Dr. Sonia Talwar is the Director of the Geological Survey of Canada (Pacific Region) where she leads a dedicated team of researchers and scientists interested in the evolution of the Cordillera, seismology, marine geology, and risk assessment. The GSC delivers on federal geoscience priorities and provides science advice to inform Canada’s economic, social, equity, diversity and inclusion objectives.
Engaging with Geoscience: Connecting Geoscience Literacy and the Evolving Next Generation of Geoscientists in Canada
With a vision to “provide geoscience information to underpin the responsible development of Canada’s geo-resources, and serve the public good”, the Pan-Canadian Geoscience Strategy (the ‘Strategy’) recognizes the importance of geoscience understanding that is foundational to responsible land management and resource decisions including geological resource development.
While the Strategy outlines five pillars of focus, this talk highlights two: 1) how public geological surveys frame the emerging challenges for the next generation of geoscientists; and 2) how geoscience literacy can be foundational to responsible resource development. Examples will be provided of 1) how the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) is training the next generation of geoscientists and 2) how the GSC is building trust in and public awareness of geoscience to support broad societal goals of equity, diversity and inclusion as we chart a pandemic recovery path for Canada at home and through our trade connections internationally.
Examples include a student hiring and mentoring program at the federal level within Natural Resources Canada called Sistering Indigenous and Western Science (SINEWS). SINEWS aims to advance reconciliation and increase representation in geoscience by pairing Indigenous and non-Indigenous women to co-develop and deliver a research project that can braid Western science and Indigenous Knowledge and create opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The GSC is an active supporter of this initiative.
The GSC supports the development of best practices for geoscience engagement and building capacity in using geoscience information through partnerships with science outreach organizations and developing plain-language materials about geoscience projects.
The GSC has prioritized maintaining respectful, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous communities through its geoscience initiatives. To strengthen this work, the GSC has established the Indigenous Relations Network (IRN), an internal community of practice focused on supporting the GSC’s capacity to engage meaningfully and respectfully with Indigenous communities on research. The IRN develops tools and builds capacity within the GSC to support these goals.