Monday, June 14, 2010

Scow 2010 crew introductions: Tess Owen


I have been fossil collecting as long as I can remember. The first fossil I ever found was worm burrows found underwater at Pigeon Lake in an otherwise nondescript khaki-coloured rock intended for my rock collection at the age of six. My Dad (Tom Owen) and I first began looking for petrified wood alongside the North Saskatchewan River when I was seven or eight and, after a fortuitous dinosaur bone discovery again at the cabin (by my father) the shift turned to finding bones on the riverbed instead. I found my first dinosaur bone at age 9 by the Edmonton JCC, a small black bone that was evenly split in two. Since then we've scoured the river valley in the Edmonton region and made it a goal never to return home without at least one fossil.

Not long after we began dinosaur 'hunting', my dad became a paleo-trustee with the Royal Tyrrell Museum and we began confirming sites around the Edmonton area. When I was twelve (in 1994) one of the sites in a nearby creek had been vandalized, and when we went to survey the damage I stumbled across a sandstone slab with Albertosaurus skin impressions. To make a long story short, the Tyrrell collected the piece (a Mr. Darren Tanke came and rock sawed the piece out and we made introductions), I found myself achieving my 15 minutes of fame before I was 15, and for a short time was very popular at my Junior High school. It also fueled my love for palaeontology.

Dad and I continued to collect fossils around Edmonton, and when I finished high school I joined the crew at Dry Island in 2000 to volunteer at the Albertosaurus bonebed. I have since returned about 3 times. I joined a rock band and toured Alberta as the bassist and backup singer, and when that ended I returned to University at the U of A to study for my B.Ed. While I did not go into Palaeontology, I still kept tabs on natural sciences. I was a member of the U of A Palaeontological Society, and in January 2005 I joined Dr. John Acorn and a motley crew up to High Level to band owls. I also continued to investigate bonebeds in and around Edmonton. I also met my husband, Jason Aboughoushe, in 2003 while taking a year of studies at Grant MacEwan College. We married in October 2007.

Since 2007 I have been a teacher with Edmonton Public schools, teaching elementary in various subjects (including music, science and English language arts) to various grades. Jason and I also own a few properties that we rent out and fix up. Beginning in the fall of 2010, I will be catering to classrooms in a new capacity, with a business I've developed called PaleoKids. I will be hosting in-class workshops and 'educational adventures' centered around Dinosaurs, Geology and Natural history. My intent is to foster a continuing love for paleontology and natural history such as I had as a child. I will also be embarking on a different journey, as Jason and I are expecting our first child in January, 2011. I intend to use my experience on the scow trip to help develop resources and activities for Albertan students, and to help satisfy my love of adventure and paleo-discovery!

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