Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Scotland Rocks - a Geology Conference for High School Students

The RSGS was behind Scotland Rocks, a conference for Higher Geology students, which took place in Perth on the 3rd and 4th March in Fife and Perth.

Scotland Rocks was  a two day conference for what could be the last group of Higher Geology students.  The RSGS  convened this conference of students, scientists and educationalists in Perth to highlight the threat to geology as an academic discipline. 

Students explore the rocks of the Fife Coast

On Sunday, the students, who represented nearly every student currently studying Geology, were taken on a field trip to St Monans. The goals of the field excursion were to: identify key rocks types around St Monans, interpret depositional environments of sedimentary rocks, make a small geological map and find some geological treasure!

The field trip was led by staff from the University of St Andrews, GeoBus, University of Dundee, British Geological Survey and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

On Monday, the students were addressed by the well-known TV presenter and Scottish geologist, Professor Iain Stewart, who is President of the RSGS. They then took part in some fascinating workshops on Volcanoes, Tsunamis, Fossils, Communicating Earth Heritage and Studying Geology at University.  

Professor Iain Stewart talks to Perth High School students
Professor Iain Stewart with some of the Perth High School Geology students.

While the conference was organised by RSGS, the original call to action came from Perth High School, where current students are desperate to see that geology continues to be represented in the curriculum.

The RSGS chief executive, Mike Robinson, has called on ministers to ensure that geology had a future in Scottish schools. “We are determined not to see this subject disappear from our schools, or be sliced and diced until there's nothing left,” he said. 

“There is a danger that this country, which has led the world in geology and geography, is turning its back on these practical and vital modern sciences through a simple lack of understanding.” 

Students building an indoor geological map at Perth Concert Hall.

The conference was organised with the help of the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and the University of St Andrews' GeoBus, with workshops and representatives from Geopark Shetland, Perth Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews.

See the programme for Scotland Rocks here: