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70 years of service

jkgThe Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) is celebrating 70 years of public service in 2017, writes Adler deWind.

A series of events has been held to celebrate GSNI’s achievements and raise awareness of what the future holds for geoscience in Northern Ireland.

Picture right: Giant's Causeway. Photo: Tourism NI

The Geoconservation Gathering was held, in conjunction with the Society’s  Geoconservation Committee, on 20 October at the Ulster Museum (Belfast). Tourism is one of Northern Ireland’s strongest economic drivers, much of it associated with geological heritage. GSNI has played a key role in establishing and assisting many of Northern Ireland’s natural attractions, including Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site, and the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark.  The Gathering focused on how geoconservation and sustainable tourism can and should work, with examples from across the island of Ireland.

gThe launch of Northern Ireland’s Geodiversity Charter (picture, left) had taken place just before.  Written by Drs Kirstin Lemon and Sam Roberson of GSNI, the Charter follows the example of Scotland and England by setting out a clear ambition to recognise geodiversity as a vital and integral part of Northern Ireland’s economy, environment, heritage and sustainable development. Over 20 organisations support the Charter, including the Geological Society.  It is hoped that their collective voice will help maintain and enhance our geodiversity and lead to raised awareness, policy integration, enhanced conservation, and continued research.

Lemon, Team Leader of Information and Infrastructure at GSNI, told Geoscientist: “Understanding and managing Northern Ireland’s geodiversity has never been so important. With increasing pressures on our resources and environment, we need to provide guidance on how to safeguard and manage this for current and future generations - and that’s exajkgctly what Northern Ireland’s Geodiversity Charter aims to do.”

Picture, right: Marble Arch Caves: Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

Almost 50 people attended the Charter launch and the subsequent Gathering, including members of the public, representatives of academia and research, local government and public agencies, landowners, NGOs, and education.