We in the paleontology department have been very fortunate to have Dr. DB Poli, a VMNH research associate and professor at Roanoke College, working at the museum during her sabbatical. Dr. Poli has been aiding me in the collections room to organize, check IDs, and catalogue a large portion of our paleobotany collection. Dr. Poli is also a member of the Dragon Research Collaborative. Team Dragon, as they call themselves, is:
“… a large group of scholars, faculty, museum scientists, undergraduate students, and community partners trying to understand dragons. This group started with a central question about the connection of Carboniferous plant fossils to dragon lore the rest evolved naturally as the data progressed. The team is dynamic and unique. No one is more important than anyone else, and everyone works together. Team Dragon is an academic think tank that strives to show the power in multidisciplinary thinking.” -www.dragonrc.com
It has been a fun and interesting journey learning more about paleobotany, the different pieces of dragon lore, and how the two are interconnected. While working with the VMNH paleobotany collection, she, along with cowork Dr. Lisa Stoneman, decided that they could develop teaching resources based around the fossils. Dr. Poli, Ray and I worked together to select fossil plants with enough relief to be captured in a cast. With the specimens selected, it was time to develop the teaching kit. Ray and I focused on making the molds and casts of the plants while Dr. Poli and Dr. Stoneman focused on developing teacher resources. Today, the kits launched!
The most interesting aspect about these kits, in my opinion, is that the Dragon Research Collaborative (DRC) website will be continuously working to create more lesson ideas that include the plant casts (9 casts in the kit). You can learn more about the casts on the Carboniferous Fossil Plants Kit page.
As new resources become available on the DRC website, I will make short posts about them here to keep you all in the know.