VanPS Talks & Field Trips Schedule 2024

Events    Field Trips    Past Events    Past Field Trips

Upcoming Talks and Events:

Date: July TBC
Speaker: TBC
Topic: TBC
Location: TBC and on Zoom

Please consider getting or renewing your membership.
The VanPS membership fee is $30 and covers immediate family members. Membership is valid for the calendar year.
A membership is required to attend field trips and also gives you access to the BC Paleontological Alliance (BCPA) journal, which can be found on the BCPA website.
Individuals and families with paid VanPS memberships are allowed to participate in VanPS field trips and other BCPA society field trips.

You can purchase or renew your membership through our website:

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

Upcoming Field Trips:

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2024
Meeting time: 10:30 am
Location: Chuckanut Formation, near Deming, WA, USA

Dr. George Mustoe (Research Associate, Western Washington University) and John Fam (VanPS Vice-chair) will be co-leading this trip. We will visit two sites of the Eocene, Chuckanut formation of Northwestern Washington state.

Level of difficulty: The first site involves a moderate to difficult (depending on fitness level) uphill hike of about 2 km. Some sections are steep and require using a rope a guidance on the trail. We will need to descent down the same distance back to our vehicles. The second portion of the field trip will be shorter hike (about 1 km / approximately 15 minutes) to Racehorse creek and falls.

Type of fossils: Numerous plant fossils and other ichnofossils such as tracks and burrows. More recently a fossil fish (Phareodus) was found in Racehorse creek.

Equipment recommended: Hiking shoes / boots, backpack, geological or brick layers hammer, small 3-4 lb sledge hammer, flat masonry chisel, newspaper, aluminum foil or bubble wrap and masking or painter’s tape.

Please note: we will be driving on gravel roads and will be out of cellular range. Please bring toilet paper, food and water with you. There are no bathroom facilities at the sites.

This is a members only event. You’ll need to be a member of one of the societies of the BCPA ( such as Vancouver Paleontogical Society, VicPS, VIPMS, or VIPS to attend this event. You will also be required to sign personal waiver of liability for the British Columbia Paleontological Alliance / Vancouver Paleontological Society.

You can join or renew your membership here: or bring cash / cheque in person.

Please email John Fam at [email protected] by Thursday, June 20, if you plan to attend.

For our Canadian members, it takes 1-2 hours to drive to the meeting location from the lower mainland. Please leave enough time to cross the border as well.

Meet at 10:30 AM on June 23, 2024 at this location:

Welcome Grocery Store
5565 Mt Baker Hwy, Deming, WA 98244, United States

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.

All VanPS members are bound by our Code of Ethics and the BCPA Policy on Fossil Collecting.

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

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 Talks and Events

June 12, 2024
Speaker: Dr. Brian Chatterton
Topic: Chasing Fossils Around Canada and the World

Dr. Brian Chatterton, Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Geology Department at the University of Alberta (UofA), shared some of the highlights of his academic career in paleontology. His academic career spans nearly 70 years during which he has travelled to 6 of the 7 continents, excluding Antarctica because it was “too cold”. The majority of his career was spent at the UofA, where he studied a variety of fossils, including trilobites, conodonts, radiolarians, sponges, corals, brachiopods, cephalopods, bivalves, insects, fishes, birds, and dinosaurs.

BC Rock and Gem Show
Date: May 10 to 12, 2024

The VanPS had fossil displays at the BC Gem Show, hosted by the British Columbia Lapidary Society.

May 4, 2024
Speaker: Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron, Richard M. Ivey Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Topic: The lower Cambrian Cranbrook Lagerstätte of British Columbia

Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron discussed the history, geological background, and fauna of the Lower Cambrian Cranbrook Lagerstatte and highlighted its significance for research and outreach.

Discovered over a century ago, the lower Cambrian (Series 2, Stage 4) Cranbrook Lagerstätte of southeastern British Columbia’s Eager Formation is one of the oldest Burgess Shale-type deposits in North America. This Konservat-Lagerstätte is rich in olenelloid trilobites, but also yields a very low-diversity soft-bodied fossil assemblage including Tuzoia and Anomalocaris, and a low-diversity ichnofauna. Its scientific study, however, remains limited. A 2015 field-based investigation by the Royal Ontario Museum has revealed new information about the site’s biota, depositional environment and taphonomic conditions. Not only is the Cranbrook Lagerstätte significant for early Cambrian biostratigraphy and comparisons with other Burgess Shale-type deposits, it also reveals some of the little-known diversity of life in a distal outer shelf environment during the Cambrian period.

January 24, 2024
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS Chair
Topic: Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) Marine Reptile at the Geological Survey of Canada

December 13, 2023
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS Chair
Topic: The Dinosaur World Tour: The Greatest Show Unearthed (1993 and 1995)

The Dinosaur World Tour began in Edmonton, Alberta, and the exhibit was titled, “The Greatest Show Unearthed”. The exhibits were the scientific results from excavation done by a group of Canadian and Chinese paleontologists from the Canadian Museum of Nature (Ottawa, Ontario), Institute of Vertebrate and Paleoanthropology (Beijing, China), and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (Drumheller, Alberta) working in the field in the Gobi Desert, Northern China; Canadian Arctic, Baffin Island; and Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta. The key researchers were Dr. Dale Russell (Curator of Fossil Vertebrates at the Canadian Museum of Nature), Professor Dong Zhiming (Institute of Vertebrate and Paleoanthropology) Professor Zhao Xijin, and Dr. Philip Currie (Head of Dinosaur Research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology).
This presentation showed some of the dinosaurs and discoveries from China, Alberta, and the High Arctic that were seen in the exhibit in Edmonton, Alberta (1993) and Vancouver (1995).

June 28, 2023
Speaker: Dr. John Clague, Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth Sciences, SFU
Topic: Metro Vancouver Tsunami Hazard

April 19, 2023
Speaker: Guy Santucci
Topic: Recent Fossil Discoveries in the East Kootenays

This presentation covered Marble Canyon, the Bull River Ordovician, Koocanusa Mesoproterozoic, and Crown Mountain Jurassic.

March 15, 2023
Speaker: Dr. George Mustoe
Topic: Paleontology of The Chuckanut Formation, Northwest Washington

February 15, 2023
Speaker: John Fam, VanPS Vice-chair
Topic: Fossil hunting at Penn Dixie Fossil and Nature Park , New York

In the summer of 2022, John Fam (Vice chair of the Vancouver Paleontological Society) and his family visited the Penn Dixie Fossil & Nature Park in upstate New York. This park is managed by the Hamburg Natural History Society and encourages the public to learn about paleontology through collecting of fossils. Here anyone can find and keep a variety of fossils such as trilobites, brachiopods, corals, crinoids, bryozoans, bivalves and gastropods. The fossils are all from the Devonian period approximately 380 million years ago.

January 18, 2023
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS Chair
Topic: Fossils from Harrison Lake

The West Side of Harrison Lake is a well known popular fossil collecting site for the VanPS. Numerous specimens of small ammonites (Cadoceras sp.), large belemnites, and clams (bivalves – Buchia sp.) have been found in these Jurassic and Cretaceous fossil localities. Over several years, these fossil sites have had drastic changes including road construction, mineral claim, clear cuts, and forest fires. Perry Poon has visited these fossil sites over several years and  has documented the changing faces of the West Side of Harrison Lake fossil sites.

December 14, 2022
Speakers: VanPS members (see below)
Topic: VanPS Mini Talk Series – short presentations by VanPS members

Brennan Martens – Update on his publication: “First Record of a Tylosaurine Mosasaur for the Latest Cretaceous Phosphates of Morocco”

Ji Ai Cho – “Visit to the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, England”

John Fam – “My summer visit to Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve in New York State”.

November 10, 2022
Speaker: Brennan Martens, VanPS Director
Topic: Mosasaurs, Great Sea Monsters of the Cretaceous

Brennan Martens explored the diversity and history of mosasaurs through the Cretaceous period. Brennan is an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta and a long-time VanPS member. He has named a new species of mosasaur, a gigantic marine reptile from the age of the dinosaurs. He presented a close look at current research in the field and adaptations of this great prehistoric lineage of aquatic super predators.

Vancouver Gem and Mineral Show
Date: August 5 to 7, 2022

Western Canada’s largest Gem show is featuring 80+ of the best gem, mineral and jewellery vendors from across Canada. We’re bringing you unique gems, fine crystals, rare fossils, handmade jewellery, fancy beads and findings, lapidary art, and more! For more details, visit

June 22, 2022
Speaker: Pat Trask, Curator of Natural History, Courtenay Museum
Topic: Adventures of the Long Necked Plesiosaur

Pat Trask is the Curator of Natural History at the Courtenay Museum. His twin brother Mike discovered the remains of an 80 million year old elasmosaur on the banks of the Puntledge River on Vancouver Island in 1988. It was the first of its kind found West of the Canadian Rockies. Since that time, many other wonderful discoveries have been made. Most recently a juvenile elasmosaur was found and recovered in 2020.

May 18, 2022
Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Yoshizawa, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Topic: Talking Rocks: Paleontology Meets Sociology in the Anthropocene

Dr. Rebecca Yoshizawa shared perspectives as a sociological interloper entering the world of paleontology. From a gruelling trek to the Burgess Shale, to finding a fossil in her backyard, exploring paleontology’s thorny involvement in colonialism, and analyzing the promise of paleontology for saving the world, Dr. Yoshizawa reflected on the personal and the political when it comes to paleontology.

March 16, 2022
Speaker: Brennan Martens, VanPS
Topic: Burgess Shale Sponge That Was NOT a Sponge: Chancelloriids, a Dive Into The Odd History of Cambrian Sponge Lookalikes

Chancelloriids were originally interpreted as sponges by Walcott due to dermal coelosclerites being mistaken for embedded spicules seen in sponges. This led to three distinct taxa becoming lumped into a single species, Chancelloria eros Walcott, 1920. We now know the two other taxa are Allonnia tintinopsis n.sp. and Archiasterella coriacea n.sp all three belonging to the Family Chancelloriidae Walcott, 1920.

February 16, 2022
Speaker: Perry Poon, VanPS Chair
Topic: Fossil Displays and Exhibits from the Lower Mainland – Fabulous Fossils and Where to Find Them

January 26, 2022
Speaker: Ken Pugh
Topic: Field and Laboratory Techniques For Non-Marine Paleontology

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.

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.

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

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)

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.

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

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

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.

Past Field Trips

Date: Sunday, May 19, 2024
Location: Lincoln Creek formation, Washington State.

This field trip was led by local Washingtonian and citizen scientist, Scott Guthrie, and John Fam, VanPS Vice-chair.

We visited two sites of the Oligocene, Lincoln Creek formation of Southwestern Washington State.
Types of fossils: marine invertebrates (crabs, gastropods (snails), bivalves (clams), scaphopods (tusk shells), and nautiloids.

Date: Sunday, April 21, 2024
Location: Harrison Lake

John Fam led a field trip to the west side of Harrison Lake. We visited Middle Jurassic and Cretaceous marine outcrops just off the forest service road. Fossils that can be found at this site include ammonites, belemnites and bivalves.

Date: Sunday, March 24, 2024
Location: Fraser Canyon, near Lytton, BC

On this field trip, led by John Fam, we searched for rare heteromorph ammonites from the Lower Cretaceous, Jackass Mountain Group along the Fraser River. The site also includes fossilized wood.

Date: Sunday, February 18, 2024
Location: Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, WA

Date: Sunday, January 21, 2024
Location: Geological Survey of Canada, Vancouver office

Date: Sunday, October 22, 2023
Location: Ashcroft

John Fam, VanPS Vice-chair, led this field trip to visit two localities near Ashcroft, including a quick stop at a Lower Jurassic site that contains the bivalve Weyla, and an Upper Triassic locality.

Date: September 23 to 24, 2023
Location: Princeton

Date: Saturday, August 19, 2023
Location: Kanaka Creek, Maple Ridge

Date: Saturday, May 27, 2023
Location: Slide Mountain, Washington

Date: Saturday, April 29, 2023
Location: Western Washington University – Geology Laboratory

John Fam, VanPS Vice-chair, led this field trip to visit the geology laboratory of Dr. George Mustoe at the Environmental Studies Building, Western Washington University, Bellingham. The purpose of the field trip was to learn about the experience of working in a real geology/paleontology laboratory, and to look at the fossil collections and the discoveries.

Date: Saturday, April 15, 2023
Location: Harrison Lake

John Fam (VanPS Vice-chair) led this field trip to Cretaceous sites around Harrison Lake.