Dinosaur Digs: Triceratops Gulch Project (TGP)

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Learn to dig dinosaurs with us!

The Triceratops Gulch Project (TGP) is not just an expedition; it's a chance to immerse yourself in the gritty and thrilling world of paleontology. In collaboration with the Morrison Natural History Museum and the Glenrock Paleontological Museum, we're offering a unique hands-on fossil expedition that transforms you from a bystander into an active participant. Our program is more than just a field school; we believe in project-based learning, providing practical knowledge and tutelage on current research projects.

We don't believe in leaving you in the dark. Our approach is to involve you every step of the way, cultivating your understanding of paleontology and making you an integral part of our crew. You'll work alongside museum teams, excavating the fossil-rich sites of the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation in Wyoming. The thrill of discovery awaits as you uncover dinosaur bones, teeth, and remnants of a long-extinct ecosystem we're working to reconstruct.

We'll guide you through the basics of geological concepts, helping you contextualize your finds in the grand timeline of Earth's history. You'll learn to distinguish between rock and bone, and we'll equip you with the skills to prospect for fossils. You'll contribute to the documentation of sites and the collection of specimens that have lain dormant for over 66 million years. You'll even learn advanced techniques, like mapping and field jacketing, for the safe recovery of fossil bones.

Through the Triceratops Gulch Project, discovery is in your hands. Your finds will be curated in the Glenrock Museum's permanent collection. We'll take care of logistics and necessities, providing transport to dig sites, excavation equipment, morning and afternoon meals, and refreshments. Our commitment is to guide and educate you every step of the journey. The rest is up to you, making your own discoveries and contributing to the world of paleontology.

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Is this Program Right for Me?

In the field, romance of expedition quickly turns to the reality of excavation. It will be hot. Or cold. Or wet. Or bone dry. There will be little to no shade from the blazing summer sun. It will be windy and grit will stick to your sweaty skin. You will suffer for your science. But, you will also contribute to paleontology by making your own discoveries and placing them in a public collection for all to marvel. These comments are not sardonic, but insight into the reality of the adventure.

These programs value education as a part of the experience. To better understand the dynamism of fieldwork, lectures and workshops are provided. This is a field-based program, consequently, museum-based activities like the work in collections or the lab are not a part of the experience.

Fieldwork is a rigorous endeavor that requires physical and mental stamina. It is a “different kind of tired” as physical limits are pushed and mental capacity is reached. Those considering enrolling in this program should be able to endure long days in challenging outdoor conditions. While leaders do their best to accommodate the nature of each group, they cannot logistically make each dig site accessible. Participants are expected to be able to hike with a daypack from the staging areas to the quarries. 

Due to the nature of the program, minors must be at least 14 years of age and accompanied by an enrolled participant parent or legal guardian. Young children risk both discouragement of a pursuit of science and their physical safety in these harsh conditions.