A volunteer holds a plaster jacket with the dig site in the background
A volunteer holds a plaster jacket with the dig site in the background. Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

he Montbrook Site is very productive and almost all volunteers will find some fossil specimens on their first day. The most commonly found fossils are bones from the shell of freshwater turtles and vertebrae, spines, scales, and skull bones of fish, including gar, catfish, snook, and drum. Fossils of alligator, birds, and mammals are also found, but less frequently.



Volunteer In the Field: Spring 2019

A volunteer jacketing a complete turtle carapace
A volunteer jacketing a complete turtle carapace.

We will dig at the Montbrook Site from March 1 until March 28, 2019. Volunteers who worked at the site during the Fall 2018 season will be informed by email when we begin early enrollment for them (about February 1). New volunteers or those from prior seasons can begin to reserve digging dates on February 8.

Work begins at 10 AM and continues until about 4:15 PM. Volunteers are expected to dig and collect fossils a minimum of three hours for each day they work, not including a break for lunch. Volunteers must be a minimum of 15 years old to work at Montbrook; those younger than 18 must be accompanied by one or more parents, grandparents, or adult-aged siblings.

How to Volunteer:

Starting February 1: enrollment and reservations only from current museum volunteers and those that dug at the Montbrook site in 2018.

Starting February 8: open enrollment; reservations taken from both new and past volunteers.

For each person, we must have a completely filled out and signed volunteer application form. (Download adult version) (download junior version for ages 15-17) and a date reservation form. There are instructions on the forms on how to turn them both in. If you are unable to print out forms, they can be picked up at the reception desk in the lobby of Dickinson Hall on the UF campus. Current Florida Museum volunteers and those who dug with us during the Fall 2018 Season do not need to fill out a volunteer application, just the date reservation form.

*Application forms must be submitted at least one week before your requested digging dates to allow time for processing.

Volunteer In the Collection

If you are interested in what happens to the fossils once they are brought back to the lab, or just prefer to work indoors, you can volunteer in the vertebrate paleontology collection at Dickinson Hall. Volunteers prepare specimens out of plaster jackets, screen wash, glue bone fragments back together, pick microfossils, or help with the cataloging process.

Because of the time invested in training our volunteers for work in the collection, we only accept individuals who can work at least three hours per week and who can work for a minimum of six weeks (ideally longer).

Volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years old (or full-time UF student). Normal working hours for volunteers are between 8:30 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday.

To volunteer in the collection, please contact the Florida Museum vertebrate paleontology collections manager, Richard Hulbert or call 352-273-1821.

Plaster jacket from Montbrook being prepared in the lab
Plaster jacket from Montbrook being prepared in the lab.