On Saturday March 19, we'll be hosting our first DIG Day - Delving Into Geoscience. Visitors will have the chance to learn about volcanoes, fossils, minerals
and more, thanks to enthusiastic volunteer professional geoscientists who are keen to help share their love of this fascinating science. But why is
this day important?
Throughout my career which has involved a lot of geoscience education, it has often been a science that many find unfamiliar. Countless kids love fossils, dinosaurs and minerals, but when it comes to what we learn in school, it generally takes a back seat to other sciences. But without geoscientists, we wouldn't have the minerals that make this laptop that I'm currently typing on, or the increasing knowledge and developing early warning systems for earthquakes that are important to places such as southern BC.
There is a growing shortage of geoscientists in Canada (as in other countries). Many are involved in the mining or oil and gas sectors, and many are approaching retirement. Even with a current downturn in industry, there is still a concern that the future will pose challenges if we cannot train new geoscientists. So what does this have to do with DIG Day?
Here at the Museum, yes we aim to educate, but an important goal for us is also to inspire. It can tough on a short visit to a museum or science centre to really absorb the information that is presented to you, even more so when you are a kid. But what museums and science centres can be great at is inspiration. I spent many an hour in the mineral gallery of my local museum as a teenager. They had quite a impact on my career choice.
For our upcoming DIG Day, we have partnered with the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists BC (APEG BC). They have recruited a few of their PGeos (professional geoscientists) to come along and engage with visitors. Visitors can look at fossils under the microscope, try their hand reconstructing the Pangaea supercontinent, build mini mountains from sand and flour, make dinosaur dioramas or discover what minerals are used to make products in the bathroom. We will also have our dinosaur footprint on display, as well as, for the first time, our black smoker chimneys - hydrothermal vent chimneys from a volcano on the Pacific Ocean floor.
For kids already into rocks and fossils, it's a chance to learn even more and to talk to 'real' geoscientists. For those thinking about geoscience as a career it would be an ideal time to find out what it's like to work as a professional geoscientist. And for those who think 'what's geoscience?', it's a chance to come along and discover what makes planet Earth tick.
Header photo: Diplomystus Dentatus from the Green River Formation, by Seth Sorensen via Creative Commons