North Dakota Geological Survey


National Fossil Day Activities

Tuesday October 16th, 2018


Come join the NDGS staff in celebration of National Fossil Day! There will be activities from 12:30pm-4:30pm, located at the Heritage Center in Bismarck. An identification table will be available throughout the celebration – Geologists, Paleontologist, and Archaeologists will be available to help identify your rocks, fossils, and artifacts.

Schedule of Events 12:30pm-4:30pm:

  • – Come see some of our summer finds!
  • – We will have information available, and people to talk to about summer digs.
  • – Try our new scavenger hunt – complete and return for a plaster fossil cast.
  • – Learn how to draw dinosaurs with Jessica Rockeman

Art Contest:

With National Fossil Day also comes an art contest! This year’s theme is: North Dakota’s Savanna.

Wander through the Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time in the North Dakota Heritage Center to get ideas. Don’t live in Bismarck? Visit your local museum instead! The Dickinson Museum Center also houses examples of these animals, along with the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman. There are museums and fossil exhibits all over the state.

During the Oligocene, ~34 million years ago, North Dakota had a more dry climate – similar to what is around today. Large areas of grassland, scrub trees and hackberry dotted the land. Many types of animals made North Dakota their home, including: Dinictis (saber-toothed nimravid), Hesperocyon (primitive dog), Mesohippus (three-toed horse), Amia (bowfin fish), Palaeoplancus (eagle), alligators, Stylemys (tortoise), Subhyracodon (hornless rhino), and many more! Your artwork should focus on one or two animals that lived during this time, going about their daily lives. Are they hunting? Eating? Sunbathing? Playing? Here’s a list of Oligocene plants and animals you can use.

Entries must be received by Friday, October 12, 2018.

Who can enter?

Any North Dakota resident, of any age.

What should my artwork include?

All artwork must be 2D (two dimensional). Your medium can be crayon, marker, photography, painting, digital, and more, but cannot exceed 8.5” tall and 11” wide. Please make sure your artwork is in Landscape orientation, not Portrait.

Submission Guidelines:

To be judged, all entries must include:

  • 1. The artwork! Your artwork must be original – no tracing or copying other artists’ work.
  • 2. A description of your art – What is in it? What are they doing? Your description and details will be part of the judging process.
  • 3. Personal information
    • First and Last name
    • Mailing Address
    • Phone number
    • E-mail address
  • 4. Make sure your name is on the back of your art.
  • 5. Send digital entries to:, along with your submission form.
  • 6. Mailed artwork and submission forms must be sent to:
    • North Dakota Geological Survey
      c/o Becky Barnes
      600 East Boulevard
      Bismarck, ND 58505-0840
  • 7. Submission Form

If you have any questions regarding the art contest, please contact Becky Barnes at

When is the Deadline?

All art must be postmarked or electronically mailed by Friday, October 12th, 2018.

How will the artwork be judged?

Your art will be judged on creativity, originality, quality, and relevance to the topic (Oligocene Savanna). Judges will include staff from the ND Geological Survey and the ND State Historical Society. Four categories include:

  • 8 years old or younger
  • 9-13 years old
  • 14-18 years old
  • 19 years old or above
Winning art

Winning artwork will appear on the ND Geological Survey website(, and will be on display for a year in the Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time at the State Museum in Bismarck..


By submitting an entry, the entrant agrees to allow the NDGS and SHSND to use his or her name to post on the NDGS and SHSND websites, without compensation unless prohibited. All entries and all rights of ownership in and to the entries, including all rights to use, reproduce, publish, modify, edit, and distribute the same will become the exclusive property of NDGS and will not be returned. NDGS reserves the right to edit, modify, copyright, publish, use, and reproduce any and all entries without further compensation. The NDGS and SHSND, are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, incomplete, or postage-due entries.