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Category: Events

Fossil Fair @ Swan Lake: March 23 & 24 – debrief

Now fossil fair 2024 is in the rearview mirror, here are some words from our president about the event:

The VicPS annual Fossil Fair at Swan Lake was March 23rd-24th. About 250 people attended, down almost half from some previous years, but enthusiasm and interaction were up, and more than 100 kids participated in the annual scavenger hunt to find specimens in the collection. The National Geographic Fossil Dig/ID kits were a big hit among this year’s winners, as was the ‘Happy Little Dinosaur’ board game.  … New this year was a poster about the Nigel House vertebrate fossils found near Swan Lake. A shout-out to Edward Davies for sharing dozens of high-resolution slides and photos from which we were able to put together a poster. Fossil ID is always a favourite among volunteers and this year IDs offered a few very exciting moments. We had the highest number of fossils brought to Fossil Fair for identification in recent memory.  A few notable specimens:

  1. Mt. Tzouhalem, Duncan – Hexanchid shark teeth, several Glyptoxoceras specimens with helix intact, and what appears to be a cross-section of a coral (button, hexacoral—still seeking verification)​. …
  2. Gulf Islands – A brachiopod from Russell Island. We don’t get many specimens brought in from the Islands (other than Hornby and Saltspring), so this was interesting.
  3. Bone material, Northern BC – What appears to be marine reptile. As is often the case, the exact location of the discovery is unclear, as this was found some time ago by a family member of the person who brought it in for identification. The family is trying to establish providence.

We brought the RBCM and GSC into the conversation to assist with identification. Those conversations are ongoing. 

This year, the RBCM and Fossil Management Office were unable to participate in Fossil Fair due to other commitments, and a few other usual volunteers were unable to attend. VicPS member Kalene (who works at DinoLab) offered up a few volunteers, plus an Elasmosaurus paddle (full scale) model (thanks, Kalene!). DinoLab’s Kirsten had the kids doing Elasmosaurus ‘high-fives’ and it was a great opportunity to showcase the new provincial fossil and hand out lapel buttons provided by the Fossil Mangement Office (thank you, Elisabeth and Genivieve for the buttons!). Serendipitously, the DinoLab preparator who volunteered on Sunday (Jake) was the only Fossil Fair volunteer experienced in working with bone, and in particular marine reptile specimens, and recognized the specimen brought in for identification as likely marine reptile. His hunch was later supported by vertebrate experts in our network. As is our usual way of working, VicPS members came together in the week before the event to ensure lots of volunteers were on hand when the event weekend arrived.  Thanks to John, Carol, Caleb, Justin and Thor for participating.  …

APS Paleo Symposium 2024: Macrh 16, 9 am MDT/8 am PDT

The Alberta Paleontological Society’s Paleo Symposium takes place Saturday, March 16 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm MDT ( 8:00 am to 3:30 pm PDT) at Mount Royal University.

Please view the Paleo 2024 Flyer that briefly describes the symposium, and forward this flyer to people who might be interested in attending.  The event is open to the general public.

Please make note of the Paleo 2024 Speaker schedule, below, and note that times are all Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

The Paleo Circular provides more comprehensive information about Paleo 2024 including posters and general information

APS Sponsorship:

Monthly meetings and presentations are co-sponsored by the Alberta Palaeontological Society, Mount Royal University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the Canadian Energy Geoscience Association’s Paleontology Division.


Lectures will be presented nearby in the Jenkins Theatre, located in F Wing and accessible from Main Street through a hallway next to Cougars Campus Store.

Poster displays will be presented in Main Street, the main hallway on Level 1 of the Main Building outside the Cougars Campus Store. Campus maps are available on the MRU website at

Visitor rates and parking maps are available on the MRU website at This map also includes locations of food services on page 2 and vendor hours can be found at


You can join the lectures at 9 am MDT (8 am PDT)on Saturday, March 16, 2024 either:

  1. a)  in person at Mount Royal University, Main Building, Jenkins Theatre
  2. b)  via Zoom, using this link:

Mona Trick is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Paleo 2024
Time: Mar 16, 2024 08:30 AM MDT (07:30 AM PDT) Edmonton

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 6721 2909
Passcode: 059437

New VicPS Calendar

Our website now has a page that shows the Google calendar for the account that our president generally uses to communicate by email with members. All those events that we’re being notifed about can be found listed there. Note that field trips will continue to lack info about where we’re going; look to your email for those details as the field trip date approaches.

From the top level menu, Events->Calendar of Events should get you to

VicPS AGM: Feb 7, 2024

Please make plans to attend our annual general meeting (AGM), at which time paid members can elect the next board of directors.

What: Annual General Meeting
When: Wednesday, Feb 7, 2024, time TBD once Zoom meeting is booked
Where: Virtual Meeting via Zoom


Long serving member and volunteer Scott MacPhail would like to take a well-earned break from the role of Treasurer. We are looking for nominations for this role. The work of our Treasurer involves:

  • Accepting/depositing annual member dues
  • Maintaining the membership list
  • Providing an update of accounts at quarterly board meetings
  • Submitting annual paperwork as required for registered societies

If you are interested to apply your administrative skills, or learning some new ones, please put your name forward. Experience is not necessary, as Scott will guide you and continue to be available for advice.


Part of the VicPS $30 annual dues go to the BCPA for services like the newsletter and maintaining the BCPA website. It’s important for us all to pay our annual dues for 2024 by January 31st so that Scott may cut a cheque to the BCPA in advance of its AGM later in February.  Please renew your annual dues by January 31st at the latest by:

e-transfer to Scott MacPhail at or by mailing a cheque to:

Victoria Palaeontology Society
1504 Shorncliffe Road
Victoria, BC Canada
V8P 2T4

Fall 2023: Recent and Upcoming Activities

Paid VicPS members wll have received an email with the following information, and more detal about upcoming planned field trips.

Sept 10th Fieldtrip, Cowichan Head, Saanich

We had beautiful weather this past weekend putting our eyes to work for the RBCM to supplement the Cowichan Head Pleistocene collection with some new material that has eroded from the bluffs over the past season (see photos on the VicPS Facebook page). Dr. Richard Hebda gave us an overview (and for some, a refresher) of the relative ages of each strata, and where the marine became deltaic, etc. up through time. He pointed out the various ‘zones’ along the beach where macrofossils, plant material and marine fossils are likely to be collected, and reminded us that, in the macrofossil zone, look for bright white (bone) and black (tooth material). We did not find more fish (like the beautiful specimen posted to Nanaimo Group Fossils Facebook page last month, and in short order delivered to the RBCM), but we did find what Dr. Hebda identified as fish coprolite. Derek left with a heavier pack containing a handful of plant specimens, a feeding trace and a few tiny bone bits, and we all took away a wealth of information about the history of the bluffs and what current interpretations reveal about environmental change here on the Peninsula over that past 100,000+ years.  A big shout out to newest member, Logan, for scoring the BEST find of the day…a small piece of wood perfect for carbon-dating.  Logan, we’ll make sure you hear what the research on your discovery reveals!

October 15th Fieldtrip

This is the date for our next planned field trip. Details to follow once confirmed. Also, look for an announcement on a joint field trip of VicPS and VIPS to make up for one that was cancelled last year.

September 20th Meeting IN PERSON!

We begin our fall meetings with an IN-PERSON MEET & GREET and SHOW & TELL! We have not had a show and tell since COVID began in 2020, so please bring AS MUCH MATERIAL AS YOU CAN and let’s see what we can identify. Details of time and place to follow. Finding a room we can afford has been a challenge and your Council are checking out a few.  If anyone is aware of a room big enough for 15-20, Internet enabled, please advise.

We will also hold a VicPS Director’s meeting on September 20th, after which we will hold a Symposium wrap-up meeting (date pending) and report out on the Symposium outcomes, including financials.

October 21st, BCPA AGM

The BCPA will hold its AGM in October. We will share the insights we get into what’s happening across BC with you after the meeting.

Welcome back from summer, and please watch for further emails with details on the planned activities above.

14th BC Paleontological Symposium 2023

June 9-12, 2023
Bob Wright Centre, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

On the traditional territory of the lək̓wəŋən peoples, the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

Enjoy 2 keynote speakers, 15 presentations, 4 posters, 3 tours, 2 workshops and unlimited opportunities to network. Details here: 14th British Columbia Paleontological Symposium 2023


You have a few more days. $145 CDN, $95.00 for students. 14th BC Paleontological Symposium Registration, Fri, 9 Jun 2023 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite


Check to make sure you registered for ALL activities (tours, workshops, fieldtrips). 14th BC Paleontological Symposium Registration, Fri, 9 Jun 2023 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite

All registrants will receive a detailed itinerary following close of registration.


Visit our website Victoria Palaeontology Society | We dig deep (
For specific inquiries email or contact Jerri Wilkins at 250-812-3970.
Follow us on Facebook Victoria Palaeontology Society | Facebook

Symposium workshop: “Sutures, Septas and Siphuncles:  Identifying Ammonites with Ease”

As the 14th BC Paleontological Symposium approaches, our planned activities are being better defined, as this workshop on identifying ammonites in BC shows:

If you want to know your Bostrychoceras from your Glyptoxoceras, this workshop’s for you! Ammonites are the most abundant fossil cephalopods on the planet. With over 1,500 recorded genera and 10,000 species, identification can be daunting. In this 2-hour, hand-on workshop, BCPA Chair Dan Bowen will share tips and tricks for ammonite identification including basic terminology, morphology and key diagnostic characteristics as they relate to the most common ammonites found in BC. Test your new-found skills on workshop specimens, or bring your own specimens for practice.

VicPS Monthly Meeting: March 8, 7:30 pm

Please join us March 8, 7:30PM at our regularly scheduled monthly meeting for an update on the following:

FOSSIL FAIR – TENTATIVELY Sat., March 25, 2023

Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary recently confirmed they do want to partner with us on the Fossil Fair this year on Saturday, March 25th.  That’s only a few weeks away!  Our ability to respond depends upon our volunteer capacity.  If you’re available that weekend, please consider volunteering.  VicPS President Jerri Wilkins will briefly review what’s involved so that VicPS as a group can decide if we have the capacity to proceed.


Usually there is no March field trip due to efforts focused on the annual Fossil Fair.  If the Fossil Fair doesn’t go forward, we’ll plan a field trip. 


Registrations and Abstracts are coming in and the Symposium is on track to be a fulsome four-day event. VicPS President Jerri Wilkins will present a behind-the-scenes peek into how the event is shaping up and will play out. This is primarily for members who are not involved in planning, to see what the planning team’s been up to, and where your talents will be needed as we get closer to June.

All paid VicPS members will have received details as to how to connect to and participate in this virtual meeting. Please contact Jerri Wilkins at our vicpalaeo gmail address for these same details, if needed.