Geology, Mining History, and Bat Biology Pro-D Field Study
On April 8th, 21 educators learned much more about local geology, mining history, and bat biology. This workshop was supported by CBEEN, and hosted by the Kootenay Lake Local Chapter of EEPSA. It was held at the Chamber of Mines in Nelson, BC, and the abandoned Queen Victoria Mine and Bat Hibernaculum near Beasley, BC.
Brad Gretchev gave an inspired introduction to the Chamber of Mines and spoke to the importance of mining for every day items such as smartphones. Everyone was surprised to learn about the large mining footprint of electric cars, with the batteries of each new electric car requiring 300 kg of lithium, and extensive amounts of copper for wires.
The West Kootenays have a long history of mining, going back to at least 1886. Brad told us some interesting local lore about the mining history here, and his enthusiasm was contagious.
We had to wrap up the stories before car pooling out to the abandoned Queen Victoria Mine, about twenty minutes west of Nelson. Most of this mine is now gated off to provide protection for the six species of bats that call these caves home.
A local educator with the Kootenay Community Bat Project, Elodie, taught us much more about these local species and some of the issues their populations are facing, such as White Nose Syndrome. We learned some of the ways that bat researchers are trying to slow down the spread of this parasitic and deadly fungus.
After walking to another part of the mine to see some great examples of malachite and bornite, and to eat lunch, we drove to a site just off the highway to see some more local geology, such as basalt and magnetite. Back at the Chamber of Mines, we had a rich discussion about how we will use what we have learned to enhance place-based learning for our students in a variety of grades and subjects. We also added to a digital map that is made by teachers for teachers, with favourite local spots for field trips!
Participants in this workshop are grateful for the inspiration and for the specific information that we can now use in our teachings