We've always been known for thinking and acting outside of the box - for being what we call, "Gale." So when we embarked on our quest in January 2014 to write the nation's first full-color field guide to beach fossils, well, we knew it had to be Gale, too! Six years later, we made that dream a reality, and offered up our knowledge and expertise to the households of America and beyond.
Bob and Pam have collected fossils since 1986, when they enlisted the help of the naturalist Rudy Mancke to lead a guided beach walk at Edisto Island, South Carolina. He introduced them to the fossil world, and they were immediately hooked. Since then, they and their son, Ashby, have built a significant collection and added to their fossil expertise with countless field visits and research. Ashby has gone on to pursue paleontology as a profession. The Gales have collected at sites in Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and even Australia, ranging from land sites to cliff faces and sandy shores.
Bob holds a bachelor of science degree in geology and biology from the University of South Carolina and serves as Ecologist & Public Lands Director for MountainTrue, an environmental nonprofit organization in Asheville, North Carolina. Much of this book's writing was artfully penned by Bob.
He has a diverse professional background in wetland science, specializing in alluvial and rare wetland bog ecosystems. He also spent 15 years as a nature photojournalist, and his articles on forest, river, beach, and saltmarsh ecology, as well as on paleontology, have appeared in South Carolina Wildlife, American Forests, Islander, and other publications. He authored the natural history sections for the book Highroad Guide to the North Carolina Mountains. Bob has been involved in ecological protection and restoration for over 45 years through his engagement with a number of conservation organizations.
Pam, a working professional artist, earned a bachelor of art in art education from Limestone College, in Gaffney, South Carolina. She drew all the illustrations in this guide and researched the 300-plus “Did You Know?” features on the Identification Pages.
Pam taught art for many years at elementary schools in North and South Carolina. She has conducted on-site teaching at the Hilton Hotel and Westin Resorts on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and she founded and directed Kreation Station, a full-time art-teaching studio on Hilton Head. In 2018, she expanded on this idea and founded Majik Studios in Asheville, where participants of all ages learn an art form from professional artists and create their own pieces. Pam is a frequent presenter at the prestigious John C. Campbell Folk School in the mountains of western North Carolina and was a contributor to the book Earth Friendly Crafts for Kids. Her art specialty skills include graphic illustrations, handmade papermaking, and fabric marbling.
Ashby, who dreamed of being a paleontologist from an early age, received a bachelor of science in environmental science from Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. True to his dream, Ashby is now a paleontologist and the principal of Charleston Fossil Adventures, LLC, a tour company he founded in 2016, in Charleston, South Carolina. Ashby performed much of the research for the classification and identification of the specimens in this book.
Before founding CFA, he spent three years as an interpretive ranger and a program specialist at Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina, where he became the park's authority on coastal paleontology, curating its fossil exhibits and collections, and creating new displays. He has written multiple articles for the Explore Edisto magazine and provided photographs for its natural history segments. He has given paleontological presentations at annual conferences for the Southeastern Association of Vertebrate Paleontology (Aurora, NC, 2018), the Southeastern Section, Geological Society of America (Charleston, SC, 2019), and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (Brisbane, Australia, 2019).