Over the past couple of months, I have attended a few events hosted by the CAGC, and I thought I would give you a student’s perspective of these experiences. It was suggested to me by one of my mentors that I meet with Mike Doyle to discuss what the CAGC had to offer. In the meeting, Mike and I talked about the upcoming Symposium in Red Deer as well as an educational field day called "Seismic in Motion". I was thoroughly impressed with Mike's dedication to the student population and his gracious offer for me to attend the two events.
On Sept 21/2011, I hopped in my car and headed north. The symposium was held in Red Deer and offered talks on a plethora of subjects. I was a little reluctant about attending, feeling like most of it would be over my head, but this couldn't be further from the truth. The topics ranged from avalanche rescue to a discussion involving a possible bottleneck in faller certification, although a couple really stood out. One was a talk given by Don Thompson on a statistical study on water and land usage in the oil sands. He made stark comparisons between land usage for strip mining and in situ extraction, stating that only 0.1% of the total field is at a depth suitable for mining. While the scars on the land look horrific from the air, these resources are an imperative in today’s society. Never mind the implications on transportation, think of all the products and technologies that stem from cracking long chain hydrocarbons. It makes you wonder where the environmentalists are getting their numbers from or if they are just "shooting from the hip" so to speak. I am a bit of a "tree hugger" myself but I sure do love all of the comforts that I enjoy because of this resource.
Later in the afternoon a panel affiliated with the First Nations provided insight into some new protocol and policies. I found this quite informative, as it showed the processes involved in doing work on First Nations land. This seemed to cause quite a stir with the attendees of the symposium. After all of the information was presented, a flurry of questions followed. I don't intend to offer my opinion on this subject, but “through the eyes of a student” it was very interesting to see the debates that ensue with hot topics. It showed me the level of confidence that it takes to ask the hard-hitting questions and demand results.
A few weeks after the symposium, I threw on my raincoat and rubber boots and headed west to attend "Seismic in Motion". This is a field day organized by the CAGC and put on by a number of companies involved in the data acquisition process. The day began with a short bus trip into the foothills to a ranch where they had stations set up to walk people through the seismic process. First on the agenda was a station showing the transport of explosives. We then continued on to the area demonstrating the different types of drills used for shot holes. It was nice to get up close and personal with the equipment that is used in the field. The tour carried on to a demonstration of a high angle rescue, which displayed an ability to shoot seismic from any place. After a hot lunch we were shown how to “stomp a jug” and were given a tour of the data recording trucks, which were collecting data from a nearby Vibroseis truck. The day was rounded off with a mock helicopter rescue followed by dynamite! I’m pretty sure that was my favorite part. When I felt that energy wave travel through the ground, it seemed to bring the science that I study and love into focus. I really feel that it is important for anyone involved in the industry to attend this event and I am even considering speaking with the university to get this field trip inserted into the introductory geology program. It was an excellent learning experience.
I want to thank Mike Doyle and the CAGC for organizing these events and allowing me to attend. Keep up the good work!