Casey Burns 

Wind Instrument Maker and Occasional Paleontologist

My 8th grade science fair project of extracting fossil pollen from coal caught the attention of the local science museum in Portland, which ran a science research center for high school students. The paleo wing was run by David Taylor, who suggested that I pursue my interest in the nearby marine Keasey Formation. We visited the legendary Mist crinoid locality  my first exposure to crinoids  and I was immediately hooked and fascinated. Thus, instead of attending sockhops and football games, I spent my high school afternoons and weekends obsessed, crawling all over NW Oregon looking for echinoderm fossils, or working at an S. S. White sandblaster that threatened to give me chronic bronchitus! Summers all of us headed to the Hancock Field Station in Eastern Oregon where we dug up large Eocene vertebrates (boring....), and enjoyed the 60's a few years late. Hancock became the center of our universe and community. Everyone called me "Crinoid".

My college advisors frankly told me there was no point in continuing my echinoderm obsession. I should have gone elsewhere, but at PSU, a geology student was basically trained to find oil for the oil companies (not what I wanted to pursue, especially as a militant bicyclist!), so I went after other interests in and out of school and eventually created a career as a self employed maker of wind instruments, such as wooden flutes and unusual species of bagpipe. My paleontology interests waned, especially as I moved farther away from NW Oregon. During that time, unfortunately, the Mist locality was more or less illegally mined for commercial purposes  I should have been paying more attention  and any thoughts of returning to this fascination seemed remote.

Eventually, my family and I moved outside of Seattle. A few years later, a group called the Northwest Paleontological Association formed and met at the Burke Museum at UW. I quickly found myself involved as the Association's newletter editor. Through field trips, contacts and access to the Burke's underbelly as a volunteer, I began to explore western Washington's paleontology avocationally, as well as reexploring NW Oregon's. One day, while examining a Keasey Formation locality that had produced a largish (20cm) isopod, my wife Nancy stumbled upon a very nicely preserved spatangoid. Further collecting produced several more.

Liz Nesbitt, curator of invertebrate paleo at the Burke, suggested that I contact her friend Rich Mooi at CAS, who kindly took me under his wing to study these together, and to provide me with some necessary guidance and instruction. This was just the beginning, and was the rekindling of my fascination with these wonderful echinoderms. Since then, we have been working on several fronts together, and have enjoyed several great moments of wit, repartee and friendship. Our first paper, "An Overview of the Eocene  Oligocene Echinoderm Faunas of the Pacific NW", is currently in press.

I very much enjoy this experience of riding the fence as an avocational paleontologist, working with fellow amateur collectors who have provided me with several important specimens (all of which will end up in appropriate repositories!) or assisted in the field, and with professional paleontologists and biologists who graciously recognize the passion, value and legitimacy of my activities.

Casey Burns  Wind Instrument Maker and Occasional Paleontologist

9962 Shorty Campbell Road  Kingston WA 98346 USA

(360) 2974020

Casey Burns has contributed additional "unusual" echinoderm images that can be found in


Grigory Winter

lecturer of  Cherepovets branch office of Russian Academy of Education University; post graduate student of the faculty of Geology of Saint-Petersburg University.


This picture was taken a month

after the windfall  of a  new 

Echinodermata in Cherepovets 

(with the favorite cat Susanna 

on the shoulder)

I was born in the year 1969 in the Russian Far East, in Vladivostock-city. My parents are famous in Russia philologists and did a lot to provoke my interest  in natural history. The first collection of minerals and rocks was presented to me before my going to school. In the year 1982 my family went to European part of Russia to the steel city of Cherepovets.By this time the collection of rocks and minerals become bigger and included some fossils. In the year 1987 I entered Vologda State Pedagogical University, the faculty of Natural Geography, where I studied paleontology and geology for 5 years, specializing in geology of the Northern European part of Russia. In the year 1993 I began to work at Cherepovets State University at the chair of natural history and ecology.

At this time I described several rocks and minerals unknown in Vologda region. In 1996 I made my main windfall in the historic center of Cherepovets at the bank of river - the representative of unknown species of  Ophiocistia class. In year 1997 I began to work at Cherepovets branch office of Russian Academy of Education University where larger possibilities for creative work were given. Working there I take post graduate courses at the faculty of Geology of Saint-Petersburg State University.


Due to poor investigation of Vologda region the sphere of my interest is very wide and includes many questions in geology and paleontology.         

 The spheres of the interest:

  • description of not investigated semiprecious rocks and minerals
  • founding and description of rare representatives of sea fauna of Carbon
  • reconstruction of the found fossils (team-work with Mr. Roman Fedorov  - the head of Cherepovets University Biological & Ecological laboratory)
  • investigation of the modern relief of Vologda region forming process due to  plate-tectonical model of construction of lithosphere (taking Severnie Uvali Hills - the largest hills of the North of European part of Russis as example)
  • analyses of the mould of the forefoot of Notosaur found in Cherepovets in the summer of 2001.
  • studying of phylogenetic table of Echinodermata due to the windfall of Augustina winteri

The results of my researches are published in the bulletins of the scientific works of Cherepovets scientists and in the report of regional geological department. At the end of 2001 year a special brochure "Conception research of Severnie Uvali Hills"  was published in the local State University (Cherepovets).

Grigory Winter has contributed to the Current Research Focus with his report:

New Echinodermata (Ophiocistoidea) found on the North-East of Russian Plate (Europe part of Russia)


My E-mail is

fax is 7 (8202) 575 765;

phone number is 7 (8202) 572 312.

The address is -

Mr. Grigori Winter

Pervomajskaja Av. 35 -37


Vologda region

Russia, 162612