Jay Tinker grew up playing with Devonian fossils along Grout Brook in Scott, New York. He attended Houghton College and received a BA in Mathematics with a minor in Earth Sciences in 1981. During the 1980s he volunteered in local schools, showing the kids New York State fossils and while volunteering at a church summer camp, he lead many fossil hikes so the kids could fill their suitcases with rocks to take home. In the early 1990s, he began taking his own children on PRI field trips and soon he and his entire family became committed and loyal PRI volunteers. Jay has done almost everything at PRI, from working 14 hour shifts at our exhibit at the New York State Fair, to driving our T. rex skull cast around to rock shows and helping with the Hyde Park mastodon excavation. He has continued his work in local schools, from the 4 year olds in Head Start up through college geology clubs. He has own traveling teaching collection that he uses for these programs.

The Tinker family has amassed a magnificent fossil collection, mostly from one extraordinary Devonian site in their hometown of Tully, New York. Since the 1990s they have donated hundreds of fine and rare specimens from this site to PRI, including several type specimens. Currently Jay is the President of the Syracuse Gem and Mineral Society. He is the first paleontologically-oriented President of this organization in recent memory and is actively trying to convert all the members into fossil collectors.

It is with great pleasure that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2003 Katherine Palmer Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science by a non-professional to Jay Tinker.