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Fossil wealth of the Kootenays

Dr. Richard Hebda - File
Dr. Richard Hebda
— image credit: File

Barry Coulter/With files from the Cranbrook History Centre

The wealth of the past is under our feet, here in the East Kootenay — that's the deep, deep past.

Few of us are aware of the especial significance of our local fossil record, but next week an expert on such matters will be on hand to talk with us about it.

The public is invited to a free lecture by Dr. Richard Hebda —"What's Under Your Feet?" — in the Royal Alexandra Hall on Wednesday, March 30,at 7 p.m.

The lecture aims to inform residents of the considerable fossil resources in the Kootenays, describe the uniqueness of our fossils, and the importance they play in the recorded chronology of life on earth.

Dr.Hebda will speak about the national and international significance of specimens found in nearby areas such as Burgess Shale — where unique species from the deep past have been discovered — and the trilobites of the McKay group near Cranbrook. Dr. Hebda will also speak about the importance of keeping such fossils at institutions within B.C., especially locally. The Cranbrook History Centre, for example, has space for displaying fossils in its new museum.

Richard Hebda has impressive paleontogical credentionals He has a Ph. D. in Botany from the University of British Columbia and has been a Curator at the Royal British Columbia Museum (Botany and Earth History) for more than 32 years. He's a long-time adjunct faculty member at the University of Victoria (Biology, Earth and Ocean Sciences), and serves as Province of BC's science advisor in Paleontology.

He studies vegetation and climate history of B.C., Ethnobotany of BC First Nations, climate change and its impacts, restoration of natural systems and processes, and other subjects.

He is a prolific author, editor and commentator. Should be interesting.

Also taking part in the visit will be Elisabeth Deom, P. Ag., Senior Policy Advisor for Land Tenures Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.

For more information, contact the Cranbrook History Centre, at 250-489-3918

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