Impacts of PESGB funding: Gloucestershire Geology Trust
In January 2017, the Gloucestershire Geology Trust received £1,000 from the PESGB to run a series of Dinosaur Events to tie into the PESGB’s GEOLiteracy Festival which showcased the work of Professor Kenneth Lacovara.
After a series of setbacks with the pre-arranged venue, the Museum of Gloucester kindly stepped in and hosted a Dinosaur Workshop and “Dinosaur Eggstravaganza” over the Easter Holidays.
The Head of Geology, Dr Alice Kennedy, also had the fantastic opportunity to help out at the Aberdeen Science Festival and listen to Professor Lacovara’s talk. This was an invaluable experience for Alice, both in terms of listening to the talk and having the opportunity to talk to such a brilliant palaeontologist, but also to experience outreach at another centre, which directly influences her work with the Gloucestershire Geology Trust.
With the funds from the PESGB, the Trust were able to breathe fresh life into our dinosaur outreach supplies, purchasing some fantastic skull replicas (which have proven very popular at subsequent events). These include: Rexy McRexface (a ¼ size T-Rex skull), a triceratops and a velociraptor skull (which is a wonderful example of how popular culture sometimes gets it wrong!). We were also able to commission a Dinosaur creator to make some props which demonstrate the size difference between dinosaurs (and us!) which beautifully tied into Professor Lacovara’s talk.
The wonderful thing about this funding, has meant we could create some new displays which have been fantastic for further outreach events. This includes a sauropod footprint which is at least a ½ scale smaller than it would have been but it also teaches the children about the different number of toes, and one can extrapolate up about their walking style too.
Inspired by the materials at Aberdeen Science Centre, some of the PESGB funding was used to make a dinosaur sandpit, which has proved very popular! It was made by Dr Kennedy using building materials and a dinosaur sand pit model!
The Dinosaur Workshops were delivered by Dr Kennedy and a member of the Geology Panel for the GGT who is a palaeontologist, Pete Lawrance. These were booked up within days of advertising and at least one PESGB member attended. 15 children were allowed in each session, and had to be accompanied by an adult. For two days over the Easter holidays the workshop run twice a day and were fully attended. 60 children were able to make their own dinosaur to take home (using plaster of paris) and learn about dinosaurs, their diets, how long they lived for etc. 60 parents also learnt new facts about dinosaurs!
The “Dinosaur Eggstravaganza” was an activity booklet that encouraged children to find golden eggs around the museum using clues. This tied into the Museum’s displays. The eggs then had the name of a dinosaur on the underside that the children needed specific letters to spell out the name of the largest dinosaur discovered – by Professor Lacovara!
We also ran a social media competition for the winner to get one of our dinosaur posters, if they coloured a typical dinosaur scene in and posted it on our social media channels.
This funding not only had a direct impact on the children who took part, but has also given us better outreach material for schools and events (and we have been very busy with the skulls!). It has also helped us in establishing more connections and coverage which is always important in helping the GGT to continue its work of recording, conserving and promoting the rocks of Gloucestershire by earth science education.