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Fossil hunters host search in private quarry

Looking for something completely different? How about a fossil-hunting trip? Fans of fossils, including trilobites, brachiopods, gastropods and horn corals, should sign up for a trip the with Prince Edward County Rock, Gem and Mineral Club to a private former quarry near Demorestville this weekend.
The club was formed in 2010 when John and Elaine Zandarin took the initiative to advertise a meeting for those interested in forming a local club. Until then, the closest club of its kind was in Kingston – a club with several hundred members. John and Elaine suspected there might be enough people in the area to justify creating a Prince Edward County club.

That first meeting at the Bloomfield Town Hall attracted a variety of people young and older: from those with little experience but a lot of interest, to some with a lifetime of practical knowledge to share. Some members are more interested in geology (the study of earth sciences); others are more interested in crystals, gem stones and jewelry; others still are interested in fossils – which abound in our area.

Subsequent meetings were held in which the club was made official with elected officers, a constitution and by-laws. The constitution reads: “to be a non-profit club to encourage co-operation and information exchange among members and other clubs with similar interests, and to promote the study of mineralogy, geology, other earth sciences, and the lapidary arts.”

The club is very much about sharing knowledge and learning through field trips and guest speakers. One member is Alf Newnham, who is a member of the Kingston and Bancroft clubs, and is the County club’s Field Trip Co-ordinator. Alf has many exciting trips lined up for 2011 including one right here in Prince Edward County.

On Sunday, May 15th, Alf will lead a fossil-hunting trip to a private former quarry near Demorestville. Alf will be helping people discover many types of fossils including trilobites, brachiopods, gastropods and horn corals. Because of safety concerns, all who wish to attend must become a member of the club in order to be covered by its insurance – but signing up is easy and can be done on site. A year’s membership for an individual is $15, or $20 for a family membership.

Members can take advantage of the many field trips this year which include trips to: the Princess Sodalite Mine in Bancroft (June 11th: sodalite, magnetite, feldspar, apatite, nepheline); a full week in Thunder Bay (July 8-17) at one of Canada’s premier amethyst mines; and the Marmoraton Iron Mine (July 23: garnet, pyrite, quartz, calcite) which is of local interest as ore from this mine once came through our area on train cars to be shipped south. Iron pellets can still be found scattered all along the County’s former rail lines.

Those interested in the fossil collecting trip should contact Alf at 613-476-4893 prior to the outing and meet at 739 County Road 15, just past Big Island, no later than 9:00 a.m. on May 15.  Please bring gear such as safety glasses, gloves, rock hammers, chisels, snacks and bug spray.

The next, and last until after summer, meeting of the club will be Friday, May 13th at the Bloomfield Town Hall (289 Main Street) at 7:30pm, and will be a show and tell. All are welcome to attend regardless of experience. You don’t have to be a member to attend a regular meeting.

For more information about the club, its meetings and how to join, or upcoming field trips, you can contact them through email: or by telephoning Andrew McLuhan (Secretary) (613)476-9654.

Filed Under: Sports & Recreation

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  1. Andrew McLuhan says:

    You can also reach the club on Facebook for more information!

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