Join Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute's 2018 Field Expedition

Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
Tax Deductible
DOI: 10.18258/10732
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  • $3,701
  • 224%
  • 36
    days left

Join This Trip

Research trips are a way to join a research project and help with the scientific work.

About This Trip

Work alongside paleontologists as we collect, excavate and document the fossilized remains of the ancient ecosystems of Montana and Wyoming's Bighorn Basin. This year we're focusing on Jurassic (145 million yr old) sites, excavating dozens of juvenile Diplodocus bones at one, and Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, and crocodiles in another. Join us for a week this summer on the excavation!

Can't join us? Support us by sponsoring a fossil jacket or donating to help us purchase supplies! See below!

The Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute is a new 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to paleontology and earth science research and education, led by Jason Schein. When we aren't in the field or conducting research, we are engaging in outreach and education opportunities within our communities, striving to increase awareness and appreciation for our science, and for all science in general.

Where We'll Be

What To Expect

The Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute's public summer field expeditions provide people of almost any age, background, and interest level an opportunity to work alongside, and as, real field paleontologists. You will be part of, and contribute to, decades-long research projects to collect and study the ancient organisms and ecosystems that existed here so many millions of years ago. You will be professionally trained on site to find, identify, collect, excavate, document, and prepare real fossils.

Day 1
YBRA Arrival
We will pick you up from the airport in Billings, MT, or you can arrange your own transportation into the Yellowstone-Bighorn Research Association campus.

Day 2-6
Each morning we’ll leave as a group to the excavation sites that we’ve worked at in previous years. Each site has ongoing projects and opportunities to prospect for new finds.

Day 7
On the Saturday of your week, we’ll drop you off at the airport.


To participate in this program, must be over the age of 11. Children 12-17 years old must be accompanied by an adult.


Since we've started this program, there have been many finds which have led to academic and scholarly publications. Our fossils are often made available to other scientists for study and collaboration. In addition, I have also been a co-author to many publications in the field of paleontology. Here are a few highlighted publications:

  1. “A gigantic, exceptionally complete titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from southern Patagonia, Argentina”. Kenneth J Lacovara, Matthew C Lamanna, Lucio M Ibiricu, Jason C Poole, Elena R Schroeter, Paul V Ullmann, Kristyn K Voegele, Zachary M Boles, Aja M Carter, Emma K Fowler, Victoria M Egerton, Alison E Moyer, Christopher L Coughenour, Jason P Schein, Jerald D Harris, Rubén D Martínez, Fernando E Novas. Nature Publishing Group, 2014/9/4. Link
  2. “First diagnosis of septic arthritis in a dinosaur”. Jennifer Anné, Brandon P. Hedrick, Jason P. Schein. R. Soc. open sci. 2016 3 160222; DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160222. Published 3 August 2016. Link

Please visit our website for more information, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Can't join the field trip, but still want to contribute?

There are many ways you can contribute to our research, education, and outreach efforts, even if you can't join our team in the field. Check out these small items you can help us purchase, or sponsor a fossil jacket!

Plaster of Paris - ~$17/bag - We will use at least 40 bags in 2018 (that's $660!).

Gasoline - ~$2.75/gallon - In 2017, we used purchased ~935 gallons of gas (that's almost $2,500!)

Burlap - ~$0.75/ sq. yd. - We will use at least 100 sq yds in 2018 (that's $75!)

Ice - ~2.50/block - We will use at least 50 blocks of ice in 2018 (that's $125!)

Tools: We usually spend about $1,300 on tools each field season

Shovels - ~$27.00 Large Trowels - $22.00 Large Screw Drivers - $11.50

Sponsor A Fossil Jacket!!

Small (<50lb): $30 Medium (50-100 lbs): $50 Large (>100 lbs): $100

***Sponsors will receive a picture of their field jacket, and be listed on a special 'Thank You' page of our website and in our members-only newsletter. Sponsors of medium or large jackets will receive an email update about the fossils contained within!


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If you decide to join us this summer, your adventure begins in Billings, Montana. Your fees to volunteer includes room and board, all meals, and transportation to and from field sites for 6 days and 5 nights. We provide all tools, equipment and instruction. Accommodations are at our mountain-side home away from home, the Yellowstone-Bighorn Research Association.

Although much less expensive than many other fields, paleontological field work is still quite costly. If you can't join us this summer, please consider donating a bag of plaster, a new shovel, or even a gallon of gas!

Plaster of Paris - ~$16.50/bag - We will use at least 40 bags in 2018 (that's $660!).

Gasoline - ~$2.75/gallon - In 2017, we used purchased ~935 gallons of gas (that's almost $2,500!)

Burlap - ~$0.75/ sq. yd. - We will use at least 100 sq yds in 2018 (that's $75!)

Ice - ~2.50/block - We will use at least 50 blocks of ice in 2018 (that's $125!)

Endorsed by

This experience is a fantastic opportunity to explore your passions and work with and learn from a great group of paleontologists and expedition crew members! On the expedition you will be an integral part of the team as we collect fossils in the picturesque American West.

Flag iconProject Timeline

Our staff will begin assembling at YBRA at the end of June in preparation for the start of the field season. The 6-week season begins July 1 and ends August 11. All of the fossils should arrive at the Academy of Natural Sciences by early September, when we'll begin to prepare, conserve, and curate the specimens. We hope to begin presenting and publishing the results of the 2018 field season by fall of 2019.

Feb 28, 2018

Project Launched

Jun 25, 2018

Travel to Montana

Jul 01, 2018

Field Season Begins

Aug 11, 2018

Field Season Ends

Sep 08, 2018

Fossils arrive at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Meet the Team

Jason P Schein
Jason P Schein
Founding Executive Director, Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute


B.S., Geology, Auburn University M.S., Geology, Auburn University
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Team Bio

The Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute is a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to paleontology and earth science research, education, and outreach. The BBPI is led by Jason Schein, a paleontologist who began leading paleontological expeditions to the Bighorn Basin in 2010. Our field staff is comprised of highly experienced field paleontologists and educators. Our team has been working together in the Bighorn Basin since 2014.

Jason P Schein

Very simply, I want to do nothing more than surround myself with nature and learn everything I can about it in the short time I have on this planet. I am a natural historian at heart.

I studied geology at Auburn University and paleontology at Drexel University. My publications range a variety of subjects from giant sea turtles to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. I am most fascinated by the Late Cretaceous marine and terrestrial ecosystems in North America because it allows me to combine my loves of paleontology, nature, the outdoors, and the history and grandeur of the great American West.

I've participated or led expeditions in Argentina and across the United States. As the Founding Executive Director of the Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute, I now lead annual summer expeditions in the Bighorn Basin in Montana and Wyoming. The BBPI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to paleontology and earth science research, education, and outreach.

Suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is where I call home. I fill my "free" time by hunting, fishing, writing, and learning. I love sharing my love and knowledge of the natural world with my family and being a Dad.

Visit to learn more about our organization. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Project Backers

  • 13Backers
  • 224%Funded
  • $3,701Total Donations
  • $284.69Average Donation
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