Seminar Series

2017 Seminars

Every summer, the Friends of the Florissant Fossil Beds, Inc. offer a seminar series. These one day seminars allow members of the general public and teachers to deepen their knowledge about a variety of subjects including geology, paleontology, human history, and the humanities. If you are interested in more information or signing up for a seminar please visit the Friends' website at

Below is a description of this summer's seminars:

Fun and Facts: Primitive Skills , Monday, July 10, 2017, 9AM- 5: PM, Robin Blankenship

This seminar will explore major concepts of the Stone Age: survival and sustainability. No electricity! No cars! No groceries! Just how did the people who lived in the Stone Age do it? Join us to see how they actually lived. Rub two sticks together and make fire! Spin bark into rope and string. Identify wild plants that are good for food and making survival items. Learn to make a stone knife and other stone tools. Learn how to throw an Atl Atl, the ancient Mammoth spear of our ancestors. You will learn all of the basic skills required to live off the land without modern conveniences. You will review the many resources, including children’s books that are available for language arts lessons on the Stone Age. Teachers will learn many ways of using the information and skills with their students which will satisfy the Colorado Academic Standards.

Natural History of the Florissant Fossil Beds: The Ecology of the Montane Zone, Thursday, July 13, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (working lunch), Dr. Boyce Drummond
The Florissant Fossil Beds is nestled in the Montane Life Zone, the middle of a layer cake of environments that stretches from the lowland grasslands of the eastern Plains to the wind-swept Alpine tundra above tree line. The Montane hosts an array of habitats that support hillside forests of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir, flower strewn meadows fringed with Aspen, and streams and wetlands that punctuate this dryland habitat with oases of water loving plants and animals. This mid-summer seminar seeks to identify the patterns of nature among the rolling hills of Florissant by exploring the biological
adaptations that make possible the rich diversity of the area’s flora and fauna. The participants will spend a good bit of the seminar in the field with a short introduction with some lecture and sharing of resource materials written by the presentor.

Forests, Fires and Faucets: How Forest Health and Wildfires Impact Water Supplies and Citizens, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (working lunch), Coalition for the Upper South Platte and the US Forest Service

This seminar will explore the linkages between our forests and the water we depend upon for municipal supplies, agriculture and recreation in the arid West. The Coalition for the Upper South Platte, a nationally recognized watershed non-profit will examine these relationships with the participants and explain the science behind the forest to faucet connection. Participants will learn about Western watersheds and how the results of the Watershed Assessment for River Stability and Sediment Supply (WARSSS) was used in the Upper South Platte Watershed to implement remarkable recovery and
restoration projects. A field trip during the seminar will include a tour of both pre-fire green-forest restoration sites and post fire restoration sites near Deckers, CO including Trail Creek, Chessman Reservoir and Horse Creek. CUSP (Coalition for the Upper South Platte) staff, as well as hydrologists and scientists from the U.S. Forest Service will lead the seminar.

The Volcanoes of South Park, Tuesday, July 25, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (working lunch and travel included) Dr. Emmett Evanoff and Dr. Herb Meyer

This field- based seminar will focus content on South Park, CO including the Florissant area which was covered by volcanic materials derived from volcanoes in the Guffy area and from the Mount Princeton center of the Sawatch Range. The Guffy area was the center of a large stratovolcano that blocked the drainages of South Park. Huge ash clouds composed of extremely hot solids, liquids and gases flowed down the valleys flanking the Sawatch Range and covered much of South park several times in the Geologic past. This one day seminar will be field based except for an introduction to the geology and paleontology of the area with a powerpoint presentation that will include the Thirty –nine Mile volcanic field and the batholith of Mount Princeton.

Introduction to Global Climate Change, Thursday, August 3, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Dr. Miro Kummel

This seminar includes 5 segments: (1) recent anthropogenic changes in the Earth’s climate (with examples from the Rockies and across the globe) including temperature and precipitation, sea ice extent and the rate of melting in Greenland and Antarctica; (2) the functioning of the Earth Climate System including the energy balance, atmospheric and ocean circulation, with hands-on exercises that can easily be brought into the K-12 classroom; (3) the concepts of radiative forcing and climate sensitivity to explore the ways in which humans are altering the energy balance of the planet, causing it to warm; (4) the role of natural ecosystems in regulating the concentration of greenhouse gasses with an emphasis on feedback; (5) how the recent human-caused climate change fits into the rich climate history of the planet.

Last updated: May 20, 2017

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 185
Florissant, CO 80816


(719) 748-3253

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