After a relatively quiet year in 2021, BC’s regional exploration groups were excited to return to in-person events and activities to connect and engage with the public again in 2022.
AME provides funding to regional exploration and specialist groups annually to support their efforts to engage with as many people around the province as possible. Regional groups have always been integral to the work that AME does, helping us to promote mineral exploration and geoscience to children and adults across the province.
Once again, AME is proud to provide funding to the following regional groups in 2023, and we look forward to learning about the impactful outreach they will do this year. Congratulations to:
- Kamloops Exploration Group
- Smithers Exploration Group
- Chamber of Mines of Easter BC
- East Kootenay Chamber of Mines
- Below BC
Let’s take a look back at how the regional groups connected with the public across the province in 2022:
Ask a Geologist
Kamloops Exploration Group (KEG)
Like most of us, KEG was happy to be back in person and undertaking their much-loved activities such as the Ask a Geologist series which took place in Fall and Spring and a total of 50 groups! As well as in-person school classroom visits and online activities such as Unplug & Play, KEG was most excited about hosting KEG 2022 Conference which was a great success and well-received by the industry with 354 registered delegates and 78 Exhibitors (including AME!).
The 2022 Virtual KEG Lecture Series saw 8 lectures with 496 attending live on the day and 141 on-demand views so far. As the online event presence has had such a good response, KEG will continue to include hybrid events going forward.
East Kootenay Chamber of Mines (EKCM)
The EKCM hosted several Senior Paleontology classes and field trips which were a perfect introduction to the local paleontology in the East Kootenays and to the uniqueness of the fossil sites near Cranbrook and the Elk Valley. The trip included a visit to two different fossil sites, and the participants recovered a variety of specimens that were identified and classified by their age.
In the Summer, EKCM held a 5-day Summer Camp for ages 6 to 12 years of age with a focus on geology, evolution and extinction, fossils, and paleontology. The classes were designed to be as active as possible with lots of hands-on learning about the past environments of life while understanding the changing climate that we live in now.
In addition, EKCM were glad to host their in-person Minerals South 2021 with 18 speakers, 19 tradeshow booths and over 80 conference delegates; the highlight was 120 people for the annual banquet.
Educating the Public
Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC (CMEBC)
Like the other groups, 2022 has also been a busy year for the Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC (CMEBC) with hundreds of visitors and tourists visiting them to view their mineral specimens to be educated about how minerals are used in our daily lives, to learn about the history of mining and exploration in the Kootenays and to get help with acquiring their FMC, staking claims, claim maintenance reporting and health, safety and reclamation.
CMEBC hosted 12 school classes ranging from elementary to high school giving them a presentation about the history of the Chamber of Mines and mining in the Kootenays, the current process for mineral exploration including ESG, First Nations consultation and the health safety and reclamation code.
They also held their annual Basic Prospecting Course which 16 adult students attended, and they learned prospecting procedures and ESG, MTO, iMapBC, Mapplace2, Google Earth, GPS training, mineral identification, strategic and critical minerals, industrial minerals, geochemical and geophysical surveys and placer mining.
Finally, in early June CMEBC had an outreach table at the Castlegar Rock, Gem and Fossil show, showcasing specimens from historical mines as well as spreading the message about the importance of continued mineral exploration.
Tour of the Province
Below BC was finally able to get out there this year and interact with the public at many events across the province to spread the love about rocks! Below BC kicked off the year with over 250 people visiting their table at Parksville Gem and Mineral Show in Qualicum Beach where they showered off their rock collection, including a pyrite piece from Texada Island.
After, Below BC attended Minerals South Cranbrook where they connected with 75 elementary students followed by a table at AME Roundup 2022 where they interacted with most people entering the main hall. The summer ramped up with a Field school experience which included a full day spent soil sampling, ecological surveying and making a stratigraphic section. Jennifer highlighted; “This was a great way to bring geology alive for the students. Their excitement about potentially pursuing careers in mineral exploration was great to see.” The largest event, Sam Steele Days in Cranbrook enabled Below BC to interact with over 500 people in one day.
In the summer, a successful pilot program hosted by Below BC founder Andy Randell, MineralsEd and AME showed high school students what a career in mineral exploration looks like “in the field” while getting their hands and boots dirty on an active exploration project. The program was sponsored by Yamana Gold. Learn more about their experience.
We look forward to hearing all about what BC’s regional exploration groups have planned for this next season!