Primary Speaker is Dallas area professional paleontologist Nathan Van Vranken. Nathan Van Vranken is a vertebrate paleontologist based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and has been active in the field since 2009. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Master’s of Science in Geology from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. When he isn’t doing paleontology he works as a professor for the Tarrant and Dallas community college school districts teaching undergraduate geology courses. His research specialization ranges from developing a better understanding the Cretaceous geology of Texas, incorporating three dimensional visualizations into paleontology, fossil fish, coastal dinosaurs, marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs, along with the early evolution of tetrapods in the Appalachian basin.
Join Paleontologist Nathan Van Vranken as he talks about the wildlife that made their home along the coastlines in the Cretaceous of Texas. This twenty minute talk will not only cover the area which would eventually become the Ladonia and the North Sulphur River but also touch on other famous fossil localities found within the state. The event is free and family friendly. There will be tables showing off locally collected fossils and artifacts. At 11am, there will be a fossil collecting trip to the local riverbed with experienced guides. Weather permitting.
The other speakers are Mick Tune followed by local Master Naturalists PK Kirkpatrick and Doug Franklin. Mick Tune, member of Dallas Paleontological Society and author, will give an update of significant NSR finds during 2019. PK Kirkpatrick will address safety issues on the river. Doug Franklin will give an update on fossil hunting at future Lake Ralph Hall.
After the speakers: Weather permitting, treks into the river bed for fossil hunting will follow. Please note that the climb into the river is quite a challenge. Those with arthritic knees, ankles, backs, and mobility issues will have difficulty getting in and out of the canyon area.
Other activities: Special sales will be made of the DPS book, Fossil Collectors’ Guidebook to the North Sulphur River. The book is a reference guide to fossil identification of fossils from the NSR in Fannin, Delta, and Lamar counties of Texas. Shirts, cups, and patches will be on sale. Volunteers from Dallas Paleontological Society and Bois d’Arc Chapter Master Naturalists will be present to identify fossils and artifacts collected from the North Sulphur River.
Lunch: Food concessions will be available from members at the Ladonia Volunteer Fire Department tent.
What to bring: Those going on the river excursion need to pack water, wear closed-toed shoes/mud boots/wading shoes, and wear a hat and/or sun screen. Bug repellent is also recommended. Other suggestions include a walking stick, backpack, bucket, and gloves.
This event can be broken into 2 sessions. One session just taking in the presentations and speakers and leaving the event at noon. The second session includes time to explore the river and leaving about 2 or 3 pm. Additional information may be obtained by calling 903-456-2687.
Ladonia Fossil Park Rules
The City of Ladonia is not responsible for accidents or injuries occurring on this property. Use of this property is at your own risk.
• Fossil collecting is allowed only within the river beds and banks.
• Parking permitted in designated area only.
• Possession/discharge of firearms, hunting and archery are prohibited.
• Possession/consumption of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs is prohibited.
• No pets allowed.
Enter and exit collecting area at designated points only. Area has dangerous drop offs, steep slopes and loose soil.
CAUTION ! !
Encounters with dangerous insects/animals are possible.