The year 2021 marks Southwestern Adventist University’s Dinosaur Science Museum and Research Center’s 25th annual summer dig in Wyoming. Through the past quarter century, this special project has excavated and cataloged more than 30,000 dinosaur bones and brought together thousands of students and researchers at the Hanson Family Ranch in Wyoming. The project is the subject of Hope Channel’s six-part documentary titled “The Dig.”
As the research project has gained world-wide recognition over the years, the number of summer participants has outgrown the capacity of the onsite research station. The field station was originally built to accommodate 20 participants, however, the project has seen exponential growth — with as many as 200 onsite guests during peak weekends.
In 2018, recognizing increased interest in the project and planning for additional growth, the museum’s leaders and the Hanson family began making plans to build a new field station. The new facility will be three times the size of the existing facility in order to accommodate up to 120 people per day. Costing approximately $500,000, the new space is designed to increase the quality and reach of the project.
Unfortunately, a storm destroyed the aging field station this fall, expediting the need for this building project to commence ahead of the 2021 summer dig. “Our field station is an essential part of this project. It provides us with shelter from storms, a place to cook and serve meals, bathrooms and showers and most importantly, a hub for us to process our data using high-precision GPS units and advanced computing systems. The lack of an adequate field station will greatly reduce our capacity to perform our research and will present a significant challenge to supporting the hundreds of participants we receive each year,” shares Jared Wood, Dinosaur Science Museum director and curator.
Project leaders have begun fundraising with a goal to raise at least half of the $500,000 by the end of this year in order to begin construction in early spring of 2021. Through the generosity of supporters, the Dinosaur Science and Research Center will be able to provide the infrastructure needed to support continued research and education in the area of paleontology for decades to come.
To view blueprints, learn more, or support the Wyoming Research Field Station building project click here. Watch “The Dig” on Hope Channel’s website and learn more about the research processes through a lecture series by Art Chadwick, Ph.D.
— Tim Kosaka is director of Marketing & Public Relations for Southwestern Adventist University.