Dino Camps Kick Off with Surprise Visit from Dinosaur Expert
Dr. Phil Currie poses with wife and fellow palaeontologust Eva Kolppelhus, under the newly-erected signpost, which was designed and created by three local artists. Currie and an entourage of scientists paid a surprise visit to Tumbler Ridge on July 7.
July 7, 2003

Dino Camp got off to an extra special start when one of the world’s leading dinosaur experts happened to be in town the very morning that classes began.

Dr. Phil Currie, Curator of Dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, arrived in Tumbler Ridge on Monday, July 7 with his family and an entourage of scientists and researchers to visit the excavation site of BC’s first dinosaur bone bed. But, while in town, he graciously offered to meet the kids who are attending Dino Camp and talk to them about his life as a "dinosaur hunter."

Joining Dr. Currie in answering questions were Rich McCrea, dig team leader for the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, Dave Eberth and Darren Tanke from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and Grande Prairie’s pachyrhinosaur authority Bert Hunt. The children introduced themselves, explained their reasons for attending Dino camp and identified their favourite dinosaur. In parting words of wisdom, the children were reminded to believe in themselves, that they were spending the week in an area in which exciting new discoveries could be made, and that they should immediately tell an adult if they find anything unusual and carefully mark the site so they could find it on a return visit.

The group then visited the new interim Museum exhibits on display at the Community Centre, which Dr. Currie examined with great interest. On their way to lunch, he and his wife, palaeontologist Eva Kolppelhus, stopped to have a photo taken under the spectacular new carved signpost, created by local artists, which stands in the Roman walkway.

Finally, the entourage made their way to the excavation site, where they would use their combined expertise to shed further light on western Canada’s oldest accumulation of dinosaur bone material. Currie said, "Each of us looks at things differently and the more people you have out there looking, the better the chances of making a discovery." Daniel Helm, co-discoverer of the original dinosaur track way in 2000, presented Dr Currie with a Tumbler Ridge Dino Camp T-shirt on behalf of the Museum Foundation in the hope that he will wear it as he travels around the globe in search of dinosaurs.

The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation set out to achieve three objectives during the summer of 2003: co-launch the Dino Camp pilot project, excavate BC’s first dinosaur and create a Museum exhibit that the public could view and enjoy.

At this writing, the Dino Camp program - a joint initiative with Northern Lights College - is sold out and Camp #1 is underway. The excavation team is on site and has begun the intricate task of removing overburden and extracting bone specimens from the rock. On July 3, Mayor Clay Iles officially declared the first Museum exhibits open to the public when he flicked a light switch and illuminated the display cases that contain evidence of Tumbler Ridge’s diverse history.

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