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Clay Pipes and Fossils: A Field Trip to Ferryland and Mistaken Point

Note: As with all of our field trips, this trip will only go ahead with sufficient numbers. Please register for this trip through the registration module to secure your space!

Date: Saturday, August 10
Departure: 8:30 a.m. from the Science Building archway
Return: 6:00 p.m. (estimated)
Guide:  Karyn Butler
Cost: $65 per person (includes lunch, coffee/tea break)

This day long field trip will leave St. John’s and travel south along the area known as the Southern Shore; it was settled primarily by Irish immigrants and still has a distinctive Irish Roman Catholic ambiance.  We will have two main stops, along with several shorter ones.  The first stop will be at the community of Ferryland where we will have a tour of the Colony of Avalon archaeological site.  The colony was founded in 1621 by George Calvert (later Lord Baltimore); archaeological research in the community has uncovered over a million artifacts which are housed in an interpretation centre on the site.

Ferryland1Ferryland2Ferryland3Ferryland 4

We will continue our drive south through several communities with lots of “photo ops”.  After we pass through Renews, the country will open up into the ecoregion known as the Eastern hyper-oceanic barrens.  If we are lucky we may see some of the Avalon caribou herd as they make their way across the southern Avalon Peninsula.

At the community of Portugal Cove South, we will be briefed on the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve.  An experienced guide will accompany our bus east on the Cape Race Road to meet the trail that will take us to Mistaken Point.  We will walk for about 45 minutes (each way) across the barrens in order to reach the site.

Mistaken Point is one of nine sites on the Canadian Tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage sites.  In the exposed horizontal cliffs of mudstone and sandstone are fossils of the Ediacara biota – the oldest complex life forms found anywhere on Earth.  We will view fossils of life forms that lived on the sea floor 565 million years ago.  More than 30 species of these ancient organisms are preserved as fossils.  They lived millions of years before animals developed skeletons, but the imprints of their soft tissues were buried by repeated volcanic ash falls.

We will be back in St. John’s in plenty of time for supper. 

Mistaken Point 1Mistaken Point 2Mistaken Point 3Mistaken Point 4

Please email any dietary restrictions to cag2013 [at] with the subject "Dietary restrictions: Ferryland/Mistaken Point field trip" by June 1, 2013. We cannot guarantee accommodations after this time.