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Tag: fossil fair

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.  …

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.

VicPS Fossil Fair in the news

News coverage of the succesful Fossil Fair held by VicPS at Swan Lake can be found at the Saanich News website here. Congrats to all the volunteers and VicPS members who contributed their time and effort to this educational and fun event!

Image, caption courtesy of Saanich News

Our local Times-Colonist carried advance notice of the event, and followed up after the event with a photo of VicPS member and fossil expert Tom Cockburn at the Fossil Fair.

Fossil Fair reminder: March 26, Swan Lake Nature House

Fossil Fair 2020 latest victim of COVID-19

In keeping with the BC government’s COVID-19 directive of no events in the province with over 250 people, our 24th fossil fair is being cancelled, or possibly postponed, until later notice.   

Swan Lake is in the process of posting notices in the Nature House, and updating their website and Facebook page.  Given the BC government’s province-wide directive, there was really no choice in this matter.  We will try to re-schedule at a later date if the situation changes for the positive.

Fossil Fair March 23-24

Key things to know about the 23rd Fossil Fair:

For all you school age palaeontologists out there, the Fossil Fair will occur during your Spring Break.

The Fossil Fair will display a rich and diverse variety of ancient fossil animals and plants from the Cambrian (550 million years ago) to the end of the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago). Fossils will be displayed from Vancouver Island, other parts of British Columbia and other areas. The fossils include dinosaur bones, ammonites, trilobites, corals, mollusks, insects, giant palm leaves and microscopic fossils.

Of interest will be a display of 42 million year old fossil snails from the Crescent Terraine which are partially crystalized. Information will also be available on the results of voting for a provincial fossil recently released by the provincial government.

The display cases and story boards from the VicPS Educational Kit which is used by the society in presentations to school groups, youth camps and other organizations will also be displayed. This will be of interest to school teachers and other educators.

The Fossil Fair is an educational experience for all age groups. The public is invited to bring in fossils for identification. Specific activities for children include a fossil scavenger hunt with prizes, fossil colouring, rubbings stampings, and looking through microscopes.

The Victoria Palaeontology Society cooperates with professional palaeontologists undertaking research on fossils collected by Society members. Information will be provided on some of the scientific contributions made by members, including the discovery and naming of new species. All scientifically important fossils are donated to the Royal British Columbia Museum.

The Society is a member of the British Columbia Paleontological Alliance, an umbrella organization representing the interests of a number of paleontological organizations in the province.

Admission is by donation.

23rd Fossil Fair, March 23-24

Key things to know about the 23rd Fossil Fair:

  • takes place March 23-24, 2019
  • at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, 3873 Swan Lake Road, Victoria
  • from 10 am to 3 pm each day
  • admission by donation.

For all you school age palaeontologists out there, the Fossil Fair will occur during your Spring Break.