After more than 2 decades, hundreds of schools, many 10’s of thousands of students from K-12, and countless kilometres of road travel throughout most of B.C., my volunteering with Science World’s Scientists and Innovators in Schools [SIS] program has come to its inevitable conclusion. It is time for me to move on to further adventures, new challenges & experiences at this particular junction in life.
What a ride it has been! For 24 short years, I have addressed, informed and amused countless K-12 school groups in many cities, towns and small villages, covering all four cardinal points of the compass. From Stewart on the Alaska border, where I also addressed the Hyder Alaska students who were invited to join with the Stewart classes, all the way south to Osoyoos; and from southern and mid-Vancouver Island, to the picturesque alpine town of Golden.
Audience sizes have ranged from one extreme to the other; from a packed secondary school auditorium of a noisy crowd of over 400 grade 11 and 12s waiting to be impressed and surprised, to a quiet single-room school, located in a rather isolated village where my audience consisted of just 4 (teacher included). I’ll never forget that one because I had the best tasting hot chocolate in my life there (tiny pinch of freshly ground cardamom is the clincher).
Over these, sometimes week-long tours, I was most often home-billeted by trusting teachers and administrators. This was always my preference of lodgings. Hotel stays are so sterile and rather boring and I haven't liked them since my lengthy experiences with them as an exploration and mining geologist!
This billeting allowed me to really know wonderful accommodating people, often creating strong long-lasting friendships, some of which still exist to this very day. They became true friends.
For that, I am truly thankful and most appreciative to Science World for enabling and funding these regular week-long province-wide adventures of mine.
It has been an honour and a rare pleasure to have participated for over 20+ years in this most rewarding program. Science World is one of the best not-for-profits I have volunteered with, ever since I started doing similar science promotions, way back in the 1980’s, in my spare time, while still working as a mining geologist in Ontario.
I will, without a doubt, deeply miss the good times, but I take some solace and satisfaction in the precious memories the SIS program has created for me. I have enjoyed travelling through most of BC on Science World’s behalf over all these years.
In closing, I’m very glad I joined and stayed with the Scientists and Innovators in Schools (SIS) program, and I strongly suspect the feeling has been mutual, right from the get-go, so very long ago. Thank you once more for good times, the occasional geographically challenging venues and often less-than-perfect weather, but most importantly, for all the awesome people I got to meet during my travels.
Fondest regards, Donald Bouffard, a long-time, dedicated, volunteer geoscientist and unapologetic ‘Science Show-off’, now retired SIS volunteer.