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For week ended February 06, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS High School Student Wins Award For Book
Northern News Services (Yellowknife Canada Yellowknifer) 2Feb00 P2
By Cindy MacDougall: Northern News Services

YELLOWKNIFE, CANADA -- 17-year-old LDS Church member Ryan Silke has been honored by the City of Yellowknife with its 1999 Heritage Award for his book on the forgotten mine sites in the region. Silke has a passion for old mining sites, and the passion developed into a book published last year.

Silke lived at the old Con camp site as an infant, and has somehow developed a passion for old mine sites since then, "There's a certain flair to visiting an old property when, 50 years ago, there was quite an operation there," said Silke. "I'm interested in the change from then to now, over 50 years. The visual history."

As he came upon old mine sites on trips into the bush, Silke started researching their background, and was surprised to find that there was little information available about them. "I couldn't find a book on the subject," he said. "Someone had to do it, you know? I started looking for information for my own use. I wasn't looking to publish a book, but people got wind of it and asked me to do it."

And now Silke's book, "Report on Mine Sites in the Yellowknife Region," has been recognized by the City of Yellowknife. City councilors praised the work, which includes 100 pages of hand-drawn maps, photos and information. "I think it's a wonderful piece of work," said Coun. Kevin O'Reilly. "I particularly enjoyed the maps."

An LDS City Coun., Robert Slaven, said he wasn't surprised that Silke could produce the professional-quality book, "I've known Ryan since he was three or four," Slaven said, "and we always knew he was bright. You sort of expect this award to be given to an older person. Usually younger people are not into this type of thing."

Silke had help from Joe Heimbach, a Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development archive geologist, who edited the report. Heimbach is also impressed by Silke's work and interest in mining heritage. "I wish the youth of today would be more motivated to do things like this," Heimbach said. "Ryan shouldn't be an oddity for following his passion."

But Silke shrugs off the praise, "I didn't do it for anyone else," he said shyly. "I did it for me."


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