Friday, March 28, 2008

I need more SVP advice...

So, I got my plane ticket for Tuesday, October 14th. I get to Cleveland in the late afternoon. My plane ticket is non-refundable, though it may be possible to get a flight the day before for only $50 more.

The field trip I want to go on begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. It only has 44 slots open. It costs $80.

Do I pay an extra $50 to get in a day earlier so that I can explore the Cleveland Shale? Or are my chances of getting a spot on the trip close to nil and would I be wasting my time/money?

I REALLY want to go on the field trip...but I'm also terrified that I'll be a burden to all the people who will actually know the stuff we're looking at. I also don't want to change my flight and then not be able to go on the trip.

Does anyone have an opinion on this? Some advice?

3 comments:

Zach Miller said...

Well, don't worry about burdening anybody! It's your trip and you love paleo! Screw 'em!

Having said that, an extra...$130 for a field trip through a bunch of shale doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but I guess I don't know what kind of fossils the Cleveland Shale produce (probably not vertebrates). If you want to do it, go for it!

Jerry D. Harris said...

Do I pay an extra $50 to get in a day earlier so that I can explore the Cleveland Shale? Or are my chances of getting a spot on the trip close to nil and would I be wasting my time/money?

As educational experiences, field trips are almost always invaluable, particularly for expanding your overall knowledge base (even outside vertebrates). First thing: contact the field trip leader(s) and find out if there are still slots open. Only then can you make a truly informed decision ('cuz obviously if it's closed, then the decision has already been made for you!). If it's open, I'd say it'd be worth it to go.

I guess I don't know what kind of fossils the Cleveland Shale produce (probably not vertebrates).

Actually, it does produce vertebrates -- the giant placoderm Dunkleosteus (formerly Dinichthys) is best known from the Cleveland Shale, as is the oldest known shark Cladoselache and a number of other fish. They ain't dinosaurs, but they still enjoy exceptionally high coolness factors for vertebrate fossils. (After all, why would they even offer the trip for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology if vertebrates weren't involved? ;-D ) There's a depauperate invert fauna there (and plants, too!), to be sure, but they ain't alone...

Traumador said...

Go for the gusto!

Why would they be offering the field trip openly if only big wigs could go. Think of yourself not as a "non experts" but rather an expert in training ;p

I went on a really technical field trip to the Burgess Shale where I only understood about 1/4 of the stuff the PHDs said, but I learned a ton from that mere quarter.

Plus just being taken to and shown a fossil rich site is half the battle with prospecting! I found a Marrella just looking through random bits of shale!!! We were also taken to a Trilobite field where literally every second piece of rock had at LEAST one trilobite! That was worth the price of the trip alone...

So again go for the gusto!!!