NEWS RELEASE: Fossil Fish Festival Kits Available to Wyoming Students

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Wyoming State Geological Survey

May 11, 2021


Media Contact:
Christina George
(307) 766-2286 x231
cell: (307) 703-0761


 Fossil Fish Festival Kits Available to Wyoming Students

Kits containing educational activities about Wyoming fossil fish are available complimentary to students across the state. The Wyoming State Geological Survey teamed up with the University of Wyoming Geological Museum, Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium, and Science Kitchen to provide the kits in lieu of the annual in-person event held in previous years.

The kits will be distributed in Laramie, Cheyenne, Casper, Lander, Riverton, Jackson, and also by mail. Kits may be requested through an online survey. Within the survey, you will identify your location as well as choose a pickup time and date. Kits are free to pick up, however, shipping costs will be required for kits that are mailed. Numbers of kits are limited. For additional information, visit

The Fossil Fish Festival began in 2017 as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Knightia as the Wyoming State Fossil. Knightia were the first fossils discovered in Wyoming and are a common fossil fish of the Eocene Green River Formation. They are related to modern day herring and once lived in an ancient lake system in southwestern Wyoming.

“Fossil Fish from our Green River Formation quarries near Kemmerer, Wyoming, are some of the most common and popular fossils found in nearly every museum and rock shop in the world,” says UW Geological Museum manager, Dr. Laura Vietti. “One of our goals of the Fossil Fish Festival is to put a piece of this incredible Wyoming fossil resource in the hands of as many young Wyomingites as possible in hopes of sharing our state’s unique and important fossil history with the people who live in it." 

Activities in the kit are geared toward students in upper elementary school grades and explore aspects of Wyoming’s great fossil lakes that existed in the Greater Green River Basin of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah in the early Eocene—about 52 million years ago when Wyoming was a much warmer and more tropical environment.

Each kit includes a partially covered fossil fish-bit (heads, tails, rib cages, fins) from the Green River Formation where participants will use the provided tools to learn to uncover, or "prepare," and keep their very own fish. Other activities focus on trona, one of Wyoming’s most unique resource that was deposited as a result of these large ancient lakes, as well as an activity about lake density, which directly resulted in the incredible preservation of fossil fish and deposition of trona.

“This kit is especially relevant to Wyoming kids with its focus on the geology of Wyoming,” says Megan Candaleria, associate director for the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium and director of the Science Kitchen. “Kids will love the fact that they l actually get to prep a real fossilized fish!”

Wyoming State Geological Survey

UW Geological Museum


Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium

Science Kitchen