The Hill Annex Paleontology Project:  A Citizen Science Research and Outreach Program

WESTGAARD, John; Minnesota Discovery Center, Chisholm, MN. HANKS, H. Douglas; Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN.


The Hill Annex Paleontology Project is a research endeavor directed on the Cretaceous deposits of the Minnesota area, begun in 2014.  Focus has stayed mainly with the Coleraine Formation conglomerates of the Mesabi Iron Range, but includes the entire region surrounding Minnesota. Primary work has been based out of Hill Annex State Park in Calumet, Minnesota. Stratigraphic placement of the formation is within the Cenomanian, in coastal depositional environments of the Cretaceous Interior Seaway. This is a citizen science initiated project started by volunteers from the Science Museum of Minnesota.  The Project is now based out of the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm, Minnesota, with new fossil material being curated there.  The project goals for research include the expansion of the existing base of scientific knowledge, documentation of existing known Coleraine Formation specimens in both public and private hands, and the digitization of the project collection.  In conjunction with research energies, the Project aims to grow and expand community engagement and public outreach efforts in the area and regionally.  Public interactions have included schools of all ranges, community groups and clubs, public gatherings and professional societies.  We’ll share some of our history, challenges and successes along the trail of our research.