Talks & Field Trips Schedule 2022

VanPS Talks and Events:

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 7pm
Speaker: Ken Pugh
Topic: Field and Laboratory Techniques For Non-Marine Paleontology

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 842 9850 5874
Passcode: 961250

Junior VanPS Presentation (geared towards kids and teens)

Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at 7pm
Speaker: Perry Poon
Topic: My Visits to Fossil Displays and Exhibits in Vancouver

Please consider getting or renewing your membership.
The VanPS membership fee is $30 and covers all family members.
A membership is required to attend field trips and also gives you access to the BC Paleontological Alliance (BCPA) newsletter.
Individuals and families with paid VanPS memberships are allowed to participate in VanPS field trips and other BCPA field trips.

If you have any questions or would like to receive our membership form, please contact Perry Poon, VanPS Chair, at [email protected]


VanPS Field Trips:

Field trips normally run March - October

Please note: Participation on field trips requires a paid membership and a signed waiver form.
Younger members, accompanied by a responsible adult, are welcome on our field trips.
Pets are not allowed as they complicate our insurance coverage.


When and where are the meetings usually held?


Everyone is encouraged to become a member. The membership fee is Can$30 per individual or family.
Membership is valid for the calendar year. Please consider getting/renewing your membership.
If you would like to attend our field trips, a membership is required.


Please note: all VanPS members are bound by our Code of Ethics and the BCPA Policy on Fossil Collecting.

  1. A reminder to VanPS and BCPA members that all paleo finds should be collected and catalogued appropriately, and that all finds of scientific interest should be brought forward and offered to the professionals working in the area. Please keep accurate records so that data is not lost to science because of an oversight

  2. If members have fossils they have not been able to prep, label, and store in a way that will make them easily accessible to science, they should ask for help so that this can be done in a reasonable amount of time. We will gladly help you with labelling and organizing your finds from VanPS field trips so that important data is not lost.


Past Lectures and Events

Date: December 14, 2021
Speaker: VanPS members
Topic: VanPS Annual General Meeting (AGM) and member presentations on fossil or geology field trips, exhibits visited, fossil collections, or other paleontological or geological subjects.

Date: November 17, 2021
Speaker: Guy Santucci
Topic: A Brief History of the Fort Steele/Rifle Range Early Cambrian Trilobite Site

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 a better understanding of the site.

Date: October 27, 2021
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS Chair
Topic: Megalodon Shark: Fact or Fiction

Date: September 22, 2021
Speaker: Perry Poon, Chair, Vancouver Paleontological Society
Topic: Remarkable Fossils of B.C.

13th British Columbia Paleontology Symposium
Date: July 9-12, 2021 (via Zoom)

Date: June 16, 2021
Speaker: Dr. John Clague, Emeritus Professor, Simon Fraser University
Topic: A Remarkable Ice Age Megaflood In Southwestern BC

About 11,500 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, floodwaters up to 100 m deep raced down the Fraser Canyon from south of Williams Lake to present-day Hope. Upon reaching Hope, the flood entered and spread westward across the Fraser Lowland before entering the sea south of Vancouver. This presentation described the flood and its effects on the landscape, and explained its cause.

Date: May 19, 2021
Speaker: George Gough
Topic: Ancient Horses: Their Story From 55 Million Years Ago

Date: April 14, 2021
Speaker: Torrey Nyborg, PhD, Loma Linda University, Department of Earth and Biological Sciences
Topic: Fossil Decapod Crustaceans From The Northeastern Pacific: New Taxa and Ongoing Research (joint VanPS-VicPS event)

March 17, 2021
Speaker: Dan Bowen, Vancouver Island Paleontological Society
Topic: Fossil Sharks of Hornby Island
Click here for the recording.

February 17, 2021
Speaker: Brennan Martens, VanPS
Topic: The Bizarre History of Early Fish Evolution

January 27, 2021
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS Chair
Topic: The Geological Timeline: Life On Earth + VanPS Annual General Meeting

Learn about some of the life forms that existed on Earth from the Precambrian time, through the Mesozoic, and to the Ice Age.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Speaker: Brennan Martens, VanPS member
Topic: Paleontology in Modern Media


Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Speaker: Perry Poon (VanPS)
Topic: Hike to the Burgess Shale Fossil Bed


Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Speakers: Dr. Jennifer Getsinger and John Fam (both VanPS members) Topics

Our first speaker, Dr. Jennifer Getsinger, talked about her work with BC Nature’s sponsorship of a Summer Camp at Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Our second speaker, John Fam, talked about his adventures hunting fossils at the Parc de Miguasha in Quebec. This location is the world’s greatest window into the Devonian period.  

2019 Fossil Show
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Richmond Nature Park


September 18, 2019
Speakers: Brennan Martens and Perry Poon (VanPS members)
Topic: Summer fossil adventures

VanPS members shared their adventures over the summer and some of the fossils they found.


May 15, 2019
Speaker: George Gough, M.Sc.
Topic: Ancient Forces and Ancient Life in the Salton Trough of Southern California

VanPS member George Gough spoke about his experience as a certified paleontology volunteer of the California State Paleontology Society in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. George talked about the very unique features of the Park and the the rich diversity of plant and animal life that flourished in the Salton basin of Southern California during ancient times. He also talked about the evolution of mammoths, camels and horses.


March 20, 2019
Speaker: Rhy McMillan, PhD Candidate, Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research
Topic: Bones, Stones, and Lasers: High-resolution Structural Investigations of Palaeontological and Archaeological Materials using Raman Microspectroscopy

Raman microscpectroscopy is a non-destructive analytical technique that has wide applicability in investigating the molecular and structural characteristics of both solid and liquid materials. Rhy will discuss the application of Raman microspectroscopy to three related research projects and how it is used for addressing key questions about human history and the history of life in general.


January 16, 2019
Speaker: Marianne Wong, VanPS Treasurer
Topic: Highlights of three fossil locations in Newfoundland: Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, Green Point Geological Site, and Flowers Cove. Newfoundland fossils are protected by law from leaving the province, but Marianne will have plenty of photos to show as well as a few stories to tell.


November 21, 2018
Speaker: Julius Csotonyi
Topic: Paleoart: A Mutually Beneficial Affair Between Science and Art

It is clear that natural history artwork has always relied heavily on science, but scientific communication also benefits increasingly from carefully executed scientific illustration, in the form of artwork for press releases, manuscript figures, and journal cover images. In no field is this mutually beneficial interaction more apparent than in paleontology, where life reconstructions of prehistoric organisms require the efforts of paleoartists. Preparation of such artwork is subjected to careful scrutiny by experts in an intensive process of review and revision, and benefits from an artist’s own scientific background. The scientifically informed images that result from this process are then also available for educational outreach to the public in museum exhibits, books, and even postal stamps and coins.

The VanPS also held its AGM at this meeting.


Fossil Show 2018
Date and Time: Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Richmond Nature Park
11851 Westminster Highway, Richmond
Fossil casting, fossil rubs, and fossil displays.
Event open to the public. Admission by donation.


September 26, 2018
Speaker: Kirstin Brink, UBC
Topic: Tooth or Consequences: Why can't people regrow teeth?

Kirstin Brink is a palaeontologist interested in the evolution and development of teeth. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia, funded for five years by a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. She received her MSc. in Geosciences at the University of Calgary studying skull growth in the duckbill dinosaur Hypacrosaurus, and her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto studying the evolution of teeth in the early synapsid Dimetrodon. Kirstin is a volunteer with the Pacific Museum of Earth at UBC, working on cataloguing the fossil collection.


12th British Columbia Paleontological Symposium

Date: August 18-19, 2018
Location: Courtenay, BC

The British Columbia Paleontological Alliance meets every two years at a symposium that brings together many branches of paleontology, including vertebrate, invertebrate, paleobotany, micropaleontology, paleoecology and paleoclimatology.

The 2018 Symposium was hosted by the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society. For futher details, please visit


Cretaceous Paleobotany: Food for Dinosaurs, Food for Thought

Date: June 16, 2018
Location: Courtenay and District Museum, Courtenay, BC


Ruth A. Stockey, Oregon State University
Araucaria from Brannen Lake

Gar W. Rothwell, Ohio University
Parataxodium Flora of North Slope Alaska

Brian Atkinson, University of Kansas
Dog days of the dogwoods? Cretaceous fruits from Vancouver Island

Alex Bippus, Humboldt State University
Fossil mosses from the Early Cretaceous of California and Vancouver Island

May 16, 2018
Location: Kitsilano Library - 2425 MacDonald Street (Note change of location)

Speaker: No speaker for this meeting. VanPS members brought fossils to display.

No meeting was held in March 2018

Science World hosted Richard McCrea and Lisa Buckley on March 30 and 31. They did half hour presentations on "Dinosaurs and Paleontology in BC".
VanPS displayed fossils at this event in the gallery.

January 17, 2018
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS President
Topic: Hiking to the Burgess Shale

This meeting was also our Annual General Meeting.

November 15, 2017
Speakers: VanPS members
Topic: Annual Member's Presentations

VanPS members gave presentations about the Eocene fossil site at Republic, Washington, and the Pipestone Creek bonebed tours at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Alberta.

Fossil Show 2017
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Richmond Nature Park, 11851 Westminster Hwy.

Several specimens of BC's fascinating prehistoric fossils were displayed by the Vancouver Paleontological Society and Vancouver Island Paleontological Society. The public had the opportunity to make fossil casts and fossil rubbings.

The VanPS would like to thank the Richmond Nature Park for providing space for us and our fellow societies to display fossils again this year.
For additional events at the Richmond Nature Park, please visit

September 20, 2017

Speakers: VanPS members and general public

Topic: My 2017 Summer Fossil or Geology Trip

VanPS members and others had an opportunity to talk about a visit to a museum, a rock shop, or a field trip, or anything fossil or geology-related that they did over the summer.

May 17, 2017

Speaker: Dr. Paul L. Smith, UBC Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Topic: Tales from Pangea: How Geology Shapes the History of Life


The biosphere, or life at a global scale, is an exceptionally thin layer resting on Earth, a solid body over which it has no control. The Earth is subject to relentless change, some of it mind-numbingly slow, some of it cataclysmic. How has this shaped the history of the biosphere? In this talk we will explore the influence of the supercontinent called Pangea whose formation and break-up still echoes in our modern world.


A geologist specialising in paleontology, stratigraphy and the Jurassic System, Paul Smith is a graduate of McMaster University who was a Faculty Member at UBC from 1980 until 2016 and is now Professor Emeritus. From 2000 until 20009 he served as the Head of the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences helping it achieve its status as one of the top in the world, housed in its own state of the art facilities. From 2011-2012 he served as Vice Provost and Associate Vice President of UBC when he initiated the project that led to the founding of Vantage College. He has been recognized by numerous awards including the Killam award for excellence in teaching, the Fulton award for service to UBC, and the Billings Medal of the Geological Association of Canada for outstanding contributions to paleontological research.

March 15, 2017

Speaker: Perry Poon, Vancouver Aquarium, and VanPS Chair

Topic: Prehistoric Sharks: Helicoprion and Carcharodon Megalodon


Past Field Trips

October 2 to 3, 2021
Location: Princeton

This location has fossils from the Eocene (48 Million years ago).

September 21 and 22, 2019

This location has abundant plant fossils and some fish and insect fossils. The sedimentary rocks are Eocene and are 48 million years old.

June 15, 2019
Location: Racehorse Creek slide area

April 6, 2019
Location: Kitsilano area - meet at the end of Dunbar Street, just past Point Grey Rd.

On this field trip, we looked for plant fossils, such as Fagus and Castnea-type leaves, Sycamore leaves, fern, palm fragments, conifer shoots, Metasequoia and seeds and cones.

September 22, 2018
Location: Kitsilano area - meet at the end of Dunbar Street, just past Point Grey Rd.

On this field trip, we looked for plant fossils, such as Fagus and Castnea-type leaves, Sycamore leaves, fern, palm fragments, conifer shoots, Metasequoia and seeds and cones.

October 14, 2017
Harrison Lake

Perry led a trip to the west side of Harrison Lake to search for Cadocera and Buchia. Some interesting bivalves were found by a VanPS member at the Hale Creek site.

September 9-10, 2017

Perry Poon lead a small group of VanPS members on another field trip to Princeton. The group found interesting fossils such as Dawn Redwood leaves, deciduous leaves, and March Flies.

September 24-25, 2016

Perry Poon lead a field trip to Princeton. The group visited six fossil sites, including Lamont Creek, Summer Creek, Blakeburn Mine, and Coalmont Bluff. All the sites are lake bottom sediments which have turned to shale. Fossils in these areas include the Dawn Redwood and leaves (very common), fish, insects, and maybe amber. They are 48 million years old (Eocene).

September 19-20, 2015
Ashcroft area

VanPS Member Mark Howard lead a field trip to the Ashcroft area to look at Triassic and Jurassic rocks and fossils. Participants left on Saturday morning, September 19, and drove / car-pooled to the Semlin Hill area near Ashcroft to look for Jurassic fossils.

Saturday evening, participants stayed overnight in the area around Ashcroft, either in campgrounds or motels. Campground options included the Barnes Lake campground near Ashcroft, the Legacy Park municipal campground on the Thompson River in Ashcroft or the Brookside campground in Cache Creek.

On Sunday, September 20, participants traveled to Spatsum Creek to look for Triassic fossils, and then returned to Vancouver on Sunday evening.


July 18, 2015
Campus Walk at UBC - Living Fossils

Perry Poon from the Vancouver Paleontological Society led a walk around the UBC Vancouver campus looking at live examples of prehistoric plants (e.g. Ginkgo, Dawn Redwoods). Participants then walked through the fossil collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.


June 27, 2015
Racehorse Creek, Chuckanut Formation, Washingtong State
Trip Leader: George Mustoe, Western Washington University


July 5, 2014
Mt. Baker Jura-Cretaceous
Trip Leader: Jim Haggart

An exploratory trip with Jim Haggart to look for Jurassic-Cretaceous fossils near the town of Glacier, in the Mount Baker region of Washington State. J-K rocks have been known in this region since the 1950s when Professor Peter Misch found mollusks of this age while hiking in the alpine areas north of Mount Baker. (GSC Bulletin 103, pl.21) These rocks are exposed at several locations along the highway leading to the Mount Baker ski area, at relatively low elevation along the North Fork of the Nooksack River. The trip involved searching for these exposures to see if Misch’s collections of ammonites, belemnites, and bivalves could be duplicated. The trip was exploratory in nature, as no one from VanPS had visited these localities previously. Several fossils of bivalves, belemnites, and plant material were found.


Saturday, June 22, 2013
Spanish Banks, Vancouver
Leader: Randal Mindell

Plant paleontologist Dr. Randal Mindell lead a visit to the Kitsilano Formation exposures found in the Spanish Banks area. We looked for Eocene plants, in particular grasses, palms, birches, walnuts, beeches, Metasequoia, and ferns.


Saturday-Sunday, August 11-12, 2012
Vancouver Island Cretaceous (2 days)
Leader: Jim Haggart

This field trip looked at Upper Cretaceous fossil localities along the east side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  Stops included Departure Bay (Comox Formation), and Englishman River (Haslam Formation) on the first day. On day 2, there was a stop at Trent River (Cedar District Formation). The localities are part of the Nanaimo Group succession of coastal Vancouver Island and contain abundant shallow-marine, continental shelf fossil assemblages, including ammonites, bivalves, and gastropods.  The strata have also produced marine vertebrate remains. 

We combined the collecting opportunities with ‘behind-the-scenes’ paleontology tours of both the Qualicum Beach Museum and the Courtenay and District Museum.

July 14, 2012
Harrison Lake Jura-Cretaceous (1 day)
Trip Leader: Jim Haggart

This field trip looked at Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous fossil localities along the west side of Harrison Lake, British Columbia. The localities are part of the Coast Belt succession of British Columbia and are the only readily-accessible record of Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentation and fossil faunas in the southwestern British Columbia region.