming, and a terrific "Stones and Bones" class (see above photo.) Our unpacking has been completed and the tents and equipment have been stowed back in the storage closets. The students have now returned to their homes all over the world (right after their final exam, of course!), and I've turned my attention back to the administration of the Collections and Research Division (where I serve as Senior Vice President, when I am not wearing my fossil-collecting hat).

It's amazing how much of a family operation this has become. First of all, there's the Tynsky family, who leases the quarry site from the Lewis family, who permit us to dig on their land. The "Stones and Bones" students also form a sort of family, coming from many different parts of the globe for this course, and bonding together with a shared purpose.

This year we were also joined by a number of other families, including the Crawfords, the Kurtzes, the Giesers, and the Augustyns (see photos below.) Even the Museum staff and volunteers form a family of sorts, since we've all worked and lived together in the field (and in The Field) for many years. This sense of community is part of what attracts many of the same people to come out year after year, even though we sleep on the slanted, rocky ground and work hard in the hot sun. It's therapy for the body and the soul.

As with the last set of blogs that I sent back in 2003, I'd like to end with a thanks for your interest in our programs here at The Field Museum. The scientists and other staff at the Museum love what we do, and we work very hard at it. But we realize that the continuation of our work is largely dependent on your patronage, whether through visiting our exhibits, attending our education programs, volunteerism, or your financial contributions. I hope that you'll continue your generous support so that we can sustain our varied programs at The Field Museum.

We believe that our status as a premiere natural history museum and a center of international research adds an especially positive cosmopolitan image to the Chicago region. On the public side, we attract millions of visitors from all over the world each year. On the research side, each year we host hundreds of visiting scientists, loan thousands of specimens to sister institutions across the globe, publish hundreds of research papers, describe dozens of new species, and uncover new information on ancient societies.

In addition, we're helping to train the next generation of professional scientists through graduate student training, undergraduate teaching, and intern mentoring. By developing new scientific programs and exhibits, and sharing our research and discoveries with the public, we hope to keep people like you as excited about what we do as we are. With your continued support we'll remain one of the world's best natural history museums.

That's about all for this year—but stayed tuned for one final email from me letting you know when our videos from this year's Green River expedition will be available online. Hope to see you at the next Field Museum Member's Night!

Sincerely,

Lance Grande
Senior Vice President and Head, Collections and Research, and
Curator, Department of Geology, The Field Museum

© A. Shinya
The Crawford Family
© A. Shinya
The Kurtz Family
© A. Shinya
The Gieser Family
© A. Shinya
The Augustyn Family