Members of the Tampa Bay Fossil Club hosting a National Fossil event. Volunteers: (L to R) Bill, Seina, David , Amanda, Laura. Flickr image.
To plan a National Fossil Day event, follow these four steps:
1. Build Partnerships
Build partnerships with groups that will contribute to your NFD event. These groups can either be sponsors or specific organizations you want to invite to attend or participate in the event. Successful NFD events are built on collaboration, so as you plan your event you may discover that other organizations in your area are also hosting a NFD event or an event that is related to NFD; it may beneficial to combine your efforts and resources into one event. The National Fossil Day's partner page is a good place to view other organizations in your area that are planning events.
The following list illustrates potential groups/organizations that could be included in a NFD event:
- - Schools
- - Local Museums
- - Youth Groups
- - Science Teachers
- - Natural History Educators
- - Local rock/mineral/fossil clubs or societies
- - Environmental Organizations
- - Senior Citizen Groups
- - Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts/4-H Clubs
- - Other community-based organizations or associations
- HINT: Use the American Geological Institute's Organization Finder to look for earth science organizations near you!
Sponsors can provide beneficial services, in-kind products, and financial support, which can greatly enhance your NFD event. Your sponsors receive the benefits of increased community appreciation, media publicity, and corporate recognition. It is not necessary to have sponsors in order to host a NFD event.
IMPORTANT: Regardless of the size of your event, always remember to thank your partners and your sponsors, before, during, and after the event.
The following list illustrates potential sponsors that could be beneficial to your NFD event:
- - Local restaurants, or grocers to donate food and beverages for the event
- - Print shops to design and print flyers, hand-outs, signage, and advertisements
- - Transportation companies to provide vehicles for event volunteers and attendees
- - Community media to cover or promote your event:
- local newspaper(s)
- local radio/TV station(s)
- community webpage(s)
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2. Identify and Plan Your Event
Set your goals, and be as precise as possible.
For example, your goal may be to "introduce 30 new people to your park or museum" or to "educate 20 people on the significance of local fossil record ", etc. Whatever the goal(s), be clear and explicit. Make sure there is common goal among the participating groups.
Identify the activities you will have during your event. Events may be large (a fossil preparation demonstration for hundreds of students from the local school) or small (a 30-seat lecture from a local paleontologist in the visitor center), but should utilize or highlight local fossils or paleontological expertise. What makes your park/organization/museum unique? To what paleontological stories does it contribute? How does it fit in with other fossil sites in your state?
The following are some possible activities that will make your event educational and fun:
- - Lectures-given by local paleontologists, museum curators, college professors, etc.
- - Hands-on demonstrations
- Fossils found in your town/county/state
- How to prepare/preserve fossils
- How to identify all the different types of fossil fuels you use in a day
- Arts and crafts (e.g. making fossil casts/molds)
- - Activity books, such as the Jr. Paleontologist activity books found on our NFD website
- - Tour of a park/museum highlighting fossils
- - Our Activities page has numerous activities you can use or adapt for your event
Select when and where you should host your event.
In many cases, the events will be held on National Fossil Day, but there are many events being held on the weekend before/after as well. Although it is encouraged to host an event on National Fossil Day, it is not mandatory to be considered a NFD event. There may be other factors that make another day better for you, such as another scheduled event on the same day. NFD is encouraging organizations to host an event that is relevant anytime around NFD that is convenient for them, possibly another day during Earth Science Week. Events held on weekends rather than the middle of the week may attract higher numbers of visitors.
If you are a museum, you will most likely be hosting the event in your facility; therefore you must make sure there is space available before setting on a day and time.
IMPORTANT: You must also be aware of the capacity of your facility to ensure safety of all event-goers. If you are hosting a lecture, make sure you are aware of how many you can seat in your facility and make sure not to offer more tickets then there are seats. If you are event is free, which many are, prepare for excess number of people.
If you are a park, and if the weather permits, most likely the best place to host your event is outside in the park. This will allow you to accommodate a large crowd as well as allowing the public to enjoy the park to its fullest. Depending on the activities you have planned for the event may also determine where you host the event. For example, if you are giving tours of your park to highlight the fossils in the park, it is a good idea to host the event where the beginning and end of the tour will be.
IMPORTANT: If you plan an event outside, make sure that you have either a rain date scheduled or an alternative facility that will allow the event continue inside.
If you are an organization that does not have a facility that can accommodate a large crowd, it is important to find an alternative facility that will be able to accommodate the kind of activities you are planning.
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3. Register Your Event
You can register your event by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to contact us. Registered events will be added to the Events page of the NFD website.
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4. Promote Your Event
Now that you have spent so much time and energy planning your event, you want to ensure that people come. The staff working on National Fossil Day have submitted items about National Fossil Day to many newsletters, magazines and websites. These items direct people to the NFD website and the events listed there. Make sure your event is included on this list! NFD staff is also working with national news media to raise awareness about NFD.
You can help promote your event by creating press materials. You will probably want to create a flyer to advertise your event, and a press release for local media outlets. We encourage you to include the NFD logo, available for download here to include in these materials. We will also make a sample press release available for you to adapt.
Media outlets you may want to contact include:
- - Local newspapers
- - Local radio stations
- - Local TV stations
- - Local cable stations
- - Local magazines
- - Weekly newspapers
- - Organizational newsletters
- - Local websites
Ask local stores if you can post a flyer in their window, or find a community bulletin board. If local media reports on your event, please send a copy of the article or news story to our NFD email address.
Enjoy your celebration of National Fossil Day!
Please contact us if you have additional questions or comments!
Thanks and have fun!
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**This guide is modeled after the National Trails Day Guide, adapted from The Grassroots Fundraising Book by Joan Flanagan.