Meet our Team
Paleontologist, Educator, Guide
Now in his 27th consecutive field season discovering fossils in eastern Wyoming, John Hankla found his passion for dinosaur fossils at a very early age. While completing graduate school at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in Boulder, John started the Dinosaur Discovery Adventure field-school as a way to inspire the next generation of paleontologists. He believes that the world needs more scientists and that hands-on education is the best way to ensure that they develop. As a Research Associate with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's paleontology field team (denverpaleo.org) he works in localities from Montana to New Mexico, contributing to research that is uncovering the history of Western North America during the time of Dinosaurs. In the off-season, his company (thecollectivecollection.org) helps museums around the world build exhibits interpreting paleontological discoveries.
Field Coordinator, Camp Cook
Liz Milller is the research team's kick-butt cook. She grew up in Washington state and spent her childhood running down the wild Pacific beaches seeking adventure and agatized snails. After Liz graduated from Washington State with a degree in social sciences with an emphasis in pre-law, she took up the adventure of raising a family. Soon after, Liz started her own outfitting business using llamas as pack animals and employing the eager boys she was raising as her junior wranglers. Liz is an adventure seeker. Managing to keep her 5 sons from going completely feral for 22 years in Washington, she then moved the Miller family to the next adventure from Washington, to Hawaii, and then to Colorado, collecting stories and rocks all along the way. Colorado proved to be a great fit for Liz who quickly settled into a career as a Ski Pro and began spending her summers with her eldest son, Dr. Ian Miller, who had inherited the rock-hounding gene and pursued paleontology as a life-long career. In 2010, Liz worked 'in the trenches' at the incredible "snow-mastadon" site in Colorado where she collected fossils and fed 90 other hungry volunteer and staff working in this enormous dig site. She has continued to volunteer with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in the years since, a path that has led her to pull up all the stakes and live in Marmarth, North Dakota this field season cooking for Dr. Tyler Lyson’s very hungry and demanding crew. With her trusty camp dog, Little Annie Oakley, at her side, she continues to search up hills and down valleys across the American west in pursuit of the next big discovery. For Liz Miller, each day is a new adventure, and she plans to keep exploring mountains and basins and wild places; making discoveries about the earth and herself all along the way.
John Wiley is an educator with a passion for science, the outdoors, and travel. He believes that an understanding of the natural world and our place in it is central to understanding ourselves. In addition to his medical training as a Wilderness First Responder, John is also a teacher at the Challenge School, a K-8 school for gifted and academically advanced students, John has led many immersion programs that involve extensive travel and group management including trips to England, Italy, Greece, Spain, Costa Rica, Arches N.P., Space Camp, Teton N.P. Sand Dunes N.P. . John believes in teaching the whole person, and that teaching is primarily about engaging others about the unknown, whether that is geology or the inner ability to conquer fears. John Led a group of Middle School youth on a Dinosaur Discovery Adventure in 2013 where he worked in many of the fossil localities where our 2016 trip will focus our efforts.
Megan is currently a Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Assistant at the University of Kansas' Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum. She is in her 6th field season working with the dinosaurs of eastern Wyoming and North Dakota and she has helped guide students and families on several Dinosaur Discovery Adventures. Megan has become an expert in dinosaur anatomy, proficient in interpreting the fossils discovered during our trips, and meticulously keeping track of the data associated with each fossil discovery she works with. Megan has interned with The Indianapolis Children's Museum's dinosaur lab and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Jaden and Wyatt Stauffer
It would be hard to find two young people in the world with as much experience in field-paleontology as Jaden and Wyatt. The 5th generation in the family to live on their ranch in eastern Wyoming, these two have spent their entire lives exploring the dinosaur beds in their very big back yard. Wyatt's keen eye for spotting fossils is probably inherited from his mom and grandfather, also expert dinosaur hunters, and the family has discovered many incredible specimens that are housed in museums around the world. Jaden's skills behind a camera make her an asset on any field crew and her enthusiasm for discovery and adventure rivals her brother's. In many ways, these execeptional young people are the real guides in eastern Wyoming and we rely upon their expertise in the field.
Border Collie, digging expert, friend
Kit-Dog is a valuable part of our field-crew. She's spent 3 full seasons digging fossils with Dinosaur Discovery Adventures and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She's a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen and works as a Therapy Dog for Therapy Dogs International in schools and hospitals. Aside from obvious skills removing the overburden of soil at our digs, she also keeps up with lost tennis balls and helps retrieve stray students. It's hard to imagine a day in the field without this worthy companion.
Dr. Elana Shever
Elana is a cultural anthropologist and professor at Colgate University in upstate New York. She is currently writing a book about public engagements with dinosaur paleontology in the American West. Her previous book is about the social impacts of big changes in the oil industry in Argentina, so she is really interested in people who search for different kinds of buried treasures. When she is not hanging out with paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts or teaching anthropology to college students, you can find her playing with her two young children. Elana holds an AB from Brown University, and a MA and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She was Fellow at the University of Rochester Humanities Center in 2016-2017.