International geosciences conference at BU to welcome school groups, families

Closeup view of crystals

A major geosciences conference coming to Brandon University (BU) next month is going to be more than an international gathering of experts. It’s also going to provide an amazing and free educational opportunity for students and families in western Manitoba.

Brandon University will host the GAC-MAC-PEG 2024 Geosciences Conference, from May 20 to 22, with 300 to 400 attendees from around the world expected to attend. A full program of academic seminars is planned, including sessions on topics such as meteorites, dinosaurs, natural hazards, critical minerals and Indigenous relations.

Unlike many conferences, this event is not for experts only. Organizers are planning to offer plenty of activities for school groups and families, including a booth staffed by BU Department of Geology volunteers, featuring demonstrations, games and prizes. They’ll also offer tours of the Geology department to check out their impressive array of minerals and fossils, and the opportunity for students to meet with scientists and grad students to learn about what they do. The Mineralogical Association of Canada is offering free mineral identification kits to educators and families. On-site rock doctors will even give you a chance to finally identify that mystery rock you have sitting at home (don’t we all have one of those?).

A skeleton of a raptoral dinosaur perches on a dinosaur bone in a display case
Jerome, Brandon University’s resident Dromaeosaurus, welcomes visitors to the John R. Brodie Science Centre.

“This is our first time hosting this conference, and we felt it was very important to put on an event for the whole community,” said conference chair Dr. Paul Alexandre. “By welcoming students and families, we are able to provide a unique window into this rapidly growing field, particularly for STEM-minded kids who are thinking about what they would like to pursue in their education.”

The GAC-MAC-PEG combines the annual meeting of the Geological Association of Canada and the Mineralogical Association of Canada with the International Symposium on Granitic Pegmatites. Pegmatites are crystal-containing igneous rocks, such as quartz, feldspar, mica, tourmaline and gems. In addition to talks on a wide range of topics, the conference will feature an exhibition hall that will house poster presentations from geoscientists and graduate students.

“This is a unique occasion for Brandon to host a major international event and to bring so many scientists and professionals together in one place,” said Dr. Hamid Mumin, a Professor in BU’s Department of Geology. “We learn a great deal from our peers in the field, and this will also a wonderful opportunity for our students to grow and make academic and industry. I’m excited to open our doors to the geoscience community.”

More information about GAC-MAC-PEG 2024 can be found at, or email

A collection of colourful rocks in a display case
Visitors will be able to tour BU’s Department of Geology and view its collection of mineral samples.


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