Rene Savenye Award

Rene Savenye

The BCPA's Rene Savenye Award was established in 2003 to periodically honour an amateur paleontologist who has demonstrated outstanding service to the science of paleontology or to paleontological education in British Columbia. The award was created in memory of the late Rene Savenye, noted British Columbia naturalist and amateur paleontologist. During his career as a fossil hunter extraordinaire, Rene visited a large number of fossil localities across British Columbia and selflessly contributed many of his significant fossil finds to scientific publications. As a member of the Vancouver Paleontological Society, Rene was a constant field trip leader to fossil sites, as well as a master lecturer who presented the results of his investigations to the paleontological societies at numerous, always well-attended presentations. Rene was very active in bringing the wonders of fossils to other organizations as well, and he spent much time in giving talks to naturalists clubs and school groups across British Columbia and Alberta.

Rod Bartlett 2016

Rod Bartlett is an artist and engineer, proficient with metal, paint, and brush. In addition, Rod has also worked selflessly over the past two decades to enhance the scientific knowledge of paleontology in British Columbia.

Rod has served as a volunteer Field Assistant for several field seasons on Haida Gwaii, in support of Triassic/Jurassic boundary studies with Elisabeth Carter, Howard Tipper, Peter Ward, and Jim Haggart. During these field excursions, Rod was instrumental in ensuring that equipment used was deployed successfully, and also in keeping our Zodiacs afloat! It is a testament to his skills as a mechanic and technician, as well as his devotion to the scientific cause, that we were able to use a portable drill to sample the rock across the Triassic/Jurassic boundary interval on the tidal platform at Kennecott Point on Haida Gwaii, despite 8 meter tides that inundated us twice a day and gruelling horizontal driving rain that accompanied our efforts! This work resulted in a new model of the Triassic/Jurassic extinction event that was published in the journal Science.

Rod Bartlett
Rod Bartlett, at left, with Winky Drill that he helicoptered to Kennecott Point, Haida Gwaii, to drill the Triassic-Jurassic boundary interval.

Rod’s skills as a fossil preparer are legendary. He has served as a Volunteer with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) since 1995 and during this time he has prepared several thousand specimens for study, and he has produced approximately 1200 plaster casts of fossil type specimens, for the GSC’s Fossil Reference Collection. Scores of the fossil specimens that he has prepared have been illustrated by researchers in numerous scientific publications and university student theses describing new ammonites, bivalves, gastropods, and crustaceans from British Columbia, North America, and Japan (see incomplete list below). He has also contributed as a co-author on a scientific publication. To impart his expertise in fossil preparation to others, Rod has presented workshops on fossil preparation and casting at the GSC, to the Vancouver Paleontology Society, and at the Royal BC Museum.

Rod has brought his artistic skills to the study of fossils through construction of a giant ammonite sculpture that hung for many years in the bookstore of the GSC-Vancouver office where it inspired visitors from around the world, and is now the focus of a display in the Discovery Centre at GSC-Vancouver. Rod also produced the first 3-dimensional models of conodont elements anywhere in the world, which were featured in the research of Mike Orchard.

Rod was one of the founding members of the Vancouver Paleontology Society and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the society for many years. He created the beautiful logo of the society and also designed several T-shirts that have been featured at past BC Paleontology Symposia.

Rod currently works with Dinosaurs Unearthed to construct and repair animatronic dinosaurs for displays around the world. Through his artistic efforts he has inspired many people around the world to learn more about the ancient life of British Columbia, and his efforts to prepare so many fossil specimens for scientific study have greatly enhanced our knowledge of British Columbia paleontology. Rod has never had any paleontological training, nor does he have any professional certification, yet through his efforts he has greatly enhanced the science of paleontology across our province. It is for all of these reasons that we believe Rod is fully deserving of the BC Paleontological Alliance’s Rene Savenye Award.

Scientific Papers Co-authored by Rod Bartlett

Haggart, J.W., Nicholls, E.L., and Bartlett, R. 2003. The first record of a pliosaurid (Plesiosauria, Pliosauridae) from the Lower Cretaceous of North America. Cretaceous Research, 24: 129-133.

Scientific Papers for Which Rod Bartlett has Prepared Fossil Specimens

Futakami, M. and Haggart, J.W. 2016. Early Albian (Early Cretaceous) douvilleiceratid ammonites from Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Paleontology, 90(1): 43-58.

Ward, P.D., Haggart, J.W., Mitchell, R., and Catlin, E. 2015. Quantitative morphological description of the Late Cretaceous ammonite Baculites inornatus Meek from western North America: implications for species concepts in the biostratigraphically important Baculitidae. Journal of Paleontology, 89(4): 594-610.

Feldmann, R.M., Schweitzer, C.E., and Haggart, J.W. 2013. A new genus and species of polychelid lobster (Crustacea, Decapoda, Eryonidae) from the Early Jurassic (Hettangian) of British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 50 (2): 135-141. dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2012-0120.

Haggart, J.W., Bell, K.M., Schröder-Adams, C.J., Campbell, J.A., Mahoney, J.B., and Jackson, K. 2013. New biostratigraphic data from Cretaceous strata of the Eagle Plain region, northern Yukon: reassessment of age, regional stratigraphic relationships, and depositional controls. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, 61 (2): 101-132.

Haggart, J.W., Ward, P.D., Raub, T.D., Carter, E.S., and Kirschvink, J.L. 2009. Molluscan biostratigraphy and paleomagnetism of Campanian strata, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia: implications for Pacific coast North America biochronology. Cretaceous Research, 30: 939-951.

Schweitzer, C.E., Feldmann, R.M., Ćosović, V., Ross, R.L.M, and Waugh, D.A. 2009. New Cretaceous and Eocene Decapoda (Astacidea, Thalassinidea, Brachyura) from British Columbia, Canada. Annals of Carnegie Museum, v. 77, no. 4, pp. 403-423.

Haggart, J.W. 2008. Paleontological resources of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia: synthesis report and proposed management plan. Parks Canada, Technical Reports in Ecosystem Science, 48, 81 p. + CD ROM.

Longridge, L.M., Smith, P.L., and Tipper, H.W. 2008. Late Hettangian (Early Jurassic) ammonites from Taseko Lakes, British Columbia, Canada. Palaeontology, v. 51, pt. 2, pp. 367-404.

Longridge, L.M., Pálfy, J., Smith, P.L., and Tipper, H.W. 2008. Middle and late Hettangian (Early Jurassic) ammonites from the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada. Revue de Paléobiologie, v. 27, no. 1, pp. 191-248.

Longridge, L.M., Smith, P.L., Pálfy, J., and Tipper, H.W. 2008. Three new species of the Hettangian (Early Jurassic) ammonite Sunrisites from British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Paleontology, v. 82, no. 1, pp. 128-139.

Feldmann, R.M. and Haggart, J.W. 2007. A new species of lobster (Astacidae, Erymidae) from the Smithers Formation (Middle Jurassic) of British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 44 (12): 1791-1796.

Longridge, L.M., Carter, E.S., Smith, P.L., and Tipper, H.W. 2007. Early Hettangian ammonites and radiolarians from the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia and their bearing on the definition of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 244, no. 1/4, pp. 142-169.

Longridge, L.M., Smith, P.L., and Tipper, H.W. 2006. The Early Jurassic ammonite Badouxia from British Columbia, Canada. Palaeontology, v. 49, pt. 4, pp. 795-816.

Haggart, J.W., Ward, P.D., and Orr, W. 2005. Turonian (Upper Cretaceous) lithostratigraphy and biochronology, southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, and northern San Juan Islands, Washington State. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 42 (11): 2001-2020.

Kawabe, F. and Haggart, J.W. 2003. The ammonoid Desmoceras in the upper Albian (Lower Cretaceous) of Japan. Journal of Paleontology, 77 (2): 314-322.

Past Recipients

Pat Trask 2014

In 1992, Pat moved to the Comox Valley of Vancouver Island to help promote his twin brother, Mike Trask's, discovery of the Puntledge elasmosaur. Shortly thereafter (1993), Pat began a career as a programme interpreter with the Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Center. In 1994, he received training in casting and preparation in Drumheller, Alberta and mentoring from the Royal Tyrrell Museum staff on science programming and interpretation. Utilizing that training, he has since assisted with, and led, several significant fossil excavations and is co-author of several scientific publications.

In the last twenty years at the Courtenay Museum, Pat has hosted over 50,000 visitors from around the world on fossil exploration tours to Comox Valley rivers and waterways. As well, he has presented numerous lectures on fossils, paleontology, geology, and general science at the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, Vancouver Museum, Tumbler Ridge Museum, North Island College, Elderhostel, remote communities on north and central Vancouver Island, as well as at numerous BC Provincial Parks. He was selected by BC Ferries to provide shipboard lectures on the paleontology of British Columbia on the North Coast ferry run. He has appeared in educational videos promoting the science of paleontology and a sustainable Earth. Pat is also a founding member of the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society and an Executive member of the British Columbia Paleontological Alliance. He has also been nominated for a Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce Professional Development Award.

Pat presently holds the position of Curator of Natural History at the Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Center. He continues his lifelong interest in natural history on a daily basis and encourages people of all ages and walks of life to explore the past, present, and future natural world around them. Although lacking formal professional certification, Pat has nonetheless demonstrated a totally professional ability to inspire and educate many thousands of individuals about the science of paleontology, particularly our youth. For these reasons, he is fully deserving of the BC Paleontological Alliance's Rene Savenye Award.

Pat Trask

Charles Helm 2011

The BCPA's Rene Savenye Award for outstanding contributions by an amateur to the science of paleontology or to paleontological education in British Columbia was presented to Dr. Charles Helm of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation (TRMF) at the 9th British Columbia Paleontological Symposium, May 20-23, 2011, in Tumbler Ridge.

Charles was instrumental in the formation of TRMF in 2002 following the discovery of dinosaur tracks on Flatbed Creek two years earlier by his son Daniel and his friend Mark Turner. Charles has been a tireless organizer and fund-raiser for TRMF leading to the establishment of the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre. Charles has been a driving force in the exploration of the region's paleontological resources. He is an enthusiastic field worker, collecting fossils for the research centre always with detailed field reports, and has made a number of important discoveries.

These paleontological accomplishments have occurred while Charles, at the same time, has served as Tumbler Ridge's primary and sometimes sole physician. In addition, Charles has authored several local hiking guides (including fossil sites), and written a children's book (Daniel's Dinosaurs) on the discovery of the Tumbler Ridge dinosaur tracks. The proceeds of these books have been generously donated to the museum and other community projects. He has also contributed a number of articles to the BCPA Newsletter.

Charles Helm

Graham Beard 2005

Graham Beard

At the 2005 British Columbia Paleontological Symposium held in Prince George in August, the first Rene Savenye Award for Significant Contributions to British Columbia Paleontology by an Amateur was presented to Graham Beard, in recognition of his life-long passion for fossils and the many wonderful contributions that he has made to British Columbia paleontology.

Many persons know Graham as one of the authors of the very highly regarded book West Coast Fossils. In fact, Graham has collected many thousands of fossils from around British Columbia in his 40 years of collecting, making all of these available to the scientific community for study and description. In addition, he has given hundred of lectures about the paleontological wonders of our province to fossil clubs, naturalist societies, and school groups across British Columbia. Graham was also instrumental as an early organizer in helping establish the amateur paleontology network in British Columbia, which eventually became the BC Paleontological Alliance.

Through his dedicated and selfless contributions to paleontology, Graham exemplifies the spirit and honour of Rene Savenye in every way. Congratulations on behalf of the BCPA to Graham Beard!