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Fossil Realm is a proud member of the AAPS - Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences
Jim Lovisek, co-owner/operator
The best way to get to know Jim Lovisek is to chat with him about fossils and minerals. When it comes to Life and Earth Science, Jim's enthusiasm is unmatched and his knowledge is expansive.
Jim's passion about nature, combined with an adventurous entrepreneurial spirit, has coloured his professional life. In addition to a decades-long involvement in commercial paleontology, he has worked as a research scientist (biologist), educator, nature camp director, and animal trainer for the film industry.
After graduating from university, Jim eagerly embarked on a journey to the Amazon jungle. In Leticia, Colombia his fieldwork concerned the endangered Amazonian manatee. Later, his research focus shifted to the population biology and ecology of Caiman Yacare, a crocodilian in a remote region of the lowlands of Bolivia. Up until that point, very little was known about this elusive species.
Upon returning from the Amazon, Jim worked at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in the Ichthyology and Herpetology Department (Fish, Reptiles and Amphibians). During his 5 years at the museum, he was involved in many research projects, including a Mayan archaeological dig in Lamanai, Belize.
Educating the public has been a high priority for Jim. For 16 years he co-directed the Toronto Nature Centre summer children’s camp with his wife, Liz. During this time he also presented hundreds of hands-on wildlife programs to children and adults across Canada.
In the early 1980s, Jim, and his wife Liz, began selling fossils and minerals at the Toronto Nature Centre gift shop. A dedicated retail location was opened soon afterwards on Avenue Road in mid-town Toronto, and, from this point forward, Jim delved into commercial paleontology.
Since 2002, with the help of his son (and eventual business partner) Peter, he has reached collectors and enthusiasts worldwide through online sales. Now, the burgeoning Fossil Realm collection is housed in Vaughan, Ontario (just north of Toronto).
For over 30 years, Jim has also worked as a professional animal wrangler for the film industry. He has trained and handled a wide range of creatures, from spiders and snakes, to hawks, macaws and reindeer. His work can be seen in major Hollywood films and Imax productions.
Jim enjoys nothing better than spending days in the field searching for fossils and minerals.
Peter Lovisek, co-owner/operator
Learning about science and nature has been a lifelong passion for Peter. At the University of Toronto he studied biological psychology and anthropology; however, his academic interests are far-reaching and include evolutionary biology, the philosophy of science, as well as art history.
Some of Peter's best memories are of the countless family outings to collect fossils or prospect for minerals. His love of fossils and minerals further developed while attending his parents' summer camp, the Toronto Nature Centre - first as a camper, and then as an instructor.
Peter continues to be captivated by these fields and is committed to educating people about paleontology and geology. Recently, he developed hands-on workshops for elementary schoolchildren on fossils and human evolution. Through these initiatives, and because of Fossil Realm, he has been able to share the awe that he once experienced as a child when he first held a fossil. Coming into close contact with a remnant of prehistoric life...millions of years old...is an experience like no other!
Peter is also an active member of the Royal Ontario Museum's Young Patrons' Circle - a philanthropic organization that supports the ROM's exhibitions, educational initiatives, research and expeditions.
Above all, Peter hopes to share his wonderment and appreciation for natural history with as many people as possible.