Eagle Scout project helps uncover Ice Age fossils

Local scout works with Cincinnati Museum Center to process fossils

CINCINNATI – Local Boy Scout Ryan DiMisa recently led a group of 14 youth and adults through a one-day, intensive project to uncover Ice Age fossils from buckets of gravel that the Geier Collections & Research Center at Cincinnati Museum Center had collected more than 20 years ago. The effort was part of DiMisa’s Eagle Scout project, a rank only four percent of Boy Scouts earn.

Eagle Scout projectDiMisa, a member of Normandy United Methodist Church’s Troop 316, has always been interested in science, particularly natural history, and was looking for the right service project to complete on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Looking for an opportunity to tie his personal interests to his service project, DiMisa was referred by Dr. Cinder Miller of Gray & Pape, a Cincinnati cultural resources management firm, to Glenn Storrs, PhD. Dr. Storrs, Withrow Farny Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Cincinnati Museum Center suggested the Ice Age fossil project.

With the help of volunteers, DiMisa sifted through eight gallons of gravel/fossil mixture that was no greater than one-quarter inch in size, separating fossils that revealed clues about life in northern Ohio from 10,000 years ago. The recovered specimens included jawbones, skulls, teeth, leg bones and vertebrae of small Ice Age animals.

“Ryan and his fellow scouts were a great help in reducing some of our fossil processing backlog,” said Dr. Storrs. “As a non-profit, we rely very heavily upon volunteers and the generosity of the community.”

Eagle Scout is the highest level a scout can reach and requires the scout to complete a service project, earn 21 merit badges and hold troop leadership positions. The few scouts who do work towards the rank generate more than nine million service project hours annually. DiMisa’s project at the Geier Center included 200 person hours of service.

DiMisa, a sophomore at Centerville High School, hopes to pursue advanced degrees in earth and biological sciences after high school, with the plan of becoming a professional vertebrate paleontologist.

For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org