MUSEUM FOUNDATION TO CELEBRATE TUMBLER RIDGE 25th ANNIVERSARY
WITH TOWN HALL EXHIBITS
Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation
Box 1348 Tumbler Ridge, BC V0C 2W0
Contact: Dr Charles Helm, Vice President – 250 242 3984

November 2, 2005

Industrial activity often leads to fossil discoveries, and the new mines in the Tumbler Ridge area are no exception. During the construction of its rail loadout, NEMI has uncovered a number of interesting plant fossils. Employees of the construction contractor, Tercon Construction Ltd., first noticed these in the rock cuts built at the rail loop. Recognizing the importance of these discoveries for the region, NEMI has donated these fossils to the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, where they will be studied by a palaeobotanist, catalogued, and eventually exhibited.

These beautiful large leaf fossils, from the Dunvegan Formation, are from an interesting age, when flowering plants were just beginning their “population explosion” in areas often trampled by dinosaurs. Some of the leaves are of exquisite quality, and show the intricate bite marks of Cretaceous invertebrates. Understanding the plant environment helps piece together the dinosaur story, and these finds are therefore of considerable importance.

NEMI is anticipating a lot more than just plant fossils. Coal seams often lie adjacent to sandstone beds which contain dinosaur footprints and possibly bones. In a proactive step the company invited the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation palaeontologists, Rich McCrea and Lisa Buckley, to address the workforce this spring and explain what to look for and report.

NEMI’s Manager of Technical Services Kevin Sharman explains the NEMI perspective: “Uncovering the rocks during mining provides a fascinating glimpse into the past. The equipment operators, who are moving this material every day, are best positioned to make these finds, and they are interested in discovering new fossils. We would like to contribute these discoveries to the museum so that they can be studied by scientists and enjoyed by all.”

The Museum Foundation appreciates the example that NEMI is setting to industry, of co-operating with the local community. Thanks to actions like this, the vision is sustained of coal and resources leaving the region, but nonetheless leaving behind a legacy in Tumbler Ridge that will endure.

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