Fernie Secondary School students investigate

Genome BC Geneskool program has been delivering interactive and educational workshops to schools around British Columbia.

Genome BC ‘Let’s Talk Science’ volunteer Jake McIvor instructs Terryn Penner and Isadora Nacentes on extracting DNA from a kiwi fruit.

Genome BC ‘Let’s Talk Science’ volunteer Jake McIvor instructs Terryn Penner and Isadora Nacentes on extracting DNA from a kiwi fruit.

By Sara Moulton

Contributor

The Elk Valley recently became just a little bit safer, as a new generation of forensic experts began their training at Fernie Secondary School.

At least, that would be the ideal outcome for the Genome BC Geneskool program, which has been delivering interactive and educational workshops to schools around British Columbia for several years. Students in Biology 12 with teacher Mike Tomney were given the opportunity to extract DNA from a kiwi fruit before going on to solve a mock crime scene. The workshop was led by Jake McIvor; a Masters student from the University of British Columbia (UBC), who volunteers his expertise as part of the national ‘Let’s Talk Science’ initiative.

“The main aim of ‘Let’s Talk Science’ is to get people excited about science,” said McIvor. “Many students may have seen crime scene investigation television shows, but this gives them the opportunity to participate in their very own ‘Gene School Investigation’… or GSI!”

Indeed, although the process of extracting kiwi DNA was a little messy, the students were able to learn the steps of using forensics to solve a crime scene. Tomney also expressed his approval of such educational programs, which add variety to the regular classroom curriculum and explain the relevance of genome science to everyday life.

The Genome BC Geneskool will also be visiting other communities in the East Kootenays, including Cranbrook and Jaffray. More information on the program, as well as other Genome BC initiatives, can be found at www.genomebc.ca