Volunteers and Science

Paleontology seems unique among the sciences for the large amount of time and effort that volunteers contribute to the research activity and field discoveries.  As the 2013 Bay of Fundy Dinosaur Dig has finished, it is striking how much time and energy people contributed to the field work.  Thank you to all those in the field crew, who now know the effort involve in climbing a 70 degree slope at the end of a hot and physically exhausting day.

Mary Leaman, a geologist with Shell Canada (Calgary), traveled across the country to volunteer several days of her vacation to work at the dig site.  This was a return trip for Mary, as she first volunteered on a similar dig nearly ten years ago while still a teenager.  Gordon and Marliegh Leaman also spent many hours digging and sweeping; a unique family vacation indeed.

Mary and Gordon Leaman digging out the dinosaur site; hard and hot work.

Vicki Daley, Brian Matthews and Kimble Scull also contributed several days of back-breaking and hot work, shoveling, sweeping, jack hammering, as well as hours in sprawled on the ground while carefully exposing 200 million year old bones from the damp sandstone. The energy and enthusiasm of everyone working together was obvious every day, and good friendships have developed.

Leigh van Drecht and Vicki Daley expose dinosaur bones at the research site.

Although not volunteers, the enthusiasm and dedication of Kathy Ogden and Leigh van Drecht was essential to the success of the 2013 dig.  Kathy, Registrar of the Nova Scotia Museum, contributed previous expertise in dinosaur preparation and field work at the site. As a student Leigh was a first timer at the dinosaur dig but contributed excellent sedimentology expertise and field skills. The effort Kathy and Leigh devoted to the team set a positive tone that benefited everyone.

Digging at dinosaur site
Kimble Scull, Kathy Ogden, Leigh van Drecht and Brian Matthews work at the dinosaur site.

Keenan Richard dropped by twice to lend a hand, and he discovered the first exposure of what appears to be an articulated dinosaur digit (toe). Bob Grantham, Dr. Grant Wache, and Dr. John Calder all visited the site – and shared expertise and insight. Dr. Martin Gibling visited twice and was quick to pick up the shovel when required, but also offered additional direction to the sedimentology studies at the site.

Dr. John Calder at Wasson Bluff, with Kennan Richard and TJ Fedak.


Thank you to all of you who contributed so much to this year’s field work; your generosity and passion are greatly appreciated. The success of the 2013 Bay of Fundy Dinosaur Dig would not have been possible without you.








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