UBC Okanagan summer field school returns to Myra Canyon

UBC Okanagan summer field school returns to Myra Canyon

2008 summer field school student Sasha Moore digs carefully through a small section of land, looking for clues that may help shed light on the men who built the Kettle Valley Railway trestles at Myra Canyon in the 1910s.

Want to learn about archeology and history -- and help uncover the past of the Kettle Valley Railway? The UBC Okanagan summer field school is gearing up for another season of discovery and learning at Myra Canyon in the rugged hills overlooking Kelowna.

Set up by Richard Garvin, associate professor of archaeology, and Maury Williams, associate professor of history, the field school is part of a four-year archaeological research project that explores the long-lost camps of the labourers who built the legendary Kettle Valley Railway.

"As UBC professors, we feel it's part of our job to educate and engage the community and involve our students," said Garvin. "We wanted to see UBC Okanagan actively involved with history and anthropology work in the Okanagan Valley."

That’s why professors Garvin and Williams opened the field school to both university students and community members who can register as access studies students. The field school runs from July 6 to August 17, and includes two courses -- one in anthropology and another in history.

“It is a very eclectic program,” Garvin said. “Students do a little of everything: they use chainsaws, they work on mapping and surveying, they have to write papers and communicate orally with the public, they are taught the more refined skills of digging, and they learn conservation of items and cultural resource management, too.”

Students are introduced to archeology through a combination of classroom time and extensive on-site work in Myra Canyon. The history component covers the story of the Kettle Valley Railway through faculty and guest lectures.

Members of the public are welcome to register for summer field school courses as access studies students without meeting the normal prerequisites. Standard UBC Okanagan tuition fees apply, and there is an additional $500 lab fee. To find out more about enrolling in the 2009 summer field school, contact Richard Garvin (Richard.garvin@ubc.ca or 250-807-9340) or Maury Williams (Maurice.williams@ubc.ca or 250-807-9332).

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