AME’s outreach grants have been a boon to our regional exploration group members around B.C. Aimed at furthering AME’s own five-year strategic plan (amebc.ca/policy/strategic-plan), over the past six years this money has assisted these volunteer-driven organizations to hire part-time administrative help and promote public awareness of our industry across the province.
Kamloops Exploration Group
“KEG has become better known in Kamloops and our events have attracted increased attendance since we’ve been receiving these grants,” says Julie Dormer, the outreach administrator for the Kamloops Exploration Group (KEG) over the past five years. “We try to offer all of our events free to the public,” adds Dormer. AME’s annual outreach grant has been put toward multiple lecture series, an annual Mining Day, speakers for the local museums, and school events.
Her work allows the KEG directors and other volunteers to focus on their biggest fundraiser, the KEG Conference held each spring in Kamloops. In 2012, funds from the KEG Conference allowed the organization to support local participant Justine Wild in Students on Ice, a unique program that takes high school students to the Arctic and Antarctica on scientific expeditions.
Smithers Exploration Group
The Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) also hired an outreach administrator, allowing the group to be more organized and proactive about connecting with local schools, municipal councils, First Nations band councils, chambers of commerce and government ministries.
In the spring of 2015 alone, SEG had a booth at the Gitanmaax and Gitanyow career fairs; joined local First Nations in several community-planning information sessions; presented cupcake and cookie mining activities at elementary schools; hosted numerous brown bag lunches in association with provincial ministries and local industry; sponsored two high school graduation scholarships; and promoted Mining Week 2015 with a poster campaign in Smithers. SEG is also an active supporter of Minerals North 2016 (Smithers/Telkwa) and, at press time, anticipated attracting 300 schoolchildren to the conference.
As with KEG, the AME outreach support has freed up directors and other volunteers to focus on additional fundraising and public awareness.
Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC
cmebc.com The Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC, based in Nelson, is located in its own research centre and mineral museum. It hosts the Minerals South conference every two years (next in November 2016), alternating with the Cranbrook-based East Kootenay Chamber of Mines. The organization engages numerous school groups in tours at its centre/museum, as well as arranges field trips and classes for the general public.
Curator Brad Gretchev describes his job as selling an interest in minerals. “We want to bring the Chamber of Mines into the 21st century using digital techniques to expand educational outreach,” says Gretchev, who has used Skype to lead a guest from Holland on a tour of the mineral museum and teaches classes on using Minfile and MapPlace online resources. Barcoding information for the entire collection using QR codes, which can be read by a smartphone app, has made it easy and fun for kids (and adults) to guide themselves through the museum.
“Eighty-five percent of the general public is reactive to information,” says Gretchev. “If we can get the information out there [about minerals and their uses], people are more likely to make informed decisions.”
Vancouver Mining Exploration Group
In 2015, the Vancouver Mining Exploration Group conducted its inaugural outreach program through geological consulting group Strata GeoData Services (SGDS). The brainchild of Andrew Randell, P.Geo, SGDS is divided into two specialized areas: SGDS Hive and Below BC. SGDS Hive focuses on the continued education of graduate geoscientists and works to ease their transition between academia and the workplace. More relevant to AME’s outreach program, Below BC’s (belowbc.com) mandate is to provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the rich geological history of British Columbia. It also works to engage earth science graduates on project work, giving them valuable experience.
Some projects from Below BC include:
- Mineral Mondays, when photographs of samples from the Pacific Museum of Earth’s mineral collection are shared on Facebook and LinkedIn, along with stories about the “discovery” of the specimen and the region from which it came
- A showcase at the Vancouver Gem & Mineral Show in August 2015, which was attended by over 10,000 people; BelowBC will attend again in August 2016
- Articles on urban and roadside geology throughout Vancouver and B.C.
- Educational outreach and content development, including regional mapping through field training in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood
Vancouver Island Exploration Group
In 2012, the Vancouver Island Exploration Group formed its Outreach Committee through a grant from AME, and has since been reaching out to the general public and advocating for the mineral exploration and mining industries. Mainly through luncheon meetings and short courses, the committee brings interesting and diverse speakers and instructors to the region. Hats and T-shirts were created with some of the AME grant funding, and they are presented as unique speaker gifts as well as sold at cost to “spread the word.”
AME Outreach Education Fund AME also awards grants through its Outreach Education Fund, a corporate endowment dedicated to increasing the public’s appreciation and understanding of B.C.’s mineral exploration industry through the advancement of public education and community programs.
MineralsEd goes directly into elementary schools in the Lower Mainland, teaching the “Kids and Rocks” program to children in kindergarten through Grade 3. A partnership between teachers and industry, MineralsEd encourages and supports earth science, minerals resources and mining education in schools.
Britannia Mine Museum
The Britannia Mine Museum has received several grants from AME, used for educational outreach to students in the Lower Mainland. This money has been allocated to the design and development of the Core Explore components, a rock core examination and mapping table to introduce students to one element of work in exploration. New posters and interpretive panels for the Core Explore exhibit were also developed. The museum hosts approximately 10,000 students annually as well as thousands of public visitors to the mine.
Centre of Training Excellence in Mining
In 2015, the Centre of Training Excellence in Mining (CTEM) received a grant toward co-ordination and production of the second edition of the BC Career Pathways Guidebook: Mining Careers. CTEM was created in 2013 with the aim of providing British Columbians with access to education and training programs specifically focused on careers in the mineral exploration and mining industries. The guidebook, originally prepared in 2014, communicates to prospective students, jobseekers and the general public about opportunities in prospecting, exploration and development, operations, and reclamation projects in B.C. CTEM hopes to distribute the second edition to a broader B.C. audience, including Aboriginal and remote communities.