The Alberta Palaeontological Society (APS) demonstrates the role that an amateur society can play in outreach and education. APS was incorporated in 1986 as a non-profit organization to promote the science of palaeontology through study and education, and to make contributions to the science by:
- the discovery and responsible collection of fossils;
- the curation and display of fossils; and
- the preservation of fossils for study and for future generations.
APS works with the professional and academic communities to aid in preserving and understanding Alberta’s heritage, and hosts a variety of public educational and outreach events.
APS maintains a fossil collection that includes fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants, as well as microfossils and ichnofossils (fossil tracks), primarily from Alberta, but also from other areas of North America. All fossils were obtained and are maintained in accordance with applicable laws.
APS holds monthly lectures on a broad range of palaeontological topics at Mount Royal University in Calgary. These allow students, professionals and amateurs to present their research to the public, and practice their presentation skills to a varied audience including children, amateurs and professionals. All meetings are free to the public. Field trips for APS members are held in the summer.
APS holds an annual symposium in March that allows amateurs, students and professionals to share their work. The symposium, now in its 22nd year (March 17, 2018), features a full day of talks, posters, networking and a printed abstracts volume. Sponsored by Mount Royal University, the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and APS, this event is free to the public. Hands-on workshops are held on the second day. This year’s workshop (March 18, 2018) focused on brachiopod basics.
APS has been aiding scientific research by extracting microfossils from matrix for over 14 years. Up to 20 APS members and volunteers from the public gather for nine 2.5 hour long Saturday afternoon sessions from November to March. APS has sorted microfossils for scientists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology since 2003 and for the University of Calgary since 2013. These researcher-supervised sessions are held at no cost (thanks to Mount Royal University providing the room and microscopes without charge) and are open to the public (no experience required).
Other APS outreach activities include annual participation in a Rock and Fossil Clinic, the Calgary Gem and Mineral Show, and the Earth Science for Society event. APS members also present talks for schools, youth groups and Historic Calgary week.
If you are interested in presenting a talk, workshop or poster at an APS event, contact the APS program coordinator at [email protected].
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