The Official Student News Source of HSEHS


The Official Student News Source of HSEHS


The Official Student News Source of HSEHS


Digging Deep into Fossil Club

Excavating a Space for Paleontology, Natural History

While this is Fossil Club’s first official year, it has been in the making for some time. Club President senior Matthew Sullivan has always had an interest in paleontology, going as far back as preschool and kindergarten. After watching the BBC documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, Sullivan’s interest in natural history, paleontology, and dinosaurs grew. Since then, his interests have led him on several expeditions and volunteering at natural history museums. After taking Geology, one of the only science classes available in his field, and realizing there was a sponsor free to help lead the club, he jumped on the opportunity.  

“I had never thought that would ever occur in a school I attended before college,” Sullivan said. “Bringing Fossil Club here and getting those kids together who really have that interest and that passion in paleontology [kind of] compensates for the fact that it’s not really existent in the majority of our base curriculum.”  

Sullivan has been seriously collecting fossils since 2019. His collection includes many fossils from his own expeditions as well as some fossil fragments he has purchased or received from other people. Expeditions in Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio have yielded various marine invertebrate fossils. 

“If you find a fossil in this 100-mile radius or more in the Midwest, it’s probably going to be a marine fossil,” Sullivan said.  

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His other fossils have come from “Hell’s Creek”, a site in Montana and North Dakota known for famous dinosaur fossils, with one fossil fragment was a gift from paleontologist Steve Bodi and two edmontosaurus metatarsal fragments coming from a natural history expo.  

“For every Fossil Club expedition, I try to bring [my fossil collection] in to show it to people who haven’t seen it before,” Sullivan said. 

So far, the club has met to go over some paleontology basics, look over Sullivan’s collection, and watch some documentaries: notably the finale of Walking with Dinosaurs and the first episode of Netflix’s Life on Our Planet. Their next meeting during Pathways B on Dec. 15 will include a visit from paleontologist Steve Bodi, whose most recent expedition uncovered some triceratops fossils. While the club is still getting started, Sullivan is excited for its growth and its meaning to its members. 

“Fossil Club sticks out as a sort of underdog, since our recurring member count is under ten,” Sullivan said. “But it’s a home for those people who do have an interest in natural history and paleontology where they can share their passion with each other, and most of all learn.” 

Sullivan hopes that the club will last past his graduation this spring, though he trusts that the club will grow as officers join leadership positions and the word gets out more.  

“If you have any interest ranging from ‘Oh, I just saw Jurassic Park’ to ‘I’ve been a dinosaur nerd for ten-plus years’, I would highly recommend you join this club,” Sullivan said. “Even if you aren’t necessarily part of that group that is ultra-passionate, you don’t have to be ultra-passionate. You just have to have somewhat of an interest, and we will do our best to not only help you learn, but to have a great time and have a great community for you to express yourself.”  

For more information on the club, join the Remind @hsefos or email [email protected] or [email protected]. Their next meeting is scheduled for Pathways B on Dec. 15 in room F122.    

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About the Contributor
Nicole Morris, Newsroom, Managing Editor
Senior Nicole Morris is in her third year on Newsroom staff. When she is not hanging out in the band room or hard at work on the marching field or indoor percussion tarp, she is in the Publications (PUBS) Lab writing away at a new article. Nicole is often found with the rogue band kids or at home, snuggled up in a heated blanket, with a good book or her sketchbook and a pencil.