(BARKERVILLE) Nearly two dozen school teachers are hoping to find a motherlode of learning when they prospect for fresh perspectives and new resources on B.C. history here next week.

The 20-plus teachers will descend on Barkerville Historic Town for the Pathways to Gold: Heritage Resources for B.C. Educators Symposium, Sept. 24-26. The symposium will bring 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 is a wonderful opportunity for us to have so many committed educators coming to an event like this at Barkerville, a heritage site dedicated to showcasing B.C.’s living history,” said Judy Campbell, Barkerville’s Chief Executive Officer.

“It also seems fitting that ‘New Pathways to Gold’ are bringing them here.”

Teacher’s representing school districts from Prince George to Hope will attend the symposium organized by the New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS). The Society is a community-based organization dedicated to heritage tourism and First Nations reconciliation in the Hope-Barkerville corridor and neighboring regions.

“We know the challenges teachers face in finding the resources they need to teach a more inclusive story of our history,” said NPTGS co-chair Chris O’Connor.

“We hope this will act as a catalyst to create new resources to bolster the curriculum — particularly around First Nations history.”

Pathways to Gold features seminars and presentations to show educators a range of resources and activities they can access. Dr. Dan Marshall of the University of Victoria will give the keynote address, which will center on the documentary Canyon War: The Untold Story, produced by Wunderman Film of Hope, B.C.

Educators will also get perspectives on First Nations tourism and culture from Cheryl Chapman, Training and Development Coordinator for the Aboriginal Tourism Association of B.C. Chapman (who is also an NPTGS director) brings over 25 years of experience working with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, First Nation communities, businesses and all levels of government.

“Using education as a medium for reconciliation is a perfect way to promote understanding and respect for the rich history of our province,” said Byron Spinks, NPTGS co-chair and former chief of the Lytton First Nation.

Judith Cook and Richard Linzey of the B.C. Heritage Branch will detail available teaching resources (including field trips, lesson plans and online resources). They’ll also show 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 is Robin Sharpe, Barkerville’s Manager of Visitor Programs and Marketing. Sharpe will discuss Barkerville’s school visits program and outreach initiatives taken by the world-famous gold rush heritage site.

The teachers will roll up their sleeves during the Saturday session to be held at Cottonwood House (an historic site approximately 40 kilometres from Barkerville). They’ll work 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.

Theatre Royal will provide the teachers with some entertainment on Friday evening in Wells when playwright Matthew Quick presents his high-energy one-man show, ‘Tis a Grand Adventure.