Cover art for podcast Fossil Huntress — Palaeo Sommelier

Fossil Huntress — Palaeo Sommelier

86 EpisodesProduced by Fossil HuntressWebsite

Geeky Goodness from the Fossil Huntress. If you love palaeontology, you'll love this stream. Ammonites, trilobites, dinosaurs — you'll find them all here. It's dead sexy science for your ears. Love eye candy? Head on over to Fossil Huntress HQ at www.fossilhuntress.com

7:59

Rene Savenye: Friendship & Fossil Bees

This is a tale of friendship, tragic loss and fossil bees — and an introduction to one of the most delightful paleo enthusiasts to ever walk the planet — Rene Savenye. Rene and I enjoyed many years of waxing poetic about our shared love of palaeontology and natural history.

Rene was a mountain goat in the field, stalking the hills in his signature red t-shirt. He was tremendously knowledgeable about the natural world and delighted in it. For many years, he was Chair of the White Rock and Surrey Naturalists, while I was Chair of the Vancouver Paleontological Society. Together, we would plan and often co-lead field trips to many of the wonderful fossil outcrops in British Columbia and Washington state.

In 2002, we were planning a very exciting round of field trips. I was offered a fully paid trip to India with Karen Lund to hike to the headwaters of the Ganges, a trip which I was to forgo in favour of a hike up to the outcrops of the Cathedral Escarpment and Burgess Shale and then to yummy Lower Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous, Albian, outcrops accessed only by boat in Haida Gwaii.

Rene and I had talked about "walking in the shoes" of Joseph Whiteaves, the GSC's chief palaeontologist in Ottawa. He published a paper in 1876 describing the Jurassic and Cretaceous faunas of Skidegate Inlet and spent a significant portion of his career working out the fossil fauna of the Burgess Shale. Combining these two sites within the same field season was a fitting homage.

John Fam, Vancouver Paleontological Society (VanPS) and Dan Bowen, Vancouver Island Palaeontological Society (VIPS), did much of the planning for that Haida Gwaii trip, they too being inspired by Whiteaves papers and the work of James Richardson and George Dawson — as a whole, we were giddy with the prospect of the year ahead.

Rene and I had planned to do both, but in the end, I had to give up the hike to Burgess that year and Rene never made it back to join me in Haida Gwaii. In the days before the official trip to Burgess, Rene did some solo hiking in the mountains and hills near Field, British Columbia. He was excited to explore Wapta Mountain, Mount Field and Mount Stephen, ever mindful of collecting only with his camera.

He walked through the hallowed footsteps of Joseph Whiteaves and Charles Doolittle Walcott over ground that should have been named La Entrada de Dios, The Gateway of God, for each footfall brought him closer to meeting the big man. While a naturalist, Rene held to the belief that once his days were done on this Earth, he would be breaking bread in heaven above.

Rene started with clear skies and a pack full of geology hammers, maps and chisels. As the day went on, the skies filled with rolling clouds, then thunder. Grey sheets of rain covered the landscape. Seeing the danger of being solo in darkening weather, he started back to his car but never made it. On the afternoon of July 28th, he was struck and killed by lightning — a tragic loss.

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