Donald Baumgartner

Back to Speaker List

Medical Entomologist, Adjunct Faculty in Biology at W.R. Harper College, and Amateur Collector
Sunday May 26, 2019
11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

The World Famous Mazon Creek Fossils from Illinois

The audience is transported back to North Central Illinois at 300 million years ago to observe the world then and the plant and animal life present, as based on the fossil record. The history of the Mazon Creek deposit of Illinois is reviewed, the plants and animal fossils discovered are presented, places to collect are identified, successful methods are given to reveal the fossils from the rock tombs, and the major science references are mentioned.

Fossils are His Passion

Donald Baumgartner is a Medical Entomologist employed as a Life Scientist in pesticide regulation at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Chicago. Donald is also Adjunct Faculty in Biology at W.R. Harper College in Palatine. Donald also is President of a small fossil retail company named “The Fossil Hut Ltd.” through which he sells common and unusual fossils throughout the upper Midwest at club rock shows.

Collecting fossils is his hobby and addiction. Donald is intrigued by Pre-Cambrian and Cambrian life, the Mazon Creek biota, insects, jellyfish, Green River biota, and trace fossils in particular. In addition to local collecting in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, Donald has traveled far and wide to dig dinosaurs and ammonites in Montana, unearth dinosaur tracks in Massachusetts, hunt for shark teeth and shells in North Carolina and Florida, fossil crabs in Washington, and fossil clams in Oregon. He has also scooped up fossil jellyfish from fossil beaches in Wisconsin, netted fossil insects in Colorado, fished for Green River fish in Wyoming, and dup-up trilobites in Utah. Donald earned 1st Place for Advanced Adult Articles in the 2011 MWF newsletter competition for his article, Hunting Fossil “Bugs” in Utah.