Join Eastern Ontario Natural History Society / Société Paleontologique d'Ottawa

Before you may join you must agree to our rules. Read through the rules, then at the bottom either agree & proceed, or disagree.

Website Liability

We will not guarantee the accuracy, validity, integrity or security status of any content on this website, and will accept no liability from any issues that may result from it. We do not scan all hosted files for viruses.

User posted content is out of our control unless we have known about the presence of it for at least one full week.

Trademarks and copyrighted material are to remain the property of their respective owners. Club members agree that any intentional or unintentional violation of these laws is the responsibility of the individual club member engaging in the violation.


Website General guidelines

Staff have the right to edit, censor, delete or otherwise modify any content message they feel is inappropriate, without any warning given to the poster.

Acceptance of these rules implies acceptance of the privacy policy (which includes details of how this website uses cookies). Acceptance of these rules implies acceptance of the code of conduct for members.


Eastern Ontario Natural-History Society /
Société Paléontologique d’Ottawa
Code of conduct


Most of the areas mentioned in this list have actually not been problems in the past for the club. However, given the experience of other organisations, and as the society's internet presence increases, we are now asking all members to agree to the following code of conduct.


If you have issues with any part of the code of conduct, please raise it at the next general meeting and/or directly contact the society's executive.


1a. Respectful Conduct
1b. Scope of society activities
1c. Scope of discussions regarding scientific theories
2.  Members will avoid commercial promotion via the society's activities and website
3.  Society members take sole responsibility for ensuring any material uploaded or shared via the website is consistent with fair dealing as described by copyright law in Canada
4.  Society members undertake responsibility to assist field trip leaders in ensuring the following
5.  Cooperation of private collectors with scientific research
6.  In collecting and in purchasing of fossils, society members will ensure the fossils’ origins are properly document and that the fossils comply with provincial or national laws
7.  Rules of order and Constitution
8.  Racism and infrahumanisation


1a.  Respectful Conduct


Society members will refrain from ad hominem attacks, libel or slander while participating in society activities.


1b. Scope of society activities


Society members will treat other society members with respect. We recognise that a wide variety of religious and non-religious positions can be compatible with the study of science and will avoid criticising or ridiculing any belief system. The society will not be used to promote a specific religious position. The one exception is the case of only those religious doctrines which specifically relate to the conduct of science and scientific methods, assuming that the overall tone of the discussion remains respectful.


Society members will refrain from using the society's meetings or website to discuss political issues which are unrelated to the natural sciences. However, if the issues related directly to the natural sciences, such as science funding, science education, protection of natural heritage sites, or are issues related to understanding contemporary and future environmental changes (e.g. climate change) - then discussion of these issues is welcome within the club. Once society meetings have come to an end society members are encouraged to have a broader discussion with any other members who are willing.


1c. Scope of discussions regarding scientific theories


This section is not beyond question; rather it is a set of guidelines for acting within appropriate boundaries when creating and implementing society policies. Society members are welcome to disagree with, challenge, and reform it (assuming they can gain the support of all interested society members).

  •  Discussions during meetings should be non-disruptive and focus on the practical side of scientific theories, such as: The natural phenomena, the predictions of theories, and how the predictions are derived by the theories.

  • Theories of transmutation of species (i.e. organismal evolution) are currently held by the majority of scientists to be very useful and of extreme interest for research. Discussing and learning about these theories is essential for understanding contemporary science.

  • Sciences require the existence of; and tolerance for; a diversity ideas. Consistent with ensuring respect for this vital pluralism in ideas, the society supports the coexistence of multiple perspectives. For a purported 'science' to be treated seriously as a science it should 1) make concrete predictions of use to scientists, 2) be refutable, 3) tolerate the exploration of other theories, and 4) encourage a scientific attitude which doubts or questions existing ideas (even if such questioning might be perceived by some as heresies). It is reasonable to demand that a theory meet these criteria if it is to be considered to fit within the club's scope of activities.

  •  Scientific theories of organismal evolution do not by themselves represent a moral value system, or a program for society. While some specific religious beliefs may come into conflict with such theories, the exploration of scientific theories does not represent an attack on religious belief. We further reject any argument that implies that the majority of biologists and geologists are rejecting valid evidence as part of a conspiracy to mislead or misguide.

  • The society is intended to provide a safe venue to encourage an interest in science for everybody. The club will not be used as a venue for attacks on religious beliefs, whether it be atheists criticising theism, or believers in separate creation attacking the consistency of believers in theistic evolution. Derogatory remarks regarding religious beliefs are not relevant to discussing scientific theories.

  • The club may pass on information to the membership of events held by other organisations which are not covered by the society's policies (pending the approval of the sitting president, and vice-president or communications officer). This mechanism can also be used for presentations offered by society members which exist in a grey area (e.g. religion’s impact on the social history of science). If the event is part of an organisation with broader goals regarding religious beliefs, the executive will append a note to this effect, and expressing the neutral position of the society itself with regard to religious matters.

Note: Dr. Karl Popper has been highly influential on subsequent attempts to empirically define what constitutes a science. His article on 'conjectures and refutations' is a good starting point for understanding the 20th century philosophy of science. This lecture by Dr. Pepperell, may prove useful to some:


2. Members will avoid commercial promotion via the society's activities and website:

  • Repeatedly promoting a website (e.g. through false URLs). If the majority of your posts redirect to the same website we will consider it spam and take appropriate measures.

  • Selling products or services through the society's website without written permission from the society's executive (the exceptions are professional fossil preparation services, and announcements of activities organised by the other local clubs with similar interests).


3. Society members take sole responsibility for ensuring any material uploaded or shared via the website is consistent with fair dealing as described by copyright law in Canada:

See this supreme court judgement for a technical description of these laws:


For member convenience I am providing a short summary. This summary may contain inaccuracies and actual court cases are based on a number of factors including past court decisions and details of the present case. This summary should not be considered legal advice:

  • Canadian copyright extends to 50 years after the death of the author or 70 years after first publishing of a recording. Photographs taken before 1949 are in the public domain.

  • If modern work contains material from previous publications that are in the public domain the original material remains in the public domain and can be reused.

  • The principle of fair-dealing provides some protection for reproducing works. The courts may find that reproduction of a copyrighted work was justified based on some mixture of mitigating conditions. Mitigating conditions may include 1) research and private study 2) distribution of small numbers of copies for non-profit educational purposes 3) production of copies which are destroyed after use 4) reproducing a small portion of a work, or the smallest amount possible for the purpose 5) if no other non-copyrighted alternative publication is available for the purpose 6) if reproduction of the work does not lead to a loss of profits for the copyright owner.


See d’Agostino (2008) for a discussion:


4. Society members undertake responsibility to assist field trip leaders in ensuring the following:

  • All field trip participants have the prescribed safety equipment for the field trip

  • All field trip participants wear their safety equipment when appropriate

  • All field trip participants maintain situational awareness when splitting stones, or using hammers, chisels or picks.

  • All field trip participants are of the prescribed age for the given field trip (if age restrictions exist) and have paid for a society membership in order to cover insurance costs.

  • All field trip participants are aware of the stability of rock surfaces and keep away from large unstable rocks. All field trip participants avoid the area directly above or below a cliff which is greater than three metres in height.

  • All field trip participants are in a state to drive and avoid parking or working in an area exposed to traffic.

  • That any field trip participants who are young or infirm have assistance in carrying their equipment and material to-and-from their work area, and if necessary have assistance having some rocks brought to them.

In addition to the society's ethics code, members also agree to abide by the Central Canadian Federation of Mineralogical Societies “Code of Ethics for Rockhounds”:

  • I will respect both private and public property and will do no collecting on privately owned land without the owner's permission.

  • I will keep informed on all laws, regulations or rules governing collecting on public lands and will observe them.

  • I will, to the best of my ability, ascertain the boundary lines of property on which I plan to collect.

  • I will use no firearms or blasting material in collecting areas.

  • I will cause no willful damage to property of any kind - fences, signs, buildings etc.

  • I will leave all gates as found.

  • I will build fires in designated or safe places only, and will be certain they are completely extinguished before leaving the area.

  • I will discard no burning material - matches, cigarettes, etc.

  • I will fill all excavation holes which may be dangerous to livestock. I will not contaminate wells, creeks or other water supply.

  • I will cause no willful damage to collecting material, and will take home only what I can reasonably use.

  • I will leave all collecting areas devoid of litter, regardless of how found.

  • I will co-operate with field trip leaders, and those designated in authority in all collecting areas.

  • I will report to my Society or Federation Officers, or other proper authorities, any deposit of material on public lands which should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations for public educational and scientific purposes.

  • I will appreciate and protect our heritage of natural resources.

  • I will observe the "Golden Rule" and will use "Good Outdoor Manners" and will at all times conduct myself in a manner which will add to the stature and "Public Image" of rockhounds everywhere.


5. Cooperation of private collectors with scientific research:

Society members will assess the quality of their finds, and if their finds are exceptionally well preserved or unusual, society members will make their finds available to the scientific community.


6. In collecting and in purchasing of fossils, society members will ensure the fossils’ origins are properly document and that the fossils comply with provincial or national laws:

  • Be aware that regulations vary by province. Do your research before you travel within Canada.

  • Regulations may apply to collecting on private property (even with permission of the owner). Some regulations may also apply to specific types of fossils (e.g. vertebrates, horseshoe crab trackways).

  • Fossils purchased from other countries may violate their export laws. One should not purchase such fossils unless one can verify their origin and that they do not violate the laws of the locale in which they originate. This is particularly important because the grey and black market trade in fossils does significant damage to many fossil sites and undermines the work of scientists.


A somewhat dated summary can be found here:


7. Rules of order and Constitution

Society members and executive members will abide by the society's constitution, bylaws and rules of order, found at this link: Bylaws and rules of order of the Eastern Ontario Natural History Society / Société Paleontologique d'Ottawa


8. Racism and infrahumanisation:

The characteristics that made us most human are the ones that allowed us to expand into niches around the world. Traits like cooperation, investing effort in children, and intelligence. These are traits of use in any environment around the world, and any genes which encourage them should spread rapidly through a population once introduced via intermarriage.

To suggest that some populations are intrinsically (that is genetically) significantly lower in such characteristically human traits is to treat them as less human. Such infrahumanisation is potentially offensive and poses a threat to social cooperation based on treating all people as equally human.

Such concerns would be trumped by scientific fact if science did show such differences. However, not only does evolutionary theory predict that such universally useful human traits should be widespread, there is also a lack of evidence of significant variation in such traits between populations - a fact which contrasts with genes useful for specific environments (such as skin colour).

Holding these observations, and recognising the fundamental harm posed by infrahumanisation, we agree to not permit the society to be used as a platform for questioning whether some human populations lack characteristically human traits.