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February 20 field trip

When: Sunday, February 20, 2022

Travel: 9am, meet at Helmcken Park & Ride. Arrive at Java World in Duncan by 10am to meet participants from the Duncan area, then proceed to our destination. Return to Park & Ride between 3-4 pm. Return times are approximate, subject to Malahat traffic.

Exposure: Paid VicPS members will have received details in their email as to where we’re headed and what fossil specimens to expect.

Equipment: A good hammer, chisel, and protective eyewear are recommended, as is a glue/water solution to stabilize fragile pieces and newsprint or paper towel for wrapping. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for all weather (rain, wind) and bring drinking water and snacks.

RSVP: Jerri Wilkins, Field Trip Lead, via the via the VicPS Facebook page or via email.

VicPS meeting Wednesday Feb. 9, 7:30 pm

Please join VicPS at our monthly meeting on February 9th at 7:30pm for the following:

The Cretaceous Nanaimo Group, B.C.: A Complicated Depositional History on an Active Margin, presented by Shahin E. Dashtgard, Applied Research in Ichnology and Sedimentology (ARISE) Group, Dpt. of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada.

This presentation is open to all BC Palaeontology Society Members and guests. The meeting will be recorded for future reference. Paid members of VicPS and BCPS will have received the Zoom meeting connection details by email.

To request the Zoom details again, please contact VicPS President Jerri Wilkins.

VicPS AGM and Guest Speaker: Feb 1, 2022

Time edited to be 7:30 pm. Sorry for the late update!

We have changed our Annual General Meeting date this year. Why? As a member of VicPS, attend this next AGM and perhaps you’ll learn why!

What: Annual General Meeting
When: Tuesday, Feb 1, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Where: Virtual Meeting via Zoom

The AGM will follow a presentation by guest speaker Kristina Barclay, Banting
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biology and Anthropology, University of Victoria: Ghosts of Crabs Past: Using Palaeontological Tools to Understand the Health of Crabs and Their Shelled Prey.



    1. Meeting Called to Order
    2. Welcome Members and Guests
    3. Review/Approve minutes of previous AGM
    4. Report from the Chair (2021 Summary) – Jerri Wilkins
      •  Presentations/Activities
      •  Notable Board Decisions
  1. Treasurer’s Report – Scott MacPhail (submit to file)
  2. Field Trip Report – Jerri Wilkins (submit to file)
  3. VicPS Collections/Loans Report – Jerri Wilkins (submit to file)
  4. Election of Officers
    Current Officers:
    1. Chair – Jerri Wilkins
    2. Vice Chair– Tom Cockburn
    3. Secretary – Carol Barbon
    4. Treasurer – Scott MacPhail
    5. Director-at- Large (+website/social media) – Tom Celuszak
  5. New Business:
    1. Fossil Fair 2022
    2. Future Symposium
  6. Meeting Adjournment

VicPS members may look to their email for the Zoom meeting connection details.

January 23 field trip

Change of plan. The roads in the woods are apparently quite wet, so in the interest of safety and actually reaching our destination, we’re moving to plan B. Boomerang Lake will wait for us.

Annual membership renewal for 2022 is this month; dues must be paid up to attend fieldtrips. Please see the membership page for methods of payment.

Field Trip – Mt. Tzouhalem

When: Sunday, January 23, 2022

Travel: 9 am, meet at Helmcken Park & Ride. Arrive at Java World in Duncan by 10 am to meet participants from the Duncan area, then proceed to the mountain. Return to Park & Ride between 3 – 4 pm. Field trip and return times are approximate, subject to Malahat access and return traffic, which can be unpredictable.

Exposure: Mount Tzouhalem is a high point of land that overlooks Cowichan Bay. Much of the mountain is forested, and some of it is protected by an ecological reserve, but the northern side of the mountain, originally intended as a golf course, is slowly being developed into single family homes. High on the mountain, in undeveloped areas, fossils are found in the rock and in concretions; hiking steep inclines is required. Where subdivision construction is in progress, lower down, fossils can be collected on newly excavated flat lots and in debris piles beside newly paved streets with ample parking. The matrix is black shale, ranging from very hard to extremely friable. Preservation of shell is typically black in colour. Fossils at this locality are characteristic of the older part of the Haslam, including the typical ammonites (Haeuriceras, Eupachydiscus, and the heteromorphs Eubostrychoceras and Glyptoxoceras). A wide variety of clams and snails can also be found. Along with the more standard fare, the exposures here have yielded some rarities, such as the crinoids Uintacrinus and the spiny ammonite Urakawites, which are unknown from most other Haslam localities. In 2021 an impression of Pseudoxybeleceras was collected, which is pending donation to the Royal BC Museum. Plant material is common in some areas, mainly Metasequoia (dawn redwood); a well-preserved flowering cone collected at the site by a VicPS member, also donated to the RBCM.

Equipment: A good hammer, chisel, and protective eyewear are recommended, as is a glue/water solution to stabilize fragile pieces and newsprint or paper towel for wrapping. Masking tape is useful to secure a wrapped specimen and to accept a description of where and when it was found. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for all weather (rain, wind) and bring drinking water and snacks.

RSVP: Jerri Wilkins, Field Trip Lead, via the VicPS Facebook page or via email at

VicPS meeting Wednesday, January 12, 7 pm

Our first meeting of 2022 is PARTICIPATORY!!.

The evening will be structured around a photo tour of the 2021 field trip season, emphasizing specimens collected.  We’ll tap into our collective knowledge to understand the sites and fossils found.

To participate:

  1. Review the list below of sites/formations visited in 2021,
  2. Dive into your collection and select a few corresponding fossils (many of you have visited these sites/formations over the years!),
  3. Accept the Zoom meeting notice sent to paid VicPS members, and
  4. Show upshare the specimens and knowledge you’ve collected over the years, and help identify specimens.

Field Trip participants, please have your specimens on hand for show and tell.

List of VicPS 2021 Field Trip Locales:

  • Muir Creek – Sooke Formation
  • Northwest Bay – Pender (?) Formation
  • Chemainus River – Haslam Formation
  • Stephenson’s Point – Comox Formation
  • Ladysmith – Thicke Road area (Upper Comox (?), Lower Haslam (?)

See you Wednesday at the Zoom meeting!

Dino Lab tour Nov 21

As an alternative to our cancelled field trip of Nov 21, VicPS President Jerri Wilkins has had Dino Lab offer to give VicPS members a tour at 4 PM tomorrow, Sunday Nov. 21, for $32 a person. That price is a 20% discount from their standard entrance fee. We can take up to 10 people.

Anyone who wants to go will need to pay their own fee and RSVP Jerri in advance by email.

Dino Lab contact details are:

2 – 491 Dupplin Rd
Victoria BC 

ph: 778-966-3466

CANCELLED: November 21 field trip

The planned November 21 field trip is cancelled, or possibly postponed to another date. Malahat traffic is presently one-way alternating, 24/7, and is intended for essential travel.

Instead, we are planning a VicPS tour of local fossils, for members only, with details to be announced. Stay safe, and stay tuned!

DriveBC Malahat closure
Image courtesy of Drive BC

VanPS meeting invite for November 17, Wednesday at 7 pm

The next VanPS meeting/presentation will be on November 17 (Wednesday) at 7 pm, and Perry Poon of VanPS has graciously invited us to attend. VicPS members will find virtual meeting details in an email on this topic.

Guy Santucci will present – “A Brief History of the Fort Steele/Rifle Range Early Cambrian Trilobite Site”.

An abstract of the presentation:

The renowned “Rifle Range” early Cambrian site, despite its Burgess shale type fauna in Cranbrook, B.C. has long been overlooked until recently.  Early studies were fragmentary and superficial.  However, it does have a colourful history.  A number of characters along with numerous newspaper articles over the years add to the mystique, confusion, and attraction to the site.  The deposition and assemblage of fossils date to 513 million years old making it at minimum 5 million years older than the Burgess shale, hence a definitely long enough span for evolutionary change.  As well it is one of the oldest articulated fossil sites in North America.  These factors prompted Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron of the Royal Ontario Museum to conduct a long overdue study in 2015.  A total of 1500 specimens were collected in roughly 7 days work, revealing some new species and better understanding of the site.

Early Cambrian trilobite from Fort Steele/Rifle Range