Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Bruce!

Our big Bruce is officially 80 000 040 years old!

Guests from all over the world came to visit Bruce on Saturday, July 26th for his special day, and the staff at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre couldn't have been happier with the turnout!

The day kicked off at 10, with multiple families coming in to check out the activities early. Outside we had chalk drawings, face painting and a water balloon toss for the kids. Inside the museum, there was lots of opportunities to make some crafts, and play some fun games!

At 12, everyone gathered in Bruce's room to sing "Happy Birthday" and cut the cake. We also awarded Bruce his medal for being the largest mosasaur on display in the world! After singing to Bruce and putting on his party hat, guests were served cake, and sent to a refreshments room to enjoy some chips and pop donated by Giant Tiger.

Kids were able to enjoy multiple games that CFDC staff had set up for the day. These games included; Pin the Tail on Bruce, Duck-Duck-Bruce, and Feed Bruce! After lunch, there was a chance for kids to take a swing at some piñatas, and swing they did!
One of our guests taking his shot at the piñata! 

The aftermath..
And of course throughout the day there was a photo booth, where we got many pictures of families (and staff) enjoying themselves!

Myself (right) and a CFDC volunteer getting silly in the booth!
Overall, it was a great day had by all, with over 130 visitors coming to see the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. CFDC staff have already started planning our next event: SHARK WEEK!

Shark Week is kicking off on Saturday, August 9 with a Beach Blast at the Morden Beach. There will be lots of activities running from 10-4 for kids to enjoy, so be sure to check out that!

Next up is a Waffle Breakfast being served at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, which will be a "by donation" event. Waffles will be served from 8-10 in the morning, and then will be back up from 11:30-1:30 for an early lunch. If you're just wanting to enjoy the waffles, there is no need to pay the entrance fee. However if you'd like to enter the gallery (and I encourage you to check it out!) regular admission rates will apply.

And finally to end the week, the CFDC will be hosting a FREE movie night on Friday, August 15. Doors will open at 6 and "Finding Nemo" is playing at 7. At 9, the second movie, "Sharknado", will be shown. "Finding Nemo" is rated G and "Sharknado" is unrated, but not suitable for children under the age of 14.

And of course throughout the week stop in to check out the museum. We will have new exhibits, displays and fun facts all in a shark theme, so it should be a fun week!

We hope that you come to check out these events, we would love to have you! It's a great chance to have fun and #DiscoverFossils!

Paige Ready

Museum Assistant

Friday, July 18, 2014

Busy Times at the CFDC

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre staff has been quite busy with tours, meetings and planning lately!

Dig Tour season is in full swing and our field techs are eager to get out into the field! A typical dig tour will begin with a VIP tour of our museum and collection room, and then it's out to the field! Guests will be taken to one of our private dig sites where they will hunt for fossils, clean up the fossil bed, and enjoy the sun in the beautiful Manitoba escarpment. There is also the chance to become the weekly Paleostar! Paleostar is a recognition of outstanding work done by visitors in the field. It typically is awarded when a customer finds an impressive fossil, such as a shark tooth, fish vertebra or maybe even some pieces of mosasaur! Paleostar can be awarded to a single person or even an entire family! If you're interested in booking a tour click this link for more information.

We've had some very important visitors at the CFDC this past week, starting off with the Manitoba Geological Survey's Jim Bamburak. Jim came out this week to do a presentation on the geological layers of the Pembina Valley. He then took the field staff on a field trip throughout the escarpment to get an up close and personal look at the different layers. It was a great opportunity to learn about the Pembina Valley, as well as broadening our geological understanding.

Dr. Kevin Campbell, a professor at the University of Manitoba and a contributor and member of the CFDC generously donated a tuft of real 43,000 year old woolly mammoth hair! This hair comes from a Siberian mammoth that was found this past year, and it had most of its skin and hair still intact! We are excited to add this new fossil to our display of mammoth tusk and blood by the end of summer.

Real mammoth hair!
We also had the privilege of having Ron Lemieux and Colin Ferguson join us for an afternoon of digging for fossils! Ron is the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection for Manitoba, and Colin is the CEO for Travel Manitoba. They and their families got a chance to enter the field for a dig tour, as well as a VIP Tour. It was a good time had by all and we hope they visit again in the future.

Everyone checking out the dig site!
Lastly, CFDC staff have been preparing the museum for Bruce's Birthday! Bruce is turning the ripe old age of 80 000 040 years old, and to celebrate, we're throwing him a huge party. For regular admission prices, you and your family can enjoy a full day of activities and games right here at the museum! Free cake and other party refreshments will be served at noon, so be sure to stop in for that. We hope to see you here next Saturday, the 26th!

Paige Ready
Museum Assistant

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Field Tech

Field techs; we are the ones who may give you a tour, work the booth at a festival or actually dig up fossils in the field. But what exactly do we do at a typical day at the museum? You're about to find out!

A field tech's day begins right here at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. We start our day at 9 am, and we prep the museum for any visitors that may come that day. This includes cleaning bathrooms, cleaning the glass in the displays cases, and planning any programming for tours if they are booked. After all the cleaning is done, we are given time to work on upcoming projects. Currently, staff is working hard to put together Bruce's Birthday on July 26! This event will include many activities, crafts and snacks, and must be coordinated and ran by the museum staff. There are other projects to work on as well, such as creating new displays, cataloguing in our collection room, or (in my case) updating the latest blog.

Around noon, we will pack up and head out to the field to do some digging! The past few weeks, the field techs have been working on creating a new pathway at one of our dig sites. We are doing this so we can expand the fossil bed, and search for more fossils! To accomplish this, the field techs have been shovelling and pick axing for days. It is definitely a good work out! After this is over, we begin work on uncovering the fossils at the site. This means brushing and picking away in the hot sun for hours at a time. It's hard work, but so rewarding!

Every day is different for a CFDC field tech. One day we may be giving a tour to a family, and the next we could be face painting at a festival. Every day brings something new and exciting and that's why I enjoy my job as a field tech so much.

Paige Ready
Museum Assistant

Field Techs working to make a pathway at the site
Aaron Kilmury, King of the Dirt Pile. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Theory vs Scientific Theory

Often at the CFDC, we get a lot of questions regarding what exactly a "theory" is. It appears that there is a lot of misunderstanding, and misinformation about this topic, so this post is going to address just that; the incorrect use of a word.

A theory and a scientific theory are two different things. A theory (defined by oxforddictionaries.com) is "A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained". In other words, a theory is a thought or an idea, surrounding something or someone. An example of this would be this theory about "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (seriously, it's pretty cool!). 

Now to define scientific theory. Defined by livescience.com, "A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing". Basically, scientific theory is a way of explaining something in science that is widely accepted as fact due to the research, testing and data backing it up. An example of a widely accepted scientific theory is gravity. 

"When used in non-scientific context, the word 'theory' implies that something is unproven or speculative" (livescience.com). The misuse of the word creates a fair amount of confusion for those who are not familiar with it. And this is exactly the problem we at the CFDC are trying to address. 

Another question that is asked at the CFDC is what exactly constitutes "scientific testing". It is actually called the Scientific Method and is fairly simple to understand and accomplish. The scientific method is "A method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses"(oxforddictionaries.com). Scientific method can be broken down to this; form a hypotheses, and test it out. If it works, test it again, if it doesn't, refine your hypotheses and repeat the steps.

It is through this process that we pass the simple theory, and arrive at the scientific theory. 

Click here for more misused words in science and over here to learn more about the scientific theory! 

Make sure to visit the CFDC to #discoverfossils

Paige Ready
Museum Assistant