FOSSIL FIND  An image of the Orygmaspis Spinula, a half-billion-year-old sea creature that will be on display at Pynelogs from May 7th to 9th. It is the world's first known pure crystal trilobite. Photo submitted

FOSSIL FIND An image of the Orygmaspis Spinula, a half-billion-year-old sea creature that will be on display at Pynelogs from May 7th to 9th. It is the world’s first known pure crystal trilobite. Photo submitted

Submitted by Wings Over the Rockies Festival

Numerous events scheduled during the Wings Over the Rockies festival (throughout the Columbia Valley from May 4th to 10th) illustrate how passionately residents of the spectacular Columbia Valley value our environment. Presenters will describe projects that nurture nature by enhancing wildlife habitat, restoring ecosystems, and protecting animals.

On Monday, May 4th and Thursday, May 7th, forester Brad Munroe leads a field trip into a plot west of Peters Hill on Toby Hill Road, the site of a strategic wildfire prevention initiative. Also on Monday, wildlife biologist Irene Manley shows where, on the Hoodoo-Hofert Conservation Property, wildlife trees have been created for nesting Pileated Woodpeckers, Mountain Bluebirds and White-breasted Nuthatches.

On the morning of Tuesday, May 5th, biologist Kari Stuart-Smith demonstrates Canfors strategies to maintain biodiversity, particularly birdlife, throughout its logging operations. At Lake Enid, on Tuesday afternoon, you can help stock the lake with 750 Rainbow Trout from the Kootenay Trout Hatchery or join Wildsights Gail Berg and Baiba Morrow on a tour of a restored riparian zone.

In both the morning and afternoon on Wednesday, May 6th, elder Herman Alpine, archaeologist Nicole Kapell and biologist Dr. Will Warnock explain the importance of the salmon to the Ktunaxa First Nation and describe efforts to eventually restore the salmon run in the Upper Columbia River Watershed.

In the afternoon, and again on Sunday, May 10th, John and David Zehnder conduct a bird and wildlife walk on their ranch and discuss conservation projects to protect wetlands and preserve Mountain Goat habitat.

Ross MacDonalds carpool tour into Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 7th visits the parks new wildlife crossing project designed to prevent wildlife-automobile collisions and animal and human fatalities.

On Saturday, May 9th, with the guidance of a Kootenay Park ecologist, participants learn how the Sinclair Creek area has been restored from a dense forest to open forest and meadow, improving habitat for Bighorn Sheep.

These projects are the initiatives of Wildlands Eco-Forestry, the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations, the Nature Trust of BC, Canfor, Wildsight, the Ktunaxa Nation Council, the Zehnder family and Parks Canada. All emphatically declare: We care!

Also during the Wings Over the Rockies festival, earth scientists will unearth mysteries preserved in the bedrock of the Rockies, the Purcells and the Columbia Valley: fossil remains of ancient life, clues to the landscapes formation and historically mined ore.

During Wings week, Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron, Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum, will offer numerous opportunities for us to learn about the recent remarkable fossil discoveries in the Burgess Shale of Kootenay National Park. In a luncheon presentation on Friday, May 8th, Dr. Caron will provide an insiders view of the field research conducted in the summer of 2014.

That same afternoon, hell lead a tour into Marble Canyon to explain the geological features of the area and how they relate to the fossil discoveries. On the morning of Saturday, May 9th, hell join Cam Gillies on a birding walk enriched with insight into the formation and location of fossils. Dr. Carons keynote address at Saturday nights Gala Dinner will explain the exciting significance of the new fossils, previously unknown soft-bodied creatures. Finally, on the morning of Sunday, May 10th, hell lead a paddle into the Columbia Wetlands, the probable source of the fossils of tomorrow.

Chris Jenkins, an avid amateur fossil hunter, will deliver a Thursday, May 7th luncheon presentation about trilobite fossil beds he has explored in the Cranbrook area. Then, on Thursday and Friday afternoons, hell demonstrate how to split fossil rocks to unveil trilobites.

Geologist Ron Grams and biologist Karen Reid will conduct a Friday hike through a Spillimacheen wetlands property, discussing the geo-tectonic origin of the Columbia Valley, along with the history and bird life of the area.

On Monday (May 4th) morning and Wednesday (May 6th) afternoon, geologist Walter Benstead will lead a drive up the Panorama/Toby Creek Road where rock faces expose the geology of the Purcells and the events in the formation of the Columbia Valley. With geologist Mark Mauthner, rock hounds can collect copper minerals at the old Swansea Copper Mine on Wednesday or quartz crystals and ore samples on Paradise Ridge on Thursday.

Register for these events at, or fly by Pynelogs to register in person up until May 1st on any of these days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.