National News

Meridian teacher brings Idaho history lessons home from Sierra Silver Mine Tour

Posted July 12

— For most, summer is a time for travel and leisure, but for Idaho teachers, lesson prep doesn't get a summer vacation.

"When the school year was over, I said to my family, 'We're going to learn about some of those places that I taught this last year," said Shamarie Hart, a fourth grade teacher at Meridian's Siena Elementary.

As an Idaho history teacher, Hart says she's using her summer to better educate herself in Idaho's complex past. That's how Hart and her family ended up in Wallace, Idaho on the Sierra Silver Mine Tour.

Once a working mine, the Sierra Silver Mine became a tourist attraction in 1982. The mine's ore bodies were hardly rich enough to warrant active mining; assays ran about 1/2 ounce of silver per ton of ore mined, according to the tour's website.

The loss for the mine's former owners is now the gain for those interested in Idaho's mining history.

Retired miner Fred Bentley, a.k.a. "Fast Freddy", is now a tour guide. On the hour and 15 minute tour, Bentley demonstrates pieces of mining equipment those who aren't miners might otherwise never get to see.

"It was incredible, almost hands-on," Hart said. "To see it is so incredible, and I'm really excited to go back and tell my students what I experienced."

Hart says it's not just knowledge she'll be bringing back to her Treasure Valley classroom in the fall.

"It brings that passion to life," she said. "[It's] that excitement for what you're teaching, which then you can portray to the students, which makes it more exciting, more real."

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