Monday, May 31, 2010

CFDC goes tourist!

Despite the drizzling rain, we had one fun Friday on May 28th when the CFDC staff went and visited other local tourist destinations. The “morden-ite” and returning staff were even surprised at the amazing opportunities for adventure in Morden. Our first stop was just a few steps away, to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, where we got the inside scoop from Joe Wiwcher, who is looking for volunteers as well as looking forward to the annual Fundraiser Buffet. Next stop was long-time favorite at Morden Park. The green grass, new playgrounds and bathrooms, and upcoming spray-park perked our interest and even the rain could not stop us. Downtown, we visited the Pembina Hills Art Centre where we got our passports stamped. Have you heard about the Pembina Valley Passport Adventure? Visit the best Pembina Valley attractions, get at least three stamps, and you can be eligible to enter a draw for up to $1500 worth of local swag! Including a Family Fossil Dig Adventure at the CFDC! Onwards, to Morden's Tourist Booth, Brianna Hunt had many pamplets, brochures, and maps about all to do in the Pembina Valley, and beyond! If you're planning a trip anywhere in Canada, give her a visit!We took a break for lunch, enjoying a Bruce Burger at The Timbers. Mmm, fish!

          Conner, one of our high school volunteer students, joined us after lunch as we went to explore Morden's Research Station. Known world-wide for its agricultural research, like "plant breeding for flax, field peas, roses and ornamental (trees and shrubs)". It's also a perfect place for picture snapping! Another great place to take pictures is Stanley Park! Located south-west of Morden. The playgrounds, picnic and campsites make this a perfect place for family fun. The weather put a wet blanket on our next stop... it was too muddy and mucky outside for the dogs of Dogtown to come out and play! It will remain on our list of things to do, perhaps when we're not so busy digging up fossils. We also added Manitoba's only drive-in-movie-theatre to that list. Bring a blanket and your sweetie, or bring the van of kids to the Stardust Drive In Theatre; they have a variety of movie choices throughout the summer to please just about everyone!
          Morden's Airport gets visitors flying in from all over the world. Mountain City Aviation (located there) can also teach you how to fly! Or, they offer special cloud-high tours of the Pembina Valley, or take an airplane ride to Steinbach to enjoy supper, and be back in time to get the kids to bed early!
          Another fantastic attraction is Morden Colert Beach! Which boasts hiking trails, a sand engulfed lake, and Lake Minnewasta Campground, where you can pick what CFDC creatures you'd like to camp the night with, like Mosasaur Park, Turtle Park, Plesiosaur Park, and more!
          Gaslight Sales staff was very welcoming to us, showing off their vintage artifacts decorating their building, their historical pictures of ol' Morden, and of course-- all their offical Harley-Davidson motorcycles and merchandise! Our final stop of the day was at Pembina Threshermen's Museum, found between Winkler and Morden. Sign up for a tour or explore the many farmer and pioneer artifacts and homes they have in their museum. 
          Thank-you to the owners and workers at all these fine destinations for taking the time out of your busy day to tell us what you do! It was so amazing talking about the worldly tourists Morden gets in every year, and the dedication that not only do these businesses have to Morden and the Pembina Valley, but also the community's support that has helped these "touristy" destinations thrive and grow!

-Jaclyn Kozak

Finding the missing puzzle pieces!

        Another week is complete, but don’t worry—there’s still plenty of fossils to be found! The beautiful weather was a good sign for this week’s prosperity. On Monday, whilst the fossil crew was preparing a site for our Season Dig Launch we found another phalange (finger bone) of the short-neck plesiosaur, Ianto — one of our big 2008 season finds! Which leads us to believe, there’s still more Ianto to uncover! Later that day at another dig site, we dug up more articulated (connected) mosasaur vertebrae (back bones), Xiphactinus vertebra, and a mosasaur jaw bone including some teeth!
         Tuesday was our first school dig tour, everyone had a blast and the kids found a few fossils. Wednesday was a particularly successful day. At one site we found a couple of really small fish vertebrae, Xiphactinus vertebrae, a mosasaur vertabra, ribs, and other fossil fragments.
         Saturday was CFDC's big Season Launch, and we offered free tours and free digging to the public. It was a great success, drawing in over 200 visitors to the museum. Thank-you to all who came out, and great work on finding over fifteen fossils, including various fish vertebrae, mosasaur vertebrae, rib fragments, and two carpels (wrist bones) from Ianto!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Monday, May 17, 2010

Zooks! CFDC's 2010 Field Season Beginneth!

       The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre's 2010 Field Season has begun! The summer students are finally here (after acing all their university exams)-- and we're still expecting some interns! From left to right: Katie , Matt, Jaclyn, Andrea, Kathryn , and Sacha.
        It's been one incredible first week for us summer students, and the year-round staff are excited to have us back too! The new dig team includes Katie Magitoaux (Junior Field Technician), Kathryn Lapenskie (Junior Field Technician), and returning students Matthew Duda (Senior Field Technician), Andrea Hrenchuk (Senior Field Technician), Sacha Debreuil (Youth Program Coordinator) and myself, Jaclyn Kozak (Youth Program Co-ordinator). I'm responsible for blogging every week, because I'm the English student in a large sea of science degrees. 
       Already on the first day, we had some success with finding fossils, with the guidence of Assistant Curator, Joesph Hatcher. On Monday we surface collected a mosasaur vertebra. The Mosasaur vertebra was found in the Pembina Member, it was pinkish in colour and had decent preservation.
      On Friday we found some more mosasaur vertebrae, semi- articulated!(some what connected) Lapenskie, our geology major, was most excited about the 7ft cut of bentonite layers, “It had perfect horizontal layers and distinct contacts between the bentonite and the shale.”
        There are big plans and high hopes for this year's field season. The CFDC has added new dig sites just ripe for excavation. There is big plans for large geological field work on the Pembina, Millwood, and Odanha Members, including more bentonite sampling for regional correlations of the beds. The CFDC has already spotted our next big finds-- including a mosasaur, Xphactinus, and a plesiosaur partially submerged under a cattle pond. However, until we get these fossils out of the ground, we won't be able to tell how complete they are or even if the preservation is  very good for research. 

       Throughout our season, we'll continue our successful museum and dig tours, excavating and quarry mapping at our regular sites, and we'll be hitting up the International Childeren's Festival, Kid's Fringe and Corn & Apple Festival again.
Come on down for a visit this 2010 Field Season, meet our staff  and be a part of discovering history!
-Jaclyn Kozak