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Geoconservation Annual Gathering 2014

24 November 2014
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Geological Society Events
The Geological Society, Burlington House, London
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Times: 1pm - 6.30pm

This event is led by the Geological Society’s Geoconservation Committee, whose aims are to help conserve the diverse geology and rich geological and geomorphological heritage of the UK. As part of the Society’s work, we support initiatives that promote geodiversity and work with others to promote the sustainable use of geological sites as resources for education, training, public enjoyment and furture scientific research.

An objective of the Committee is to facilitate communication between regional and national funding or support bodies and grassroots geoconservation projects that go on around the country, often sustained by a small but important group of volunteers and enthusiasts.

This meeting brings together people from geoconservation initiatives around the United Kingdom to discuss fundraising opportunities and support mechanisms for geoconservation. As the impact of austerity cuts on environmental and geoconservation initiatives sets in, we will consider how best to fund and support geoconservation projects going forward.

The aim of the meeting is to support ongoing dialogue between funders of geoconservation projects, industry representatives who are involved in geoconservation and budding or potential projects, through a day of presentations, discussion and workshops.

Speakers include Drew Bennellick, Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage at the Heritage Lottery Fund and Dr David Slawson, Director at the Open Air Laboratories Network as well as representatives from several funded geoconservation projects around the UK.


  • Fundraising and Support Mechanisms for Geoconservation
  • Workshop Session
  • Effective Fundraising for Geoconservation Projects

A Draft Programme is available to download from the box to the right.

Speaker Abstracts

Dr Clive Edmonds, Peter Brett Associates LLP – Industry and Geoconservation

Increases in population and the expansion of towns and cities putting pressure upon our natural landscape in Britain calls for more carefully considered solutions when constructing major new infrastructure. A good example of this the planning and construction of new railways and motorways which carve out distinct linear corridors across the countryside which are often discordant with the landscape and/or the historical setting. We no longer have the freedom of our Victorian predecessors to build railways across open countryside as we wish – it is essential that future major infrastructure is built to minimise its impact wherever possible. Britain needs modern infrastructure to help its economic development but also needs to preserve the character of its landscapes as much as possible. Some examples of good and bad approaches to the construction of modern infrastructure will be highlighted by the talk (e.g. Twyford Down, Hindhead Tunnel, HS2).

Max Bryant, North Coast Property Manager for the National Trust and Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre

The talk will cover the geological importance of the Giant’s Causeway and how this sits with its position as one of Northern Ireland’s and the island of Ireland’s prime tourism destinations. I will explore how Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site delivers in terms of conservation; promotion, learning and research into geomorphology; community engagement and economic benefit and tourism: how this is resourced and financed and how the National Trust works with the end user, whether they be a once in a lifetime tourist or a research student. The talk will also cover the interaction between the various agencies that have an interest and responsibility for the site and undertake to explain their various roles.

Professor Barry Thomas, Aberystwyth University – Brymbo Fossil Project, North Wales

A small area of exposed Carboniferous rocks close to the ‘Brymbo Iron and steel heritage area’ shows a remarkable and important assemblage of plant fossils. Both arborescent lycophytes and Calamites are found in growth positions at several horizons, and well preserved compressions of many different kinds of different plants occur in the mudstones and ironstone nodules. The stands of Calamites stems are the most significant feature in the exposure and, as far as I know, the only such Calamites stands preserved anywhere. The exposure is, without doubt, of both national and international importance and if properly conserved could provide an unparalleled teaching, research and tourist facility. (see Geology Today, Vol. 27, No. 3, May–June 2011, 107-113)

Dr David Slawson – Open Air Laboratories Project (OPAL) Director

The Open-Air Laboratories Project (OPAL) is one of the leading environmental citizen science projects in the UK. Drawing heavily on the OPAL experience, David will explore the use of citizen science to engage people with and provide data on some of the key issues facing geo-conservation. He will also share thoughts on the challenges of securing funds to support the work, its systems and its people.


Geolsoc Contact

Donna Fitzgerald

The Geological Society
Burlington House
Piccadilly, London
United Kingdom

Tel: 0207 4349944

Fax: 0207 4398975