I'll be managing things a bit differently here.
I just returned from a near week-long trip with a field comrade, covering near a thousand miles of territory. We hit quarries, roadcuts, and creeks. Armed with the literature, we read the strata at many locations, confirming if some sites were still productive.
We didn't come away with much of anything at all, but the contacts we made, the information obtained, and the camaraderie made the adventure more than worthwhile.
I simply can't say publicly where we went. In the fossil world, posting sites and contacts can mean less than scrupulous collectors swooping in or destroying the goodwill we have built with property owners. Since we've done all the footwork and door-knocking, why just give that away and risk losing a viable site?
I've been very generous about sharing my finds and sites with others, but only those I can trust, those with whom share the same collecting ethics and that I have collected with. I've even been generous here, but over the years become more circumspect about details such as specific locations. For this trip, even posting my finds might give the game away, so I'm going to be Mr. Disappointing by not doing so this time.
Couple this with the ever diminishing opportunities in Ontario. A steady decline in quarry access, an increase in development, overhunting, all contribute to those dedicated few to keep those hard-won sites private. Sites have to be found through a lot of recon and exploration, and they may require days of work to open. They may just as easily be so small as to be quickly exhausted. The fossil world is also filled with mercenaries looking for any and all leads. Even some of the more publicly known sites have steadily become victims of their own popularity, making visits there a pale shadow of what these places once were.
There will be some future extensive trips that span a week. There will be plenty more exploration. We expect to come up empty nine times out of ten. I also expect that my great, and secret, sites will yield up specimens of beauty and scientific significance. If I have a site that can, say, produce exceptional and full lichids, I'd be a fool to post specifics publicly just for a few "attaboys" and to have others pick the site clean. If there is money to be made, the vultures swoop in. It simply is not worth the broader validation to disclose information, as I have enough validation among the inner circle of collectors I trust and with whom I share my leads.
I am privy to a lot of proprietary information that I am sworn never to share. This kind of cloak and dagger situation is not one I enjoy, but it is a necessity. There is a good reason for the secrecy.
Beyond that, I have work to do. My work on the field guide on Devonian trilobites of Ontario is gradually making me a bit of a subject matter expert. I've also been accepted to present a trilobite-related conference paper that will now need its R&D. I've purchased new and better prep tools. I have exclusive and proven sites for some of the world's rarest trilobites. I hope to continue contributing to science while preserving the sustainability of fossil collecting in Ontario given these major headwinds.
There will be more posts as the month rolls along, no doubt1