From prospecting to committees to education to government, the volunteers who build British Columbia’s mineral exploration industry represent every part of the community. Each year, AME recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions of these volunteers through several awards. The Frank Woodside Past Presidents and Chairs Award recognizes distinguished service to AME and/or contribution to the mineral industry.
John Murray won the award in 2007. I served with John on the AME board, the Communication and Marketing Committee, and the Editorial Board for this magazine. John’s idea for framing the industry’s message to the public is consistent: Keep it simple. Never miss an opportunity to speak out.
He did that on the AME board from 1999 to 2017 (with a one-year break in 2006-07) and on at least half a dozen committees for many years. Outside the industry, he was past president of the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce ![Don Bragg | Barry Price]() and served seven years as a director with the BC Chamber of Commerce, bringing the concerns of the mineral exploration and mining sector to the table.
Don Bragg was an early winner in 2002. Don is a self-employed prospector and a profile in this magazine in 2012 captured him perfectly. “I want to bring some solutions to the problems facing the industry,” Don said. I have come to know Don through committees over the years and on the AME board. What strikes me in an age of loud, uninformed and often rude opinions is that Don is a man who never fears speaking out but always in a measured, respectful manner.
Sheila Stenzel won the Woodside award in 2017 for filling a gap that Don Bragg and John Murray often identified – teaching the school kids what exploration and mining are all about. In 2017, Sheila and Maureen Lipkewich were acknowledged for the Mineral Resources Education Program BC – now called Minerals Ed.
“It is always wonderful to learn from teachers how much our programs support them or their students – whether at a workshop, a Roundup program or a field trip,” Sheila says. “One of the neatest experiences: an elementary student from a Richmond school who was in our inaugural 2004 Roundup Rockhound class (Grade 4) went on to UBC Mining Engineering, came back to Roundup in 2016 as a Roundup Rockhound volunteer as a Rockhound Guide.”
Sheila also encourages the new generation to volunteer. “Whether leading a teacher field trip, being a guest speaker at a school, giving a presentation on mineral exploration to the Rockhounds, or teaching children about diamond drilling with cake and a straw, industry volunteers sharing their expertise and passion make great educators and great ambassadors for our industry. They make a difference.”
“Volunteering can be a tremendous learning experience,” advises 2001 Woodside award winner Tom Schroeter. “There’s no better experience for learning how problems are solved, and developing self confidence and public speaking skills than volunteering on a committee.”
Tom was the regional geologist in northwest B.C. and then head of the B.C. Mineral Development Office. “I did a lot of work liaising between the governments and industry, and I made a conscious effort to involve a broad range of people from government to students to the public.”
One highlight of Tom’s work on behalf of the industry was being part of the CIM Special Volume 46 Porphyry Deposits of the Northwestern Cordillera of North America published in 1995. “We assembled a collective group to document the wealth of information available. It was an experience no one forgot,” he says. The message from Frank Woodside award winners is that, in Tom’s words, “It’s a thrill to be nominated by past presidents because these people are prestigious and distinguished.”
If you know an AME member who deserves recognition for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the mineral exploration industry, nominate them by visiting amebc.ca/what-we-do/awards.