Yukon Women in Mining founder and president Anne Turner poses for a photo with part of the Online Mining Week virtual learning program in Whitehorse on April 15. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon Mining Week goes virtual

Four $1,000 scholarships up for grabs

Yukon Women in Mining is continuing to bring Yukon Mining Week to the territory despite the cancellation of the original plans that were in place for May 4 to 8.

Like many other events, where possible, activities that were planned are now rejigged to go online, in this case via Yukon Virtual Mining Week. The changes come in light of COVID-19.

Yukon Women in Mining founder and president Anne Turner said in an April 15 interview that the planning for an online mining week event in lieu of the planned community events and gatherings started March 10.

As more events were being cancelled or postponed around the world, officials with YukonWIM began to think about how to pivot so there would still be some sort of opportunity to share various aspects of the mining industry with communities and provide some form of networking opportunities for those already in the industry.

The original concept would have seen interactive events set up. The events provide a look into all aspects of mining — from the minerals that are mined to safety and more. In each community visited there are events for all students at the community school, followed by a public event culminating in a community barbecue that typically draws about 100 people.

This year that display would have gone to Haines Junction and Carcross during mining week with plans to also take it to Dawson City and Pelly Crossing later in the year. Mining week also sees a series of luncheons and networking events for those in the industry.

“We’re going to have a different year,” Turner said, noting that rather than focusing on the opportunities that were lost in having to cancel events, officials looked at how they could move forward in creating a virtual experience that would deliver the mining week activities to residents.

Working with others in the industry and the Department of Education, a slew of online resources were developed and aimed at all grade levels. The online activities will be available for teachers to deliver to their students through the at-home learning that is now set to happen with the remainder of the school year now cancelled. It will also be available to all through the YukonWIM’s website and social media.

As Turner said, the involvement of the Department of Education gave a “major boost forward,” allowing for materials to be directed at all grade levels.

Organizations like the Yukon Mining Alliance, Mining Matters and others also helped out with materials for the site.

Turner is expecting one of the most popular features for those in the primary grades to be Who Pooped?, an activity that has kids doing virtual exploration where they have to identify animal scat to a footprint. There’s also a colouring contest, math and matching games, the opportunity to design a coin and other activities all related to mining.

Meanwhile, as Grade 12 students focus on essential learning for the remainder of the year, the mining week activities will be a supplement to that for those who would like to participate. There’s also a prize incentive for those who do. Among the offerings for those students will be the chance to give a mock virtual tour to investors to places like the Casino project. There’s also a virtual treasure hunt where clues will be provided through watching videos and taking in information about various aspects of mining. While there are prizes for the various contests for each grade levels purchased from local businesses (funding that would have gone to travelling to communities went to purchasing prizes, which was also to help local businesses who are dealing with the impacts of COVID-19), the big prize for Grade 12 students will be four $1,000 scholarships. To be eligible to receive a scholarship, the students must complete two of the challenges at their grade level. Following mining week, the resources will continue to be available online.

“It’s meant to be a long-term resource,” Turner said, noting efforts had already been working to develop online education resources focused on mining.

Detailed information about Yukon Virtual Mining Week events and the activities will be available through YukonWIM’s website at www.yukonwim.ca and through the group’s Facebook page “Yukon Women In Mining” where there will be an event page detailing the activities for the week.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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