OAIMA wins award for public outreach efforts

By |  March 11, 2016

The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) named the Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) a recipient of one of its annual Mineral Education Awards.

OAIMA received an award in IMCC’s Public Outreach category for developing an innovative and multifaceted minerals education program that promotes awareness of the need for aggregate, rock and mineral resources.

“The members of the Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association are extremely honored to be recognized by the IMCC for our education and outreach activities,” says Pat Jacomet, OAIMA executive director. “The members of the OAIMA are passionate about education, and it is important to continue these efforts in order to maintain our vital operations.”

According to IMCC, OAIMA embarked on a partnership in 2012 with the Miami County (Ohio) Park District. The project initially provided backpacks and educational rock box kits to children in area schools as a reward for completing the Family Quest Nature program.

Later, OAIMA helped to develop and participated in the park district’s annual weeklong Hug the Earth program. The Hug the Earth program was developed to be both informative and entertaining, according to OAIMA. The association supports and funds the efforts, providing materials and member volunteers who freely donate their time. New and innovative activities are used to engage children in the learning process while having fun.

For example, a rock and mineral dig activity involves creating piles of natural sand in which rocks and minerals mined in Ohio are interspersed. Children are given buckets and shovels and an allotted amount of time to “mine” for rocks and minerals. Participating children use an identification panel OAIMA developed to identify the rocks and minerals they collect and learn how they are used in their daily lives.

“The average citizen is generally unaware of where the materials come from that build the roads, schools, homes and products that we use daily,” Jacomet says. “Outreach programs like those for which the OAIMA has been recognized are a critical element in maintaining and strengthening our industries’ workforce and providing jobs and materials for future generations.”

OAIMA also collaborates with Wright State University’s Departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Teacher Education on Project STONE (Science Teaching for Ohio’s New Economy), a professional development program. Teachers of grades K-12 attend a two-week workshop in the summer where they learn how to infuse earth science content into their inquiry science lessons and other curriculum.

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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