Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Chandler
Retired science educator, Jim Chandler, has been volunteering at the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum (MMGM) since 2015. Before retiring Jim worked for the Auburn school district and Oxford Hills middle school. As the Education Coordinator, Jim has helped develop a very successful Education Day program for students, held at the annual New England Mineral Conference in Newry. Jim’s interest in geology includes rocks and minerals; he is particularly enthusiastic about fossils. One of his more recent vacations included a self-guided fossil collecting trip in Maryland, where he collected a suite of fossils spanning a time period of the last 1.5 billion years!
At MMGM, Jim has been working tirelessly to organize and catalogue our fossil collection, beginning with specimens from Maine. That’s right, Maine has fossils! Our Maine fossil collection consists of 128 individual specimens that include many different species from five different periods in the geologic record including the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, and Quaternary.
A selection of these specimens will be incorporated in an exhibit which will illustrate Maine’s geologic history. In addition to fossils, this exhibit will include rock types from across the state that represent different events in Maine’s geologic history spanning 600 million years.
We anticipate hosting talks on Maine fossils and the role they play in Maine’s geologic history. Field trips to accessible collection sites will be planned in the future.
If you are interested in Maine fossils we recommend this special publication by the Maine Geological Survey. This 500-page text by Lisa Churchhill-Dickson is the most comprehensive guide to Maine fossils. It’s a must for fledgling Maine fossil collectors and even the most advanced paleontologists. The book can be purchased through the Maine Geological Survey.