Students, families and youth groups were some of the engaged learners drawn to Stampede Park this spring for the Earth Science for Society Exhibit (ESfS).

The event, which took place from March 17 to 19, saw the society celebrate their ninth time of showcasing geosciences, put on by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

The head chair for the Earth Science committee, Marissa Whittaker, was first approached by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) to help educate junior high students about earth science impacting our daily lives. 

Earth Science for Society Exhibition. Video by: Casey Richardson & Mollie Smith

In 2010, the ESfS was established as a hands-on interactive exhibition encouraging youth to interact with various earth science exhibits while completing scavenger hunts in the process. Whittaker has seen a progression in youth as they learn about earth sciences.  

“We have seen certainly a large increase in the kids and the impact that our event has,” she says.  “We have teachers who are very interested in coming and return every year. The number of exhibitors that we have keeps increasing, as does the demand of the school kids.”

earth scienceThe head chair for the Earth Science committee, Marissa Whittaker, takes time to look through the exhibits herself at the Big Four Building on the Stampede grounds. Photo by Casey Richardson 

A veteran exhibitor, Rajeev Nair from the geoscience department at the University of Calgary, has been in attendance at this event since its inception.

“It’s really important we actually show how our lives are entwined with the resources around us,” Nair explains. “Most of those resources actually come from the earth. This is an event that showcases the importance of geology and earth sciences to society.”

Nair hopes the one thing that youth take away from this exhibit is appreciation of the world and an understanding of scientific aspects, all while having fun. 

“It’s a lot of fun. They can learn a little bit of science from doing fun activities. That’s the focus.”

Another exhibitor of the event, Dan Moore, or “Yukon Dan,” is a mining enthusiast from British Columbia and hopes to spread mining fever to the public and the youth.

“Everything comes from mining, your truck, your cell phone, your iPads,” Moore says. “Without mining, we don’t have these items. Mining’s extremely important. That’s what we do, is open up eyes to these people.”

Marissa Whittaker believes earth science is important to understand as we are surrounded by it every day.

“I realized that everything around us that doesn’t come from a plant or an animal comes from the earth,” Whittaker explains, “By understanding how we use the earth is why I’ve become interested and involved in this event.”

This year, over 1,800 students, 400 youths and 400 members of the general public were in attendance at the ESfS. The event will be back next year to educate more people on the importance of earth sciences.

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