The Palaeontological Association aims to raise awareness of palaeontology and associated sciences via public outreach events and by awarding outreach grants. The Association is a major sponsor of the two main Fossil Festivals held annually in the UK, at Lyme Regis and in Yorkshire, and has a strong presence at both festivals, providing displays and activities for school groups and the general public. Palaeontological Association outreach grants are awarded annually, in order to facilitate innovative projects to engage the public with fossils and inspire the next generation of professional palaeontologists.
If you wish to contact the Palaeontological Association about outreach and education please use our contact form and select the Outreach and Education Officers: Contact Us Form
At Yorkshire Fossil Festival 2017 (22nd-24th September), at the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough, the Palaeontological Association outreach team presented activities on the theme of ‘fossilisation’, enthusiastically assisted by postgraduate volunteers. We engaged with 138 children during a special primary schools’ day on the Friday, and thousands of people visited the festival over the weekend.
A Jurassic diorama by palaeoartist James McKay provided the dramatic backdrop to our fossil display, which allowed the public to get hands-on with life in the seas 200 million years ago. Our ‘Fossilisation Frenzy’ board game was very popular, despite teaching people the hard way that trying to become a fossil is very challenging, with the odds very much stacked against you. Younger visitors enjoyed making their own mould fossil or miniature dinosaur footprint in salt dough to take home. James McKay joined us for the weekend, creating stunning paintings of people’s imaginary prehistoric creatures or favourite fossils. Two of our team, Dr Maria McNamara and Dr Lucy McCobb, took part in ‘Soapbox Science’ sessions, which involved talking to passers-by about fossils.
As part of our response to the results of the 2018 PalAss diversity study, PalAss are developing a YouTube channel in order to reach out to a broader and more diverse audience. We are launching an annual call for contributions to the following series: Flagship topical series; My fossil and me; and Life as a palaeontologist.
Do you have a passion for outreach and fossils? If so, you might apply be our next 'PalAss YouTube Ambassador'... or if you want to share you knowledge of a particular fossil or your life as a palaeontologist with a public audience become a 'one-off contributor'. More information...
Are you a keen video producer with an interrest in fossils? The Association wishes to produce a series of six one-minute educational videos targeted at the general public and is tendering for someone to produce these videos. The series, ‘How fit are you?’ will focus on themes of morphological adaptation and fitness in response to environmental and ecological change. More information...
The Palaeontological Association outreach team will be delivering activities on the theme of ‘fossilisation’ at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2018, 4th-6th May. Schools will be given priority on Friday 4th, with the festival open to all over the weekend.
Join us to handle some real fossils, make your own fossil to take home, or try to become fossilised in our ‘Fossilisation Frenzy’ game. See a feathered dinosaur replica up close, and hear expert Dr Maria McNamara talk about how colour can be preserved in feathers and other fossils. Palaeoartist James McKay will be joining us to create paintings of the public’s favourite fossils or imaginary prehistoric creatures.