Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
I'm a history geek and a documentary nerd; I think that my writer card would be revoked if I didn't claim at least one of those proclivities, so now that they're both out there, I can say that one of the coolest things I think I've come across in a long time is The Arlington Archosaur Site, and the volunteer opportunities associated with it.
In my mind, archaeology digs conjure up images of locations that require one to drive long distances across vast expanses of dirt and desert. Not so with the Arlington Archosaur dig, led by Dr. Derek J. Main. Volunteers can conveniently fly into the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport or Love Field, set up base camp at a local hotel and indulge your inner dig geek.
According to their Facebook group, "The Arlington Archosaur Site has proven to be an important site in that numerous fossils of Protohadros, two new theropods (carnivorous dinos), a new turtle, a new species of lungfish and a new giant crocodile (& her babies) have been discovered." (Caveat - I don't know a Protohadros from a theropod, but I recognize turtle and crocodile!)
Obviously, this isn't a single-artifact-anomaly of a site. In fact, so many fossils have been found that a new museum had to be founded on the University of Texas-Arlington campus to house it all properly; the Scotese Museum of Paleontology. The site boasts so many different varieties of fossils that it's nearly a complete eco-system.
How you can get involved
If your interest is piqued and you'd like to learn more about opportunities to volunteer at this site, you have plenty of time to plan because they're scheduling for the 2012 season. To learn more about opportunities, you can join the group on Facebook at The Arlington Archosaur Site and begin following their news and ask about when their next scheduled tour is. You can also sign up to get additional information at Earthwatch.org about this unique voluntourism opportunity.