Lauer Foundation for Paleontology, Science and Education
The Lauer Foundation for Paleontology, Science and Education (PSE) is passionate about promoting the cooperation and collaboration between scientists, individuals and commercial fossil collectors for the advancement of science. The Lauer Foundation PSE is an active operating foundation and the Foundation's collections are curated using museum standards including the Specify Software, collection management system, and storage of specimens in a museum grade climate controlled environment. The Foundation adheres to responsible acquisition practices, requiring proper provenance for additions to the Foundation collections. The Foundation actively participates in the study, analysis, documentation and research of its fossil collections with the international scientific community.
The history of the Foundation began decades ago. Bruce Lauer began his lifelong interest in paleontology in the 1970’s, collecting fossil concretions in the Mazon Creek area of Illinois as a member of the Earth Sciences Club of Illinois (ESCONI). His interest and collections of fossils grew to include scientifically important specimens. Bruce and Rene Lauer recognized their collection contained scientifically important specimens and sought a solution to provide permanent access to these specimens for science and to properly curate the collection. The collections provide a rare glimpse of the biota of two important fossil laggerstätte: Solnhofen, Bavaria, Germany (Jurassic Age) and Mazon Creek, Illinois, USA (Carboniferous Age).
The Lauer Foundation PSE was formally established in 2014 as a 501(c)(3) not for profit operating foundation with a corporate Board of Directors. The mission of the Foundation is to promote collaboration, cooperation and access to the scientific community of scientifically important specimens. Today, the Lauer Foundation PSE maintains one of the most complete collections of Solnhofen fossils representing the entire biota of the location.
The extensive collection is available to study and view through collaborations with museums, scientists and researchers. The fossils are curated using the Specify Software and follows museum protocols for storage and documentation. Additional photographic and UV photographic documentation, microscopes and camera equipment is provided to visiting researchers.
The Foundation also recognized the need to advance knowledge and spark curiosity in young people in the sciences, world cultures and natural history. The Foundation continues to provide programs begun by Bruce and Rene Lauer to provide unique hands-on educational outreach programs to area schools, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), museums and the community.
The Lauer Foundation PSE, not any individual, own the Foundation collections; all specimens in the Foundation will be deposited to a museum or public depository as selected by the Board of Directors, to continue to provide permanent access to scientific researchers for study, publications and exhibition.
To see the Lauer Foundation PSE collection in the news click here.
If you are interested in learning more or participating in a potential collaboration or study of the collection please contact us at email@example.com.
The Lauer Foundation PSE is solely funded by the Lauer family and does not currently accept outside donations or grant requests at this time.
Lauer Foundation Legal Structure
The Lauer Foundation for Paleontology, Science and Education is an independent operating foundation, governed by a corporate Board of Directors. The Foundation is registered as a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization with the U.S. Government and the State of Illinois. The Lauer Foundation PSE, and not any individual, owns all specimens. This legal structure is almost identical to many public museums.
In an effort to be transparent, the Foundation has provided access to important information and legal documents for those interested in collaborating on science and research projects. These documents have provided the necessary assurances to the researchers and several large institutions the Foundation has collaborated with including: Appalachian State University, Virginia Tech and The Natural History Museum UK.
If you have additional questions or requests regarding the legal structure of the Lauer Foundation PSE, please contact Bruce Lauer.
Bruce Lauer is the co-founder and co-curator of the Lauer Foundation for Paleontology, Science and Education. The Lauer Foundation curates collections of scientifically important fossils, which include Jurassic lithographic limestones from the Solnhofen archipelago, Bavaria, Germany; Carboniferous Mazon Creek fossils from Illinois; and fossils relating to the evolution of sharks.
Bruce Lauer began his interest in paleontology and fossils in the early 1970’s. He was an active participant in the Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois and focused on collecting fossils from the Mazon Creek area of Northern Illinois as well as Solnhofen, Germany.
Bruce attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, receiving his bachelor's degree in accounting as well as his CPA certificate. As Chief Operating Officer, Bruce retired from his 35-year career in accounting and investment management in 2014 to focus on his lifelong passion.
Bruce Lauer and his family traveled extensively around the world, continuing their education and cultural awareness which ignited Bruce's interest in paleontology. This led to the development of the Lauer Foundation PSE as well as numerous paleontology, geology and Africa multicultural outreach programs for the local schools.
Bruce focuses his attention on the curation of the Foundation collection. This includes acquisitions, ascension into the collection, and cataloging and storage of the specimens. The Foundation utilizes the Specify collection management system. Bruce also works with researchers to organize visits and make specimen loans. Rene and Bruce also manage the research projects from the Foundation perspective.
Rene’ Lauer is the co-founder and co-curator of the Lauer Foundation for Paleontology, Science and Education. The Lauer Foundation curates collections of scientifically important fossils, which include Jurassic lithographic limestones from the Solnhofen archipelago, Bavaria, Germany; Carboniferous Mazon Creek fossils from Illinois; and fossils relating to the evolution of sharks.
The Foundation provides a permanent home for the collections which are available for use by scientific researchers (both domestic and international) for study and publication and have also been used for exhibitions at area museums as well as educational outreach programs in area schools, STEM camps, and National Fossil Day activities.
She is also the co-founder of the Lauer Foundation’s Homestead site and collection, a Triassic microfossil locality, New Mexico, USA. The site and collection are utilized by three partner institutions to provide site access for the purpose of teaching educational field and lab training skills, collect materials, and to utilize these materials for scientific research, and publication. Our partner institutions include Appalachian State University, Virginia Tech University, and the Natural History Museum – UK.
Rene’ primarily focuses on photographic imagery and its application in collection curation, documentation, and research. She has customized photographic techniques, equipment, and methods to photographically document paleontological specimens in both visible and ultraviolet light (UV induced fluorescence) which is provided to researchers. This technique is particularly well suited for use with lithographic limestone fossils from the Solnhofen archipelago to discern fine structures and details not normally identified in visible light. She also helps to develop content and present lectures for the Foundation’s educational outreach programs.
THE LAUER FOUNDATION PSE ENCOURAGES THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE BY PROVIDING THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY ACCESS TO THE COLLECTIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF COLLABORATION, RESEARCH AND EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITIES.
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