As a public health precaution due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Florida Museum is temporarily closed to the public until further notice. More Info

The Division of Vertebrate Paleontology has at least one fossil collecting session per year that uses volunteer assistance.

This will generally be during the drier and cooler times of the year, either spring or fall. Age limits and physical requirements will vary depending on the conditions at the particular fossil site we are working.

volunteers at dig siteIn the spring of 2020 we will have a major fossil dig at the Hemphillian Montbrook Site  near the town of Williston in Levy County, Florida. The previously announced dig at Thomas Farm has been cancelled. If you have already signed up for the Thomas Farm dig, your reserved dates have been switched to Montbrook.

Montbrook is a very productive site, and almost all volunteers will find some fossil specimens on their first day.

Follow the Montbrook Fossil Dig Blog to join in on the fun! (Photo galleries, videos, updates, featured fossils, etc.)

Spring 2020 Digging Information

NOTICE: As of 3/19/2020, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteers are no longer allowed at the Montbrook fossil dig. For now, please do not send in new applications. All reservations for the month of March will be cancelled. We will assess the situation in two weeks and make a decision about April.

Minimum age for participants is 15 years; those who are from 15 to 17 years old must be accompanied by one or more of the following: parent; grandparent; legal guardian; or sibling older than 21. Volunteer can choose to just work a single day, or as many days that are available. The table below shows the digging dates, location being dug, and number of places available for additional volunteers. This table will be updated daily.

Montbrook is about 45 minute-long drive south of Gainesville, located a short distance south of Williston off of US Highway 41.

There is no cost to volunteer. However, if you wish to contribute money to help us maintain our annual volunteer fossil digs and to process and store the collected fossils, you can use this secure link to donate online. Donations through the UF Foundation are tax deductible.

How to Apply

Current Florida Museum volunteers or those that participated in our fossil digs at Montbrook in the Fall of 2018 or 2019, or Spring 2019 do not need to submit an application form to become an official museum volunteer. They just need to send an email to listing their name and which day or days they wish to volunteer. Check the table below to make sure places are available for all members of your party before making your reservations.

Starting March 2, other members of the public can begin to reserve places for the 2020 Spring dig. The first step is to fill out this application form to become an official Florida Museum volunteer.  Adults (18 years and older) should use this form; junior volunteers (15-17 years old) should use this form. Completed application forms can be submitted via email to or by mail to Florida Museum of Natural History Volunteer Department, P.O. Box 112710, Gainesville, FL 32611-2710. After that, send an email to listing the name or names of the volunteers and the day or days to be worked. Look at the table below to see the number of open places on each day.

Date and Site Number of Available Places
March 19 at Montbrook   2
March 21 at Montbrook   0
March 22 at Montbrook   0
March 23 at Montbrook   0
March 26 at Montbrook   1
March 27 at Montbrook   5
March 28 at Montbrook   1
March 29 at Montbrook   0
March 30 at Montbrook   0
March 31 at Montbrook   0
April 2 at Montbrook   2
April 3 at Montbrook   4
April 4 at Montbrook   0
April 5 at Montbrook   0
April 6 at Montbrook   1
April 7 at Montbrook   6
April 9 at Montbrook   0
April 10 at Montbrook   0
April 11 at Montbrook   1
April 12 at Montbrook   2
April 13 at Montbrook   2
April 14 at Montbrook   2
April 16 at Montbrook   0
April 17 at Montbrook   6
April 18 at Montbrook   0
April 19 at Montbrook   0
April 20 at Montbrook   2
April 21 at Montbrook   3