In partnership with Mining Matters (Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada) we developed a Youth Outreach workshop for schools and teachers entitled “Mines to Microbiomes! Exploring the Mining Cycle and Treatment of Mine Waters”.

Over fifteen Mines to Microbiomes! Workshops were delivered from September 2019 through February 2020 and reached a total of 509 students and 22 teachers from the Greater Toronto Area, Deer Lake, Newfoundland, Neskantaga First Nation, Ontario, and Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake, Nunavut.

Mines to Microbiomes! is a free, active, and hands-on learning opportunity to explore connections between water sustainability and the mining industry. Each workshop brings water research scientists directly into Grade 7 and 8 classrooms, where they engage students to learn about the industry’s environmental impacts and management of water resources.

Exposing students to current, real-world issues through active learning enhances interest in science and the environment. Students learn how the mining industry and environmental scientists collaborate to ensure protection of our water and ecosystems. They learn about the link between chemistry and microbiomes in mine waters, and get hands-on experience with chemical reactions (neutralization of acid) widely utilized in treatment.  Students are shown widely used techniques and introduced to frontier expanding concepts.

We also participated with Mining Matter’s at their learning station at this year’s 2020 PDAC Convention, where we reached another 60 students (high-school age) and ranked highest among the activities in the students’ evaluations. The learning station provided a great model for practical science in sustainability, environmental monitoring, and women working within the minerals industry. Overall, the activity has been deemed very successful. We are looking to expand its reach moving into 2020-2021.

High-school aged students at the PDAC Convention participating in “Mines to Microbiomes!” with developed education outreach material and example sheets from the hands-on learning experience that was delivered to 500+ students across Canada this year.