A collaborative effort to protect a scientifically valuable fossil deposit in the southern Interior has been honoured with a B.C. Premier's Award for outstanding achievements among civil servants.
The McAbee Fossil Beds west of Kamloops was granted official heritage site protection in July 2012 thanks to several individuals from and the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations as well as the B.C. Royal Museum, Simon Fraser University and Thompson Rivers University.
The collaboration earned a Premier's Award in the cross-government integration category.
"This project is remarkable because it integrated the contribution of many people who identified how important it was and brought their passion into making people understand what's in here and why it's important," said Richard Hebda, a Royal B.C. Museum curator.
Two local men previously owned the McAbee mineral claim and ran the site as a tourist destination where, for a fee, anyone could go digging for evidence of prehistoric life.
"Now with the designation we can manage for its scientific, its educational, its recreational purposes. And it's for all people to enjoy," said Elisabeth Déom, a ministry senior policy advisor.
The McAbee fossil heritage site is among 311 projects and individuals receiving the Premier's Award, which will be handed out during a ceremony in Victoria this fall.
Also among the recipients is a Kamloops woman being honoured for outstanding leadership.
A Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure employee, Paula Cousins has built an impressive corporate and operational services team in the southern Interior, according to Dave Duncan, Ministry of Transportation assistant deputy minister, who nominated her.
She's also led technical entry-level training programs, which have hired more than 110 skilled workers.
The secret to successful leadership, she said, is a fluid approach.
"Sometimes you have to recognize when you need to step up and be leaders and when you need to step back and let the team function or when you need to play a supporting role."