Memorial prizes for fossil field trip

Two South Australian high school students are preparing to go underground with Flinders Palaeontology experts as part of this year’s James Moore Memorial Prizes.

St Aloysius College Year 10 secondary student Sara Roesler and Kangaroo Island student Dennis Schofield will receive funding to join next year’s Flinders University field trip to the NSW Wellington Caves complex, an outstanding site for megafauna fossil studies.

The annual James Moore Memorial Prize fund was established in memory of the well-loved Whyalla student who became an avid fossil hunter after graduated in palaeontology at Flinders University.

This year’s metropolitan school recipient, Sara Roesler, took the opportunity of visiting Flinders University’s Open Days this month to get some insights.

She says fossils fascinate her and is keen to pursue earth sciences, geography, archaeology, geology or other topics which support a tertiary pathway to palaeontology.

“I have a genuine interest in prehistory and fossils and have found it interesting since I was young,”  she says.

“I think some people wrongfully think that palaeontology is a wasted science with no relevancy today, but it is incredibly important to understanding our modern planet.

“The fossil records show animals that have never been seen and changes in their evolutionary patterns over millions of years.

“They show us how life has changed over time and how living things respond to climate and landscape changes, to help us predict what might happen in the future.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to commemorate the memory of James Moore so his passion can remain an inspiration to other young aspiring palaeontologists.”

Dennis Schofield, from Kangaroo Island Community Education, says he’s looking forward to joining the expedition in April 2023.

“I haven’t had a great deal of exposure to palaeontology but have recently begun developing a keen interest in earth and environmental sciences,” he says.

“The prize sounded like an amazing opportunity to learn more about the discovery and preservation of fossils while still studying at school.

“I love how fossils can hold so much history about the past that we can still learn from today.”

Flinders University, together with the Moore family, encourage donations to the memorial fund to ensure James’ passion for palaeontology can continue to inspire school students to ‘unearth their future’.

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