Testate amoebae are unicellular animals with a discrete shell enclosing the cytoplasm The shells are readily preserved, are abundant in freshwater peatland and lake sediments, and can be identified to the species. Fossil testate amoebae were first discovered in the late 1800s in limnic sediments, but shortly there after were also found in peat deposits. Though testate amoebae are widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, they do not have cosmopolitan habitat preferences. Their most promising role in paleoecology lies indeciphering past hydrological conditions in peatlands. The future of testate amoebae analysis in Canada is bright, particularly inunderstanding fundamental processes of peatland development, and in peatland management schemes for forestry, and for the agricultural and horticultural industries.
The nation does not appreciate science, mathematics and technology, all central to the future of the country and the planet. The Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada worries about the supply of professionals in these fields for the next century. We have too few women in science, technology and mathematics. Education in science, mathematics and technology should start in the schools. The nation has many professionals in industry, the universities and government agencies. A national scientific society could lead and co-ordinate a long-term nation-wide program to bring a significant fraction of these professional scientists, mathematicians and technologists into the schools, enhancing educational programs.
The program would complement the efforts of teachers of science, technology, and mathematics, and would have to be integrated with the normal curriculum — emphasizing basic principles. Interaction would have to be intense at the local level, between local science, technology and mathematics groups and institutions on the one hand, and teachers and school boards on the other.
Employers would provide the time. Provinces through schoolboards and schools would provide the travel and lodging expenses.
Successful analogues are the various provincial and national programs of "Writers-in-the-Schools". Scientists, mathematicians and technologists, better funded to start with, should be able to do at least as well. Scientists, mathematicians and technologists would serve the nation well.
The Cariboo placer mining district of central British Columbia, based on the communities of Wells/Barkerville, is a classic gold rush area of the late 1850s where gold mining still continues. Production started in 1858 and by 1861 Barkerville was the largest town northof San Francisco and west of Chicago. Today the area accounts for almost 30% of the province's annual total placer gold output, valued at about $9M. Gold apparently concentrated in near surface positions by deep tertiary weathering and supergene enrichment of Mississippian-Permian metasediments, has been incorporated into unconsolidated sediments by Pleistocene glacial erosion. Much anecdotal information is available regarding past mining operations but geological data are few. On-going glacial sedimentological work in the area is trying to model the distribution of placers and to develop exploration strategies. This work is revealing much new data regarding the geology of historic and current placer mines.