Island Studies Lecture series presents: Unearthing the mysteries of Prehistoric PEI

Island filmmaker Will Beckett will discuss his documentary on the prehistoric history of PEI
Friday, January 19, 2018
Will Beckett

Island filmmaker and photographer Will Beckett will be the first speaker in the 2018 Island Studies Lecture Series. Beckett will bring his childhood fascination with prehistoric life to the Faculty Lounge of UPEI’s SDU Main Building on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:00 pm. Beckett will discuss the behind-the-scenes adventures of making his forthcoming documentary series, Prehistoric PEI.

Beckett spent the past three years making the first documentary about Prince Edward Island’s little-known prehistoric past—a journey that’s taken him as far as Philadelphia, PA, in his quest for an answer to the question: where have all of PEI’s fossils gone?

In 1845, a farmer unearthed one of Canada’s very first fossils in New London, PEI. Islanders still find fossils of plants and animals embedded in cliffs, lying openly on the beaches, and buried under the soil. The public seldom hears about these discoveries, and even more rarely do they get a chance to see them unless they visit museums in Ontario or Nova Scotia.

PEI’s fossils paint a fascinating picture of a time long before the dinosaurs when the land teemed with a variety of life. Will’s lecture covers the inspiration for, and the information around, the documentary and the discoveries he’s made along the way. He’ll also offer a sneak peek of some of the documentary footage, along with a glimpse of what Prince Edward Island looked like 290 million years ago.

Originally from St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia, Beckett now lives in Charlottetown. He’s worked as a crew member on TV projects such as CBC’s The Songs of Gene MacLellan and The Stats of Life. He’s also acted in commercials and appeared in the Island-produced feature film Kooperman.

Admission to the lecture is free. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Watch for another lecture about islands—near and far—March 20. For more information, contact Laurie at or 902-894-2881.

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

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