Sept. 24-26, 2009: Some 20-plus teachers descended on Barkerville Historic Town for the “Pathways to Gold: Heritage Resources for B.C. Educators” symposium. The symposium brought together teachers, academics, heritage facility operators, aboriginal tourism experts and Heritage Branch officials to devise a strategy to capitalize on B.C.’s living history. It featured seminars and presentations showing educators a range of resources and activities to access. Dr. Dan Marshall of the University of Victoria gave the keynote address, which centered on the documentary Canyon War: The Untold Story, produced by Wunderman Film of Hope, B.C.

Educators also got perspectives on First Nations tourism and culture from NPTGS First Nations Co-chair Cheryl Chapman. Judith Cook and Richard Linzey of the B.C. Heritage Branch detailed available teaching resources (including field trips, lesson plans and online resources). They also showed how B.C.’s heritage can be used to deliver the learning outcomes required by the Social Studies’ curriculum and provide insights on increasing educational use of provincial historic sites.

Also presenting at the symposium was Robin Sharpe, Barkerville’s Manager of Visitor Programs and Marketing. Sharpe discussed Barkerville’s school visits program and outreach initiatives taken by the world-famous gold rush heritage site. The teachers rolled up their sleeves during a session held at Cottonwood House (an historic site approximately 40 kilometers from Barkerville). They worked with NPTGS staff and a professional facilitator to develop a concrete action plan for educators to harness existing heritage education resources and develop new ones.