Paleontology Trek connects students with a professional Paleontologist and his colleagues in some of New Mexico’s most exciting dig sites. Trekkers will travel to multiple active excavation sites to unearth dinosaur bones and prospect for future discoveries. Trekkers work alongside researchers on an active dig and will learn techniques for processing artifacts for local museum displays. There will also be an opportunity for a behind the scenes tour of Albuquerque’s Natural History Museum and the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum. This trek is a perfect fit for a student interested in paleontology–there’s no need to know the difference between an Ornithischia and a Saurischian; only a need to be willing and eager.
While the majority of this program is focused on paleontology, students will get a chance to visit the Cottonwood Gulch Basecamp and will have the opportunity to learn new skills like metalsmithing, animal tracking, plant identification, mountain biking, farming, cooking, music, and rock climbing. The exact specialties of our staff vary from year to year, but we always have an incredibly talented and knowledgeable team that is excited to introduce trekkers to new skills as well as offer deeper exploration for those already familiar with a topic.
Students on Paleo Trek will be camping for the duration of the program. While working on dig sites, they will sleep in tents and once the dig portion of the course is complete, they will head to our Basecamp and sleep in cabins. Trekkers will sleep under the stars, learn about paleontology, and experience some of the most majestic places the Southwest has to offer. See below for a sample itinerary.
Age Range: 14 - 18
Gender: All welcome, Male, Female, Non-binary
Min Group Size: 8
Max Group Size: 18
Elevation: 5,000 to 11,000 feet
17 Days on Trek
number of days on the trek
Cost: $3,850 - college credit included*
*4 credit hours from Mesalands Community College
June 18 - July 4
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe outdoor education is more essential than ever. While we don’t know exactly what the pandemic will look like for Summer 2022, we are hopeful that we can run small group treks in outdoor spaces. Some experiences noted in this document, such as caving, may not be possible.
This trek will encourage trekkers to explore, create, learn, listen and play. Here are the details!
- 2-day road loop
- Learn to set up camp for field work time
Create | Art / Music
- Drawing and journaling about findings
- Campfire songs
Learn | Science / Technical Skills
- Engage in Cultural Anthropology on the peoples that occupied and thrived in what is called modern day New Mexico before the age of colonization.
- Have a chance to speak with their descendants, members of the 23 First Nations/Indigenous Peoples of New Mexico.
Listen | Culture / Community
- Visit a Native American festival, pending invitation and Covid regulations, (pre-covid, our organization was lucky enough to be invited to Pueblo Feast Day of the Zuni, Laguna and Acoma peoples, respectively
- Volunteer at a Dine/Navajo farm
- Service Learning Project to help better the community
Play | Have Fun
- You get to dig up creatures that lived between the JURASSIC AND TRIASSIC PERIODS! So much fun uncovering the Mesosoic Era.
- Connect with other similarly aged DINO-heads!
June 18 - July 4
Resources for Parents
The trek itineraries vary year to year, depending on permits and staff expertise
- Day 1 Arrive and get to know everyone
- Day 2-9 Excavation, prospecting, fossil preparation
- Day 10 Mesalands Dinosaur Museum visit
- Day 11 Behind the scenes tour of Natural History Museum
- Day 12-14 Basecamp Loop and Cottonwood sessions!
- Day 15 Rendevouz
- Day 16 Trek wrap up, final banquet
- Day 17 Head home
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