SRU to celebrate National Fossil Day by hosting NPS paleontologist Oct. 15


National Fossil Day is Oct. 16

Attendees of SRU’s National Fossil Day presentation Oct. 15 in The Quad will be able to view a variety of fossils, including one of a Smilodon, also known as a saber-toothed tiger.

Oct. 14, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — National Fossil Day is Oct. 16 and one of the leading scientists who studies fossils -- in fact, the man who helped establish National Fossil Day 10 years ago -- will be at Slippery Rock University to help celebrate. Vincent Santucci, the senior paleontologist for the U.S. National Park Service, will visit a number of SRU classes before leading a presentation, 12:30 p.m., Oct. 15, in The Quad.

The event, hosted by the Park Ranger Society and the Geology Club at SRU, is open to the public and will include fossil displays and the opportunity for attendees to earn a badge and become "Junior Paleontologists."

"He is the guru when it comes to paleo research in national parks," said John Lisco, SRU associate professor of parks, conservation and recreational therapy. "He is a fantastic resource. He's been the driving force to push through legislation like the Paleontological Resource Protection Act and he's the only senior paleontologist in the parks service. He's got quite the background and it's very exciting that he's visiting SRU."

It was easy to convince Santucci to visit The Rock. His daughter, Brianna Santucci, attends SRU. She is a sophomore park and resource management major from Gettysburg. Vincent Santucci previously worked with SRU to help develop a Cultural Resource Management class that Lisco, a former NPS protection ranger, now teaches.

National Fossil Day is a nationwide partnership and celebration to promote the scientific and educational values of fossils. It was established by the NPS in 2009. NPS partners with 375 organizations across the country, including the Geological Society of America, Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the Paleontological Society, to conduct programming around National Fossil Day.

Vincent Santucci will speak to park and resource management classes and geology classes at SRU Oct. 14 before conducting a public presentation Oct. 15. He will show fossils and fossil replicas, including a Smilodon, which is a saber-toothed tiger. Attendees can get a booklet in which they can complete tasks required to become a Junior Paleontologist. Santucci will be available to give the oath to aspiring Junior Paleontologists and present them with a badge.

A veteran of nearly 35 years in the NPS, Vincent Santucci has worked in various national parks including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest and has supported geology and paleontology projects in more than 100 national park areas. He has published more than 150 articles and reports related to NPS paleontology. He is the recipient of various honors and awards including the Brunton Compass, George Wright Natural Resource and George Hartzog Stewardship awards.

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