Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Busy Bees

Over the past couple of weeks, volunteers and staff have been extremely busy with the Collection's Room, tidying and reorganizing.

Major accomplishments include:

- relocation and storage of artefacts
- construction of new shelves for field jackets
- reorganization of the photo lab into a research lab
- inventory and shelving of field supplies

The space is now more functional and appropriate for researchers and staff. Three new work areas have been created for lab technicians and official preparation work on Betsy, our recently discovered plesiosaur has begun as a result.


Keep up the good work everyone and many thanks to all those who have helped with this project.

Season Wrap Up

We've had a very exciting summer season in 2007. Summer students warmed us with their presence, many visitors came to view the collection and we had the privilege of having 4 exchange students from the Canada World Youth program assist with many projects. But as winter is approaching the museum has become quiet without the students to banter with. In the next month or two we'll begin the process all over again in hopes of having another successful summer season in 2008.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Our last day!!!

Hey everyone (Paul) its Adam again, and for the last time.

Today is our (Me, Mey, Nahla, and Pierre) last day working at the musuem and we have had an amazing time! We have all learned tons and had a truly unique experience.

Personally, I feel almost like an expert on the topic of marine reptiles and the museum has really become a second home to me here! Its been sad saying bye to everyone and I (as well as the rest of the group) will miss everybody dearly and wish everyone at the museum the best of luck and I will definitely hope to visit sometime in the future.

We are all leaving for Indonesia on Dec. 8 but before than we will be giving a final culture show on Dec. 3 which we hope to see everyone at! Anyways on behalf of all of us here at the museum and all of the Canada World Youth group, thank you we have had a wonderful time in Morden.

-Adam, Mey, Nahla, and Pierre

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Halo...!

Hi, It's me Nahla. It's my turn now to write this blog and share our experience and story here in Morden District Museum or Canadian Fossil Discovery Center. It's like the best work placement ever during this youth program! The place that we learn about something new which is totally enrich our life experience. Learning how to dig fossils, make field jacket, doing some project about children's tour, making the 'Shark Attacks' as new exhibition, clean the museum are the best moments of our here for the last two months.


Anyway, next Friday on November 23rd is gonna be the last day of us to volunteering here. I personally really sad because I don't wanna leave this place. We have a lot of fun here that we can't find in another place. We had the chance to make a replica fossils like mosasaur's tooth and dinosaur's baby as our souvenir. I feel very lucky to be involved in all the activity here in museum.

We are also have to finished another projects like database and building exhibition. Hopefully we can finish all of that stuff before November 23rd.

Okay, that's all for now. Hope you guys have good day.

Cheers,
Nahla

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Great Museum!


Hai...hai....it's me Mey. On Saturday October 27th , there was pumpkin carving here at the Museum. Everybody brought their own pumpkins and we carved them together. It was so.... much fun! In Indonesia we don't celebrate Halloween and so I have never done pumpkin carving, or trick or treating. Last week we went out to the field and Nahla and I helped Dave and Paul dig out and make a field jacket, which was fun.

Tuesday October 30th , a school group came to visit the museum. They are from Hutterite Colony. We entertained the children, played games with them and helped them do the dino hunt around the museum. Then in the afternoon we moved a whole bunch of stuff around the collection room and Adam was very tired. We finished the day by cleaning up the museum.

Today Yvonne taught us how to make necklaces and they turned out very beautiful. Paul gave us keychains that are very nice, thank you Paul & Yvonne! We also helped Yvonnne straighten out the stock of the gift shop. Anyway, we do enjoy our day here as volunteer!

That's all for now.
Big hug,
Mey

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hey !


Hi everyone, it's Pierre-Luc....So first, here's a picture of us, the students here in the museum. I think it's time for you to know how we look... So.. Yesterday, we went to the field with some other volunteers and bring the field jackets to the museum before winter. It was a very nice day and the temperature was perfect ! A warm day with some persons that we like doing a job that we love ! Perfect ! -

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Whats up



Hello all, its Adam again and Anita has just returned from an awesome trip to Texas and we missed her tons while she was gone, however shes back in action.

First off i am going to dedicate this blog entry to Paul (one of the several dedicated volunteers the museum has). Thanks to Paul, I know at least one person is reading these blogs and so their not a complete waste! Jokes but seriously thanks to Paul, Linda, Dave and Laura and all the rest of the volunteers we have not yet met.

So we have been here for over a month now and have accomplished so much! With the help of Anita we completed the new exhibit of the shark attack in the museum and it looks fantastic if i do say so myself. We got the museum ready for Halloween and put up some awesome decorations, revamped the Aggasiz room and have kept the museum...basically spotless. We have also gone on several, in my opinion, very successful trips to the field and got experience making field jackets.

Personally I am still having a very fun time here (and in Morden) and have not been homesick yet. Anyways for people in the Morden area who are interested in our Canada World Youth group, we will be having a culture show (a bunch of performances, dances, songs, etc.) on Dec. 3 right before we leave and we would love to see YOU there.

VISIT THE MUSEUM

-Adam H to the G

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hi all,

I'm Nahla, one of the participant of Canada World Youth Program 2007-2008 from Indonesia. I've been volunteer here in Canadian Fossil Discovery Center for about a month. Just like three of my friends, Pierre, Adam and Mey, I really do enjoy my time here. Learning something new like fossil, exactly make me feel better. In the same time it is giving me more experience in doing something different that I never thought it before.

Well, on monday Oct 1st, me and the whole group came to visit the museum. Our Project Supervisor, Leslie and Yecin also came. After that, Anita (The Paleontologyst of The Year, hehe... that's what we call her) gave us a tour for about 3o minutes. Everybody looks very happy. I think because they can see Bruce, The King of The Museum. ^_^. At 1.30 there is a break for moslem to pray. After that all of us went to the field. That was a great time. Everybody really interest to find fossil. And yeah, we can find some.

On tuesday, me, Pierre, Mey and Anita went to Winnipeg to set some stuff for the exhibition. Unfortunately, Adam can't join with us because he was sick. But we can do our job very well. After that we went to the University and Winnipeg. Finally back home at 3.30 pm. That was really fun. Thanks Anita for invite us to join with you...

Anyway, that's all for now. And at the end, I just wanna say that being volunteer here exactly make me interest to being a Paleontologyst. Hopefully...

Best regards,
Nahla

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hello friends!

Hello, I'm Merlyanda Puspa Indah (Mey) and i am from Bangka Belitung Island, Indonesia.

I'm one of the participants in the Indonesia-Canada World Youth Program. I have been in Canada for almost a month and i really like it! Canada is beautiful country and I have never seen snow before and i am very excited! I like Morden a lot becasuse Morden is a cool town and the people here are very friendly. I also really like all the flowers that are all over town.

Like Adam and Pierre, and Nahla who you will be hearing from soon, I am also a volunteer at the Morden Fossil museum. I like the museum because I enjoy the fossils, and i am learning many new skills at the musuem. I'm learning alot about the Mosasaurus and the other creatures that lived with it. We have done many activities at the museum such as making baby dinosaurs from plaster, cleaning the museum together, and have even begun to make a new display for the museum. We cut some pieces of styrafoam, sprey painted it, and then we glue sand on to it. It is goimg to look very cool! We also have gone out looking for fossils and we will do this every thursday.

I am trying my best to learn English so i will write a new blog soon, and maybe even without help! haha See you soon!

-Love Mey

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Canada World Youth: day 2

Hi ! I'm Pierre-Luc from the CWY program. I'm working at the museum with Nahla, Mey and Adam. Today on our second day at the Fossil museum, we went, Adam and I, outside to find some fossils or bones. It was very nice ! The weather wasn't, but it was interesting. We found a fossil of a bird and try to find the missing parts of it. We were so exited to find something ! It was a very nice day ! I'm sure I will enjoy my time here, at the Canadian Fossils Discovery Center witch I thanks a lot for the welcoming they have !

Pierre-Luc Lefrancois, Quebec, QC

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Canada World Youth!

Hello! My name is Adam Helfand-Green and today was my first day of volunteering here at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, Manitoba.

Personally, I am from Toronto and what you may ask is a Torontonian doing way out here? Me, along with 8 other Canadians from all over the country, and 9 Indonesians are here as part of the Canada World Youth Program (or the Indonesian-Canadian Youth Exchange Program). Each one of us has been paired with a counterpart from the other country and are living in pairs in different host families around the community.

We arrived here in Manitoba two weeks ago and spent the first week at an orientation camp which is where we first met the Indonesian partcipants and found out who our counterparts were. We all moved into Morden and our host families' homes on the friday evening and since then we've spent a lot of time getting oriented within the community, learning to deal with cross-cultural experiences, and teamwork. The program is split into two phases, the first is a Canadian phase, in which we will be living and volunteering in Morden for three monthes or so. Then on Dec. 8, the entire group will fly to Indonesia where we will be staying in a town on Sulewesi Island called Dumbaya Bulan and once again volunteer in different jobs and live with host families for another three and a half monthes. An important part of this program is the work placements that we are placed in. Here in Morden they range from the Friendship Centre (Working with the elderly) to working at the Morden Art Gallery.

I must admit that when i first heard that i was going to be working in a fossil musuem for three monthes i was a little bit dissapointed. I used to be really big into fossils as a kid, mostly becuase my Dad was obsessed with them, but I THOUGHT I had outgrown them. We arrived today and i really didn't know what to expect. Canada World Youth tends to be pretty unorganized and we (There are three other partipants in the program working here with me, Pierre-Luc from Quebec, Nahla, and Mei) had no clue what to expect. Sadly the musuem has been somewhat tucked away in the basement of the community centre here, but once your inside the musuem you completely forget where you are. The museum is very nice, clean and well-kept, and of course, has some amazing fossils! As we were being given a tour of the museum and seeing the almost fully complete skeleton of Bruce, I remebered how amazing fossils and dinasours are and why I loved them so much as a kid. I also realized why there are people like Anita and Dave who devote their lives to studying and trying to understand what the world was like so many years ago. It is amazing enough to imagine just how different Manitoba, and the rest of the world looked 80,000,000 years ago, let alone the wonderful and spectacular creatures that inhabited the Earth during this time.

Although, I can't exactly speak for the rest of my counterparts, I think it is safe to say that we, so far, have been throughly impressed by the Museum and are all very excited for our time here. I know that personally I am really excited to be able to partipate in all of the Museum's activities and I really hope to learn as much as possible while I am here. Thanks for Listening!

-Adam Helfand-Green

Friday, August 31, 2007

Farewell!

Its August 31st and it has come to the time for me to say good bye!

If I has to use two words to describe my time here at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, it would be ADVENTURE and FUN! Please let me elaborate..

Adventure is the perfect word to describe my summer job. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of finding my own prehistoric lizard! My back pack would be crammed with books and books related to these gigantic beasts. Now, by working at the CFDC, I finally got to live out my childhood dream. For once the books about dinosaurs have now been replaced with fossil excursion supplies! Everyday I get to hike through beautiful vistas, explore new dig sites, and most importantly find fossils! Thank you Dave and Anita for giving me this opportunity.

Fun is the second word I would choose because this is exactly what I experienced! I owe this to the summer staff. I got to work with eight of the coolest people! Here are few words that only us fossil crew members will know:

The Cobra
Rubik's Cube
Slushie and Bike
Big Brother Updates
Wedding Updates
Anthropology
HESPERONIS
Food Critics

Also, the volunteers played a major role to the overall fun! They were great company. Each volunteer managed to put a smile on our faces. I would like to also say thank you to the volunteers for being my number one blogger fans! You guys have kept me motivated every week to keep making the blogs entertaining. And I am sorry Paul we couldn't find your plesiosaur!

There you have it! From reading my blogs you have seen my perspective on what working at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre was like. Thank you once agian to Anita, for letting me write these blogs every week!













I hope those of you who read my blogs can come down to the museum and experience these two words as well, fun and adventure!

-Kod a.k.a The Insider

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Corn and Apple

This week we've been doing some major cleaning for corn and apple... not for actual real corn and apples, but our annual Morden festival, Corn and Apple!

Corn and Apple festival is a time where the community celebrates Morden by running a three day fair. People from all over the place come to see the spectacle and for our free corn and apple cider. So all of this means that we're going to have LOTS of company!

We've been dusting every nook and cram, windexing every glass surface, and vacuuming every single dust particle. Also, we finally got the text panels for Bruce's room setup just in time for corn and apple. They look great! On the panels are cool pictures and a detail description of the two specimens that are in that room.

Including making the museum spick and span we prepared a gift shop downtown. The gift shop is located on Stephen street, next to John's Bakery. I had the privilege to design a window painting for the gift shop. I painted a huge elasmosaur that stretches its neck across the window and on the bottom of the window sill I painted corals and sea weed. So when your in line waiting for your cob, please check out my Di Vinci work!

But I better wrap up this blog, the museum opens in a few minutes, and I can already hear the corn and apple crowd coming!

-Kod

Monday, August 20, 2007

Manitoba-Montana Exchange Complete

The 2007 Manitoba-Montana Paleontological Student Exchange was a great success this year. A total of 5 participants in Manitoba and 6 in Montana ventured into the worlds of dinosaurs and marine reptiles.
To re-cap the exchange in Manitoba was a bit wet to say the least but they still managed to find mosasaur fossils. In Montana the weather was the complete opposite, very hot. We helped field jacket dinosaur bones and worked on a Triceratops.
Thanks to everyone who participated and made the exchange a success including, Destination Sports Outfitters, Manitoba Culutre Heritage & Tourism and DAP Plaster.

Photos of the exchange can be viewed at http://www.discoverfossils.com/ under the field research section.

Action movie!

Just like a ticking time bomb in a fast pace action movie, the fossil crew has 2 weeks left to find an elasmosaur! And like an intense action movie, the fossil crew braved the extreme heat and dangerous terrain last week to uncover ancient treasure! Okay, I am not proclaiming myself as Indiana Jones or anything, but last week was indeed action packed!

We karate chopped the start of the week with two paleo tours. The first paleo tour group found a mosasaur vertebrae, which is very well preserved. It is hard like a diamond and just as precious. The second group actually did collect diamonds! Pembina diamonds that is! Pembina diamonds are selenite rocks that grow naturally in the shale. Unfortunately, they aren't real diamonds, otherwise I would be a millionaire!

At the end of the week the fossil crew went back to the CFDC site with a volunteer, Dave Simpson, to work on the fish specimen. Dave is like the reinforcements the good guys send in a movie when the good guys need help. And help is exactly what Dave did. He helped us find two large fish vertebrae and something we haven't seen before at that dig site, a Hesperonis bone!! This find was the extra boost we needed. The fossil is about 5 cm long and in good condition. Who needs the wish list, when we have Dave? The fossil crew will continue to excavate in the area in hopes of finding more hesperonis bones!

So will this action packed movie have a happy ending? Will the fossil crew find a huge specimen before the summer is up? And will the recently recovered hesperonis bone lead to the very first complete hesperonis the museum has ever seen? Stay tuned to find out.

-Kod

Sunday, August 12, 2007

4 Simple Rules

There are several rituals and things you must do in order to have a successful excavation. The following is a list of 4 things I like to in order to find an amazing specimen:


1. Rub the Wish List
In our work area is a list of things we need to find. This step may sound funny, but rubbing the wish list is an absolute must before we search for the new Bruce. On this list the fossil crew has reserved a spot solely for rubbing and nothing else. By touching the list we hope to gain better luck and wisdom. So far it seems like we need to rub the list a little harder, we haven't brought an Elasmosaur home yet!




2. Think like a Mosasaur
This may seem even more peculiar than rubbing a list, but it served to be a very useful strategy. When your out at the dig site, there is vast amount of shale to look through, it's almost overwhelming to think where to begin. However, if you imagine your self as a scaly marine reptile with 3 sets of teeth, it improves your chances of finding a fossil. For example, by taping into the mind of a mosasaur you can imagine where he would have ate a plesiosaur and left the bones to fossilize. Stephanie and I like to say "If I were a mosasaur, where would I die?" Okay, I know its kinda far fetched, but at least I get to be a mosasaur for a day!



3. Pack Lots of Water

Packing lots of water is less of a ritual than it is as a survival tactic. Some days we will be out in the field for the entire day in the scorching heat. So it is very important to bring lots and lots of water. Staying hydrated is our number one motto.




4. Get Dirty
Here at the CFDC, we like to say, "if you didn't get dirty, then you didn't have fun!". You can't help but get dirty at the dig site. At the end of the day your usually covered head to toe in shale. The best part is when it gets on your face and you don't know about it. So next time if you see me, and it looks like I have a beard, its actually shale! Getting dirty is apart of the job. Once I worked on a fish specimen, and I got up and I realized I had been wallowing in a cow pie! Why do I always have to do the "dirty" work??



So there you have it folks, these are the 4 absolute must to do things before we search!

-Kod

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Busy week

Foremost, I apologize for the short length of this blog. I got into a bit of a biking accident, and it has limited my ability to write a lengthy blog! So kids, the next time your biking, always bike with two hands and remember that a slushie is not more important than your elbow! I kinda learned that the hard way.

Other than my fiasco with the bike, this has been a quiet but busy week. Corinne was gone all week, enjoying her wedding holiday! Congrats Corinne! So when she comes back, we will all have to call her Mrs. Bueckert now! Also, Anita has been gone all week too in Montana, taking part on the student exchange. By the sounds of the Montana blogs, it seems like shes been finding lots of fossils. With those two gone, it sure has been quiet in our museum. However, we had our hands full with programs.

This week we had several days doubled booked with paleo tours, and Ryan almost had Dino Day camps every single day of this week as well. Most of the paleo tour groups worked on the fish site at our new property. Lately there have been larger fossils surfacing next to the fish, right under a layer of jarosite. Those fossils are currently unidentifiable, but hopefully with the help of our summer program participants we will be able to find more fossils and identify it. Perhaps it's a Plesiosaur with an ammonite in its belly?

In the end, it was quite a busy and fun week. But we can't wait until Corinne and Anita gets back, and I can't wait until I can jump on my bike again!

-Kod

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Montana - Day 6

Our final day was a nice easy pace after the past couple of days. We began at the Triceratops site, but sadly did not find any new fossils to help complete the skeleton. Lots of pictures were taken and will be posted soon.

After a couple of hours we made our way to a new look out to view the K/T boundary. The boundary marker where the Cretaceous and the Tertiary meet, or the point where dinosaur fossils are not found above this level. Most research conducted on the K/T boundary is from this locality.

So after the hard week we put in we came back to base camp early, had a nice BBQ while relaxing before the big travel day back to Manitoba.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Montana - Day 5

WOW!!!!! What an eventful day! I'm not even sure where I should begin. We had a history lesson this morning visiting 3 quarries previously excavated 102 years ago by renowned paleontologist, Barnum Brown.

Out of the 3 quarries an original rock hammer was found now currently in the Garfield County Museum. The third quarry we visited is the type locality for Tyrannosaurus rex. It was neat to see the original pictures of them transporting the field jackets on horse drawn wagons and then to stand right there at the same spot.

We headed back to base camp for a short break until dinner. The evening ahead of us was going to be a challenge. The objective was to load the Torosaurus onto a flat bed from a 10 foot high bank where it was discovered.

I don't know where to begin. Wood was breaking, the jacket was sliding, the truck jumped its blocks and eventually the engine had flames twice. Needless to say we pulled together as an awesome crew and eventually winched the 800 pound jacket onto tires. At this point it was too dark and we couldn't strap it to bring it into town. That joyful task of unloading will be saved for another day.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Montana - Day 4

Back to the Triceratops site for some more. The day was off to a great start. Two of our participants located several new ribs going back into the wall. The interesting part was the ribs are located on a fault and we could see where they had shifted from.

A crocodile tooth was the highlight of the day for me. Its the closest thing to marine fossils here in Jordan, how could I not be excited. The tooth was only a centimetre in length but the preservation was very nice. That was the first fossil crocodile tooth I'd ever held in my hand.

The day was broken up by looking at some of the geology at North(Long) Point. The view was amazing and included the Fort Union Formation (Paleocene sandstone), the Hell Creek Formation (Cretaceous mudstone) and the Fox Hills Formation (Cretaceous sandstone). Lots of pictures of the trip have been taken and will be posted on the CFDC website http://www.discoverfossils.com/.

Today was one of the longer field days we've put in. We came in for a quick dinner and then headed back out to begin work on a Torosaurus we'll be bringing back to base camp tomorrow evening. We made a great start and should have it transported back by late evening.

Montana - Day 3

We were off to a great start this morning. The entire CFDC crew and a student from Scotland headed to the Triceratops site and began to plaster a field jacket of the skull. We reviewed the preliminaries and made a really good jacket. The jacket will be heading off to Philadelphia in the fall.

The afternoon was spent in the Garfield County Museum where we saw some marine reptile fossils from the Bear Paw Shale (the equivalent of the Pierre Shale in Morden) and of course lots of Triceratops material.

The evening was spent visiting the Hell Creek Bar, where scenes from Jurassic Park III were shot. It was amazing knowing so many paleontologists have visited this exact bar and sat where we were sitting.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Montana - Day 2

Things were off to a great start this morning. The weather was nice and cool with a great breeze. You could barely feel the heat. However it did reach 42 C and we were a bit tuckered towards the end of the day.


We began prospecting at a different site, just west of the one yesterday and within minutes our rookie participant discovered the remains of a soft shelled turtle. " I just thought it looked interesting by its texture but never thought it would be something" remarked Jennifer Cassils after excavating through hard siltstone.

After much deliberation, it's suggested that the turtle belongs to the genus Trionyx from the Hell Creek Formation, approximately 65 million years old.

Our paleo student, Chris West worked on his very first field jacket today. He helped the group to jacket a frill from a Triceratops. Way to go!

I don't know what we'll be doing tomorrow but I'm sure it'll be exciting.

The Heat Is On

The forecast calls for heat, heat, and more heat! Yes, it is true, the fossil crew braved the extreme hot weather last week. Every single day of the blazing heat wave, the fossil crew was in search for fossils.

Last week, monday, was a one day excursion. Thankfully, Evan took time the night before to haul a 200 pound battery and solar panel up to our dig site. This allowed us to hook up an electrical fan and provide little refuge from the 40 plus weather. Despite the heat, the group left with a smile and had a great time!

The next day, tuesday, was a paleo tour. This time I was responsible for taking the group out. At first I was skeptical about the 33 plus weather, with 100% humidity, making it feel well over 40. But we made the best of it. No, we didn't cook eggs on the sidewalk, instead the group opted for a tour of the Manitoban escarpment. So I showed them Spencer's ditch and Mt.Nebo, and we even managed to fit a little bit of digging time. So far 2 points for the CDFC and 0 points for the heat!

Last wednesday was recorded to be one of the hottest days in manitoba, with the humidity making it feel 50 plus! Again, this did not stop the fossil crew. But more accurately put, this did not stop Dave Lumgair. Dave Lumgair is the person who discovered Bruce on his farm yard in 1974. He is now retired and still invites the CFDC to his property to find more fossils. So this is what we did, we went to his farm to try to find a new mosasaur. Instead we found the brink of heat exhaustion! As we were panting, faces red, and trying to climb up the hills, there was Dave, with a smile as he effortlessly hiked up all the hills. I couldn't not believe it! Dave appeared like he was not affected at all by the heat. At the end of the day, as we were all hanging by a thread, Dave was still enthusiastic, ready to explore more of his farm! It was incredible to see how much endurance he has!

At the end of wednesday, it finally rained. The rain replenished the land as it also replenished our spirits. This week really showed our resilience and our dedication to our field work. So whether its rain, shine, or heat wave, we'll be out there looking for fossils!

-Kod

Monday, July 30, 2007

Student Exchange - Part II

We began the second part to the Manitoba-Montana Paleontological Student Exchange yesterday July 29. Participants from Manitoba traveled to Jordan, Montana. I'm glad to say we arrived safely!

Things are extremely hot!!! It was our first day out in the field and the temperatures reached 44 C. At least its a dry heat and we survived. The day began with field jacketing a lower jaw and beak from a Triceratops. Everything flipped safely.

Tomorrow we're off to a new site to jacket a larger ceratopsian (horned dinosaur) and to begin prospecting for that ankylosaur I promised their curator I would find!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Luck be a FOSSIL tonight!

For the last few days, there has been a dry spell of fossils. Until wednesday, July 22, the "fossils gods" smiled upon me.

A day before the luckiest day of my life, Anita, Yvonne, Conor, and I went surface collecting on our new property. As we were searching, Anita told us how Joe Brown, a volunteer, was walking along the shale and randomly found a shark tooth! Shark backbones are very rare to find, let alone a shark tooth! However, Joe Brown is one lucky guy, he's the same guy that found Betsy and Monty! He makes it look so effortless too. With that story in mind, we were all determined to find our very own tooth.

As I was walking along the shale, thinking "where would Joe Brown look?", I hear Anita yell "I FOUND A FOOOSSSILLL!!". We all quickly ran to see what she found. Sure enough she found a tooth! It was a mosasaur tooth, with a high degree of preservation. But it was not just any other mosasaur tooth, it was a pteragoid tooth. Pteragoid teeth are teeth that run along the roof of a mosasaurs mouth. Man, Anita sure has talent! But was this the end of my luck? Would I ever find my own tooth too?

The next day July 22, Evan, Stephanie, Daesha, and I went back to the dig site to look for more fossils. More determined than ever, I said to Stephanie before we started to look, "I am going to find me a shark tooth!". So we began. First ten minutes, nothing. We walked, and walked. Then, something caught my eye. It was small, had a pointed end, and looked like a tooth! I called, "EVVANNN". He came running over and YES it was a tooth! I was so elated! Then, 2 minutes later I found a small SHARK backbone. About 30 seconds after that one, I found another tooth. But this time, the tooth was a SHARK TOOTH!! Finally, my very first shark tooth! In the end, I found 4 teeth and a shark backbone within ten minutes! That was the most luck I ever had in my entire life! I felt so lucky, I actually bought a lottery ticket that day. I am going to keep my fingers crossed!

Also, this week we were lucky enough to receive a giant t-rex from the Elm Creek School. His name is Rexy. So hopefully Rexy will bring some more luck to our museum!
-Kod

Friday, July 13, 2007

Monsters of the Deep RULES!

This week I finally got a chance to check out the monsters of the deep exhibit at the forks. As I walked into the exhibit, I was completely stunned to see a gigantic Elasmosaur with its neck wrapped around the entire room. Its head was literally 1 foot away from my face. For a split second I thought I was in Jurassic park! That wasn't the only cool thing there...

Next to the Elasmosaur was a 15ft long Xiphactinus, with its mouth wide open. It's really neat because you can look at every angle of the fish.

My favorite part is the death scene! Along the wall, the CFDC worked really hard in creating a display, showing a group of sharks viscously attacking a Mosasaur. What made it really cool was fossils along the floor, making it look like the sharks had tasty mosasaur meal for supper. One rib piece actually had a shark tooth stuck in it. I can't wait until the display goes into our museum!


The second room was devoted to sharks and fossils. It was really interesting reading all the text about sharks and watching the mosasaur DVD. It looked the kids really enjoyed the room too, playing with our microscope and constructing a stegosaurus.

So next time your at the forks, drop your fried mars bars, and check out the exhibit!!




-Kod

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dinosaurs are on the Loose!

Dinosaurs are on the loose in Elm Creek School! On Monday June 11 2007, many eyewitnesses including Evan Nordquist from the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, saw a large group of dinosaurs from Lisa Salazar’s K-1 class.
They all gathered together and sang dinosaur songs.

Later they all stampeded into a nearby classroom, which had been converted into the “Elm Creek Discovery Centre” to view various dinosaur sculptures that the class had made.
One of the displays came from the CFDC to show aspiring little paleontologists some real fossils from the creatures that lived in Manitoba during the time of the dinosaurs.


Friday, July 06, 2007

The Latest Buzz

With Dino Day Camps, Paleo Tours, and 2 Day Excursions all starting this week, we've been busy bees. Maybe that’s why our fossil crew t-shirts are yellow and black? However, its has been a great start to our summer programs, so let me fill you in on all the "buzz"!


We had our first dino day camp participant. I sat there envious as they played gastrolith monster, herbivore and carnivore food quest, and my favorite, pirates of the cretaceous. Since this student had so much fun, he decided to join the paleo pop-in that same day. Days like this makes me wish I was a 1st grader again, so I can make my very own gastrolith shaker.

Also, this week we had our first two paleo tours. Although it was scorching out, it didn’t stop the participants to find really awesome fossils. One group worked on a potential specimen that was found last week, while the other group found surface fragments. On one of the paleo tours, I was elated to find my first Mosasaur tooth. Now all I need to find is a Plesiosaur with an ammonite in its belly.

Evan has been busy too, conducting 2 day excursions. There are two of them this week. So Evan and his group will have their hands full with field jacketing, working on specimens, and adding new fossils to our collection

If this week reflects what the summer has in store, then its going be one exciting summer!

-Kod

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Plesiosaur at the End of the Road!

It was the last week of June and we had high hopes of finding an amazing specimen, but torrential rain managed to dampen our spirits. At the beginning of the month, I constructed a wish list to boost morale and to provide good "field" karma. On the list are five rare specimens that have not yet been found. The list includes a juvenile mosasaur, a complete hesperonis, a giant archelon shell, a shark with teeth, and a plesiosaur with an ammonite in its belly. You might think we're crazy, but we're optimistic!

So at the beginning of this week, the fossil crew was pumped to find one of the five allusive specimens. However, it rained and rained... and rained! Could the rain have been caused from global warming? Perhaps bad karma? Anything could have caused the mini monsoon, but one thing we were certain on, it was unexpected. There was so much rain, a creek developed between one of our dig sites, blocking the passage way. We cringed as we heard violent winds tore up the Miami area, probably damaging our recent finds. Things looked like they were going the wrong direction, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.

At the end of the week, the rain finally stopped pouring. It was non stop sunshine, perfect for our staff dig. We packed up the museum van again, with even higher hopes of finding one of the wish list specimens. We headed to the CFDC property, where Anita cleared our first new quarry. This site is virtually untouched. Within the first ten minutes, the staff started to uncover fossils! Little did we know, Yvonne, our administrative clerk, is an expert at finding fossils. She was finding them left and right. Yvonne has my vote for paleo star of the week! Although the rain prevented us to get a good head start in the field season, we managed to uncover what we hope is a fish specimen.

This fish will remind us that when life throws you a road block, there might be a plesiosaur, with an ammonite in its belly, at the end of the road!

-Kod



Tuesday, June 26, 2007

That’s a Wrap!

The fossil crew and I have reached the climax of the school tours, with three school digs back to back this week. Once we complete those tours, it’s fossil hunting time for the fossil crew! However, there are a few things that I will miss about the school tours. I will miss all the great questions, like “Do Mosasaurs eat humans??” and the classic, “is that real??”. For the kids that were scared of the life-like paleontologist, it’s okay, she scares me too!

I will also miss the fan mail! This year I received a huge poster with lots of shiny dino stickers from the Elm Creek School. It’s great. Unfortunately, no jingles about how awesome of a tour guide I am and I think the schools also missed my request for baked goods this year! I am just kidding! I am very grateful for any sort of fan mail, it always makes my week.

Thanks again to all the schools that participated in our summer programs this year. This has been one of our busiest and most successful years. When I saw the June calendar showing all the school tours for that month, I nearly had cardiac arrest! However, the fossil crew and I manage to complete the tours with impeccable ease, considering we recruited two new members into the fossil crew. Great job Stephanie and Daesha!

Thanks again schools for making June so much fun

Ps- I am still accepting baked goods.

-Kod

The Insider



Hi, my name is Kodley and I am a summer student at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre! This summer I will be your insider to all the exciting CFDC events. I’ll bring you behind the scenes as the fossil crew discovers new fossils and excavate on untouched dig sites. Follow my blogs this summer because it is going to be one “dino-mite” year!

-Kod

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In Search of Fossils


It's that time of year again. The 2007 field season is upon and we'll be going strong until the end of October. I know the turtle isn't a fossil yet, but it was a nice surprise to see him crossing the road right in front of our van. This could be a good sign. Who knows maybe we'll find an giant sea turtle.
Earlier that day we did indeed find a fossil, a partial dentary (lower jaw) of a mosasaur. However it was recovered from the bottom of a ditch. We did go back to try and examine where it came from. It's quite possible it's from the Niobrara Formation. This is not normally where we find fossils in this area. This is a first for me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Manitoba Schools Science Symposium

The Manitoba Schools Science Symposium (MSSS) is one of the many opportunities the CFDC has to promote fossils and paleontology within the province of Manitoba.
On Friday April 27 I will be providing a session entitled Fantastic Fossils for the Friday Activities portion of the MSSS. We'll be exploring fossils and how they're formed including a fossilization activity where students create a miniature environment and include sugar cubes as the remains from an organism. We conduct an experiment to see what really happens to the remains.
The CFDC will also be participating in the Special Awards portion of the MSSS on Sunday April 29. We will be judging projects in all levels for the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre Earth Science Award. Projects selected will exhibit innovative research relating to the field of Earth Science.
Recipients of the award will receive a plaque and an invitation to join me, the CFDC's curator on a personal excavation to one of our dig sites.
Good Luck to everyone and hope to see you there!

Spring's Here, Right?

So I know it's been way over a month since my last blog and its horrible of me, but wait until you hear what we've been up to.

Summer grant applications have been submitted for summer staff to include Youth Program Co-ordinators, Interpretive Guides and a Field Technician. The summer staff will be responsible for the public programs.

In 2007 we will have 3 youth programs, Dino Day Camp, Paleo Pop-in and Mad Science. We're very excited about the new programs and hope it will encourage students to take part in science.

Summer staff will also provide tours for the general public both at the museum and at the dig sites. We're offering both 2 & 1 Day Excursions, Paleo Tours (1/2 day family digs) and School Digs.

So after filling out all the applications, the sun began to shine and the temperature was getting warmer. I even switched to sandals. It was great. I was so excited for the field season, I mean it's less than a month away. We started to prep the van and did an inventory our field supplies. But this last week seemed to be in reverse. We had snow and below 20 degrees Celsius.

Let's hope after Easter things will be brighter and warmer. I'll keep you posted on how the sites fared after the winter.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sticky Stuff

There is only so much one can do in a day and sadly our replicas have suffered. BUT NOT ANYMORE. Time and effort have been put into replicating some of our nicer fossil specimens for displays. Over the past month the CFDC has been very fortunate to have obtained a couple of volunteers with experience and knowledge of molding, casting and painting.
Last week we constructed a new mold of a mosasaur pelvic girdle (hips and flippers) and let me tell you it was sticky. Both of us would prefer to use other materials but this product has the best effect and its soft enough not to harm the fossils. Today we applied a support jacket to the outside of the sticky mold and can hardly wait to see how it'll turn out. In the image above you can see a mold for a mosasaur skull currently on display.
Once the molds have been completed casts will be poured and handed over to another volunteer for painting. Alas a replica is born. Currently the volunteers are working on a display for the South Central Regional Library in Morden and things are looking great! Thanks for all the hard work.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Morden-Montana Exchange


It's almost that time of year again. Fossil Finding Time!!!! This year the CFDC is expanding its excavation to include a trip out to Jordan Montana. The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (CFDC) and the Paleo World Research Foundation (PWRF) are providing an opportunity for students to gain field experience in different environmnets with different kinds of fossils. Here in Manitoba we'll provide students from the United States a chance to work in shales and excavate marine reptiles from the Pierre Shale Formation. In turn, Montana will allow for students to work in the Hell Creek Formation discovering dinosaurs.
This is a first for the CFDC and we anticipate an ongoing partnership with PWRF. This year only a few will participate, but I'm sure there will be more opportunities down the road. The first part of the exchange will take place along the Mantoba Escarpment. One of the first specimens the students will excavate is a marine bird Hesperornis discovered at the end of last years field season. Four semi-articulated vertebrae and a possible rib were found and prepped for the winter. I anticipate a 50% complete skeleton. I can hope can't I? No matter, I'm sure it will be exciting.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Volunteer Appreciation

Last week the CFDC had its annual Volunteer Appreciation at the museum. It was a great success. Without the hard work and time our current volunteers contribute, the CFDC wouldn't be where it is today.

In 2006 over 30 volunteers contributed over 700 hours to board meetings, lab work, field work, fossil preparation, cataloguing, data entry, replicating fossils, special events, museum tours and many other tasks.

The CFDC was also pleased to have guest paleontologist Joseph Hatcher, Curator of Paleontology from the Paleo World Research Foundation provide a presentation for us on the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. The CFDC and Paleo World Research Foundation are organizing a student exchange for the 2007 field season.

Thanks Joey for a great presentation. We're all excited about the upcoming project.

Mayors and Mosasaurs Oh My!


Recently the Mayor of Morden presented a mounted replicate skull of a mosasaur, currently on exhibit at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, to the Mayor of Winnipeg. Both were very pleased and delighted with the prehistoric beast.

Lets hope it doesn't scare any visitors but stirs some interest. It sure is something to talk about. I mean its not everyday you see a mosasaur skull in an office!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Job Fairs Great Success


Recently I attended both Summer Job Fairs for the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg. The turn out was great, over 300 students visited our booth. I was exceptionally pleased to see the amount of interest from Anthropology and Archaeology students. I encourage those seeking experience with the excavation process to submit a resume for one of 4 positions possibly available for Interpretive Guides.

The atmosphere in the summer can not be described in a blog. Every aspect from field jacketing to the public and the smell of the shale (only those who know the smell, know what I'm talking about) keeps you coming back for more.

If you missed us at the job fairs all infomation regarding the positions avaialable are on www.discoverfossils.com under employment.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Summer Employment

Every field season the CFDC hires young enthusiastic students to run the summer public paleontology programs. Some of those programs include public digs, museum tours and day camps. We are always looking for students who have an interest in paleontology and would like to spend the summer out at digsites or working with youth aged 5-14. If you might be interested you can find positions and their description at the CFDC website under employment. I hope to see some of you out there. Below is one of many images of summer students working at one of the museum's fossil sites. www.discoverfossils.com