The Rules

Why are there Rules?

There are many "rules" that must be followed when one decides to collect fossils. All societies whether large or small have rules and guidelines their members follow to keep things running smoothly. These rules come from many sources, including one's own inner standards, Society rules, landowner restrictions, and local, state or federal laws.

Personal Conduct

The preservation of high standards of integrity and ethical principles of conduct are a requirement when working with professional paleontologists and participating in fossil digs. The BPS Code of Ethics were derived from museum and professional paleontological organizations, and direct input from paleontologists. Members are expected to adhere to these ethics at all times, and make sure visitors and guests are brought up to speed on these procedures. Behavior even on ones personal time can reflect on the Society, so let's make sure it is a positive reflection!

State Law

The Code of Alabama contains laws enforced in the state of Alabama. Those relating to collecting of fossils and Native American artifacts in Alabama are shown on this site.


Most field trips are considered easy, and virtually anyone who is mobile can have easy access to fossil collecting sites. However, be aware that field trips can include slippery slopes, large boulders, steep drop-offs, loose rubble, deep water, alligators, snakes, scorching temperatures, and other dangerous situations since we are usually "off the beaten path" so to speak. Some trips will have age restrictions, and obviously, one needs to get an idea before the trip of its difficulty and how that may relate to your own particular needs. The Safety Considerations describe ways one can help keep themselves (and others) safe on field trips. Every person attending a field trip will be required to sign a Field Trip Waiver form to participate.

How BPS is Organized

The BPS Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Code of Ethics, and Standing Rules are documents written by and approved by our members which describe how our Society functions. These documents include such items as frequency of meetings, elections of Directors and Officers, our purpose, and general rules about how our Society operates.

Anyone with an interest in our organization may want to become familiar with the above documents, and try to attend at least 2-3 field trips or meetings before deciding whether to apply for membership in BPS.