DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences Hosts First Education and Outreach Workshop

From September 13-15, 2016, the CoE was host to approximately 30 participants, representing primarily informal palaeosciences education initiatives from around South Africa, but including participants from the National Museums in Kenya. Present were educators and researchers from the Albany Museum, the Ditsong Museum of Natural History, Iziko Museum, the National Geographic “Umsuka” Public Palaeoanthropology Project, the National Museum in Bloemfontein, PAST, the University of Cape Town, and the West Coast Fossil Park, Wits’ Evolutionary Studies Institute, and Wits’ Dept. of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies.20160915_140423_resized

The workshop programme included presentations regarding the state of palaeosciences outreach efforts throughout the country, educational activities, as well as aspects of the relevant CAPS curriculum. Break out discussion sessions focused on the perceived greatest needs in the country to facilitate quality informal palaeosciences education, as well as where participants would like to see palaeosciences programmes in 7 years’ time. Strategy discussions concentrated on how to achieve needed goals, as well as potential funding for these efforts. The workshop concluded with a visit to the James Kitching Fossil Gallery and a tour of the ESI’s facilities.

The workshop was deemed a great success by participants and another will be planned for 2017. In the meantime, individuals organised themselves into working groups to start tackling some of the greatest areas of need identified in palaeosciences education. Proceedings of the workshop will be published in Palaeontologia africana at some point in the future.

Contributed by K. Lindsay Hunter

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