Friday, July 31, 2015

Local Rocks and Fossils Display

Hot summer weather creates low water levels around the Peace River that bring conditions perfect for fossil and rock hunting. Local geo-enthusiasts have had great luck this year, so much so that a new display case has been set up to display these fantastic finds.
      Donors include the regionally renowned amateur rockhound Don Holt, whose great mineral and fossil collection is still being processed by the Museum. A massive dinosaur bone and a crystalline geode are included from this collection. Some younger fossil-hunters include Sophie Gustafson, who spotted a 500-million year old colonial coral on the banks of the Smoky River. Aadam Stalker is a particularly active collector; his finds in the area include high-quality granite, ammonite fossils and large gypsum crystals. Hali-Ann Thorpe has located and donated river-eroded ironstone, quartz and excellent talc specimens. Bill Veidt, featured in an earlier post, has also loaned out his jadeite adze that he found near Peace River.

         If you should be out and spot an interesting rock or fossil, feel free to bring it in to show us. We may even feature it in the case!

Monday, July 20, 2015

American paddler more into the silent sports

Bill Nedderman of Iowa has been paddling the routes of North American explorers and voyageurs, such as Alexander Mackenzie, DavidThompson, Simon Fraser and Lewis and Clark since 1998 in his handmade, collapsible canoe outfitted with a small solar panel to charge one LED light, radio and phone batteries.

This summer’s journey began at Prince George and on to the Grease Trail, once travelled by Sir Alexander Mackenzie and his voyageurs, on the way to the Pacific, assisted by First Nation guides. Bill did not reach the famous Bella Coola rock which bears the vermilion painted inscription “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land 22nd July 1793” because it is only accessible by boat.

He hitchhiked back to Prince George where he had left his canoe and supplies.  From here he canoed the Nacho River to where it confluences with the Fraser River and spent 32 hours paddling 27 miles along the Fraser following Simon Fraser’s route, not Mackenzie’s.

Eventually, he is on the Peace River downstream from the Bennett and Peace Canyon dams near Hudson’s Hope, B. C. Taking his time, he reached Peace River seven days later.

During his travels, Bill tries to set up camp along a river where a tributary enters. These places usually have flat, accessible land for camping. When in communities, such as Peace River, he visits the library to use a computer to catch up on his e-mail and keep in contact with family and friends. In the case of Peace River, he visited the Museum to conduct some research.

Bill’s final destination is Fort Chipewyan.

Bill Nedderham in our Museum's Fur Trade Gallery. In the background
 is the birch bark canoe built by John Zeitoun in 2001.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July Artist of the Month

Sue Cloake is featured as the Artist of the Month for July. Sue, a local artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta, describes her work as being her "impressions of nature and an exploration of ideas and imagination".  This month's exhibit of acrylic paintings of shells from our ancient oceans are both impressionist and expressionist. The colours and repetitive patterns encourage one to imagine the life once housed in these 'houses' of shell and to think of the millions of years ago when the oceans covered this land from the Gulf of Mexico to our northern latitudes.  Along with Sue's expression and appreciation of nature's patterning, the Museum has created a small exhibit of actual fossils from that long ago time. These fossils are part of a much larger collection of Don Holt, a well-known rock hound from the Peace. Most of the fossils on exhibit are examples of what an aware hiker with sharp eyes might find along the tributaries of the Peace River.
Additional fossils, along with rocks, from the Don Holt Collection and from other local donors are also on exhibit in the Peace River Gallery this summer. Over the decades, the Museum has been a repository of historically significant items, such as the rocks and fossils, which help tell our story.