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Fort St. John
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Local paleontologists help Province protect fossils

By Christine Rumleskie

 

The Provincial Government is looking to protect the bones of B.C.’s ancient creatures.

A Fossil Management Framework has been in the works for six years now. Officials have looked at what other provinces and countries are doing to protect their fossils, and have gotten the advice from local stakeholders.

Lisa Buckley is a vertebrate paleontologist with the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge.

She and her husband Rich McCrea are B.C.’s only active vertebrate paleontologists.

The pair has been helping develop the Fossil Management Framework ever since the concept was first introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2004.

Buckley says the framework will recognize the importance of fossils, while making sure fossils are protected.

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Buckley says the framework could possibly create more paleontology jobs in the province, allowing for more discoveries even within the Peace region.

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Now, the Province is encouraging B.C. residents to weigh-in on the proposed Management Framework.

Residents can click here to submit their ideas on the project.

The Province is also looking to designate an ‘official fossil’ to represent British Columbia, joining the Dogwood (flower) the Kermode, or Spirit Bear (mammal) and the Stellar’s Jay (bird) as an official B.C. symbol.

In her opinion, Buckley says she’s hoping the Marrella fossil will get chosen. Marrella is a tiny ancient bug-like creature, that’s been preserved in the Burgess Shale near Field, B.C.

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Buckley says she hopes the Fossil Management Framework will help encourage more residents to report their fossil findings to the Paleontology Research Centre.

She’s hoping for the framework will come to fruition by the end of 2010.

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