School of rocks
At the 2011 Minerals South Conference, the Junior Miners Program brought out the inner rockhound in many young schoolchildren
The East Kootenay Chamber of Mines held its 7th Annual Minerals South Conference and Trade Show in Kimberley in November. This year, the conference offered a Junior Miners Program, which was presented to five classes of grades 1 to 3 from Lindsay Park Elementary School. The program, designed to provide some insight into how mining plays a role in role in everyday life, was a huge hit. It was clear that there are a few budding miners and geologists among Kimberley elementary kids.
The program featured a mineral display and a Stump the Geologist session, in which the children challenged local geologist Peter Klewchuk with a number of interesting minerals to identify. The kids were able to stroll through the trade show and ask questions at the various booths. They also took home a selection of minerals and rocks and some handy mining workbooks for the classroom..
Sarah Kennedy, a Lindsay Park teacher, said that she was very impressed with the Junior Miners Program.
"It was so exciting to see the kids learning about the sources and uses of the rocks with which they are so intrinsically fascinated," said Kennedy. "The program co-ordinators did a great job of taking what can be a quite complex topic and bringing it to the students’ level."
Kennedy said that the kids were thrilled to see the world-class mineral samples, and to take a huge selection of samples home with them.
"I would not be surprised if a whole generation of rockhounds was spawned by this field trip," said Kennedy. "We are already looking forward to future programs and we are delighted and thankful that we were invited to take part in such a special program."
Darlene Lavoie, co-ordinator of the kids program, enjoyed seeing the kids explore the displays, play the games and check out the Sullivan Core Shack, a feature of the conference. It contained a display of Sullivan sulphides and rocks representative of the region. Geologist Paul Ransom, P.Geo., gave an informative talk to the kids and answered many curious questions. Grade 1 student Chloe said that she liked how the rocks glowed in the dark in the Core Shack, referring to the black lamp, or UV light, which identifies minerals that fluoresce.
"I think the program was a huge success," said Lavoie. "These kids had lots of fun. They were not even born when the Kimberley mine shut down and the program showed them why Kimberley is even here. Hopefully it will develop some interest for the future."
Lavoie said the next time the East Kootenay Chamber of Mines hosts the conference, it hopes to reach out to other schools and grades.
The East Kootenay Chamber of Mines would like to thank the Mineral Resources Education Program of British Columbia (MREPBC) for its support and help in organizing the children's program. MREPBC, which is celebrating 20 years of supporting geoscience, mining and mineral education in schools in British Columbia, aims to foster an interest in accurate and balanced minerals information through school education. It is the hope that this will stimulate a few minerals industry careers.