It’s not unusual for you to find Angela Rice with her head buried in the sand.
As owner of Fossils Forever, a new business dedicated to helping tourists and locals alike find shark teeth and other treasures along the Grand Strand beach, Rice has turned her passion for environmental education and shark tooth hunting into a fun job.
Rice moved from Connecticut to South Carolina in 2014 as a way to spend more time with her grandmother, who is a Myrtle Beach snowbird.
“She was wintering here,” Rice said of her grandmother. “I came down here not really planning to stay.”
Rice grew up with a love of hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and woods. Here, she found the beach as her nature outlet.
After finding a shark tooth by accident when visiting and learning from a fellow beachcomber that the tooth was thousands of years old, Rice did some research and became interested in discovering other fossils along the shore.
Rice has a degree in wildlife and fishery conversation and has worked 10 years in the environmental education field, volunteering with AmeriCorp, working as an educator at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach and volunteering at the nature center at local state parks.
Longing for a new job and a way to work for herself, Rice launched Fossils Forever last fall.
“This had been a passion project in my head for a long time,” Rice said.
Rice offers fossil hunting tours along the beach between 50th Avenue and 82nd Avenue. Guests can register online for a time and Rice will scout out a location that best fits the group and provides the best opportunity for finding shark teeth and other treasures.
“I usually choose a 2-3 hour window around low tide,” Rice said. “More beach is exposed and there’s a better chance of seeing shells out there.”
Rice has given tours to homeschool groups and families and is open to “anyone who wants to learn.”
She also suggests shark tooth hunting as a playground play date alternative or a fun teambuilding outing for a small group of professionals.
Tours are limited to groups of 10 or less to allow Rice to work with every individual.
When Rice first began collecting shark teeth, she knew exactly how many she had and wouldn’t give them to anyone. After being approached by a child who was curious about what Rice was hunting for, she gave the boy a tooth from her pocket.
“I made this kid so happy,” she said.
That’s when she knew she wanted to help others experience this joy.
“It’s so fun,” Rice said. “You’re not on a computer. You’re not in a game. You’re literally out in nature and it’s exciting.”
All the fossils you will find on your adventure are authentic and native to the beach.
“We do not plant them out there,” Rice said.
While finding a fossil on your adventure is not guaranteed, “we haven’t had a time when people haven’t found one.”
In addition to shark teeth, you may find a fossilized shell or a stingray barb or grinding plate.
“Lately we’ve been finding a lot of sea biscuits,” Rice said. “They look like sand dollars but fatter.”
Rice will guide you to find your first shark tooth, but she said most hunters don’t need her help after a while.
“If I spot a shark tooth, I’ll make a giant circle around it. I do that with all ages. After a few circles, they don’t need a circle anymore,” she said. “You don’t want to point out every single one. It takes the fun out of it.”
Weather conditions constantly change, but Rice said shark tooth hunting is still fun on a colder day.
If conditions are not conducive to exploring, Rice will reschedule with groups for a nicer day.
In addition to sifting and digging with her guests, Rice shares educational information during her tours.
Whether it’s telling people why they need to stay off the dunes, sharing the importance of recycling or reminding kids to cover the holes they dig so sea turtles don’t fall in, Rice loves sharing her knowledge.
“It’s something so simple and they didn’t know that’s one thing they can do to protect the ocean,” Rice said. “I think people can see that I’m really passionate. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
To learn more about Fossils Forever and to book a tour, visit www.fossilsforever.com and follow Fossils Forever on Instagram and Facebook.