The Jurassic Coast Trust is blessed with a superb cohort of Ambassadors in the Exmouth area. As well as assisting on the recently opened Jurassic Coast Mural in Exmouth, our team have been busy delivering outstanding public engagement at a couple of local events.
Heath Week Festival Day – by Guy Kerr, Jurassic Coast Trust Programme Manager
Heath Week is a brilliant annual event run by the RSPB, Clinton Devon Estates and East Devon District Council, and plays host to these and many other local organisations with an interest in the natural environment. The week encourages communities to be inspired by the spectacular nature on their doorstep. One of the week’s most popular events is Heath Week Festival Day, held on Woodbury Common.
This year, the Trust had a Jurassic Coast stall alongside Clinton Devon Estates’ fabulous model Rhynchosaur, “Woody”. As it was the 10th anniversary of his commissioning, we threw him a birthday party, complete with geological layer cake made by our Ambassador Chris’ wife Jane.
Across the day, our Ambassadors spoke to hundreds of people about the geology of the local area and how it connects to the wider story of the World Heritage Site. We also offered “pebble pet” painting for children, utilising a local quarry’s discarded pebbles, and our Ambassador Anthony led a couple of guided geology walks. The East Devon pebblebeds are a fundamental part of the World Heritage Site, and it’s a privilege to be able to engage people with their local geological heritage in this way.
Exmouth Kite Festival – by Jurassic Coast Ambassador Chris Woodward
This year the Jurassic Coast Trust was invited, along with other charities, to attend this superb event, held annually in August at a spectacular location overlooking the extensive Exe estuary.
It is organised by Exmouth Rotary Club, who this year offered a cash prize for the charity that was able to attain the most number of votes from the public, both in the lead-up to the festival and at an “exit poll” held at the festival itself. I am proud to announce that we won!
Our local Ambassadors put on a spectacular experience for the public over the two days, drawing in crowds of interested visitors local, national and international, aided by wonderful dinosaur models and an audio element that blasted our roars and growls across the showground.
Once attracted by the above, there were a huge amount for visitors to see in our twin gazebos, including large museum-quality rock & fossil specimens from along the 95 miles and 185 million years spans of our World Heritage Site.
As well as this there was the opportunity to paint fossil casts, create personal Triassic pebble pets, learn more about the Jurassic Coast and take part in the Geological Time Wheel of Fortune game. For those who wished to take home a souvenir of their day, we offered a variety of hand-crafted jewellery items as well as the Trust’s exclusive pterosaur kites.
Our success in the public vote goes to show both the public’s interest in the Jurassic Coast and its incredible stories, and the hard work of our Ambassadors in bringing those stories to life.
Geology, geomorphology and paleontology are not dull topics for dusty old libraries, but vivid and dynamic sciences with enormous relevance to our everyday lives and the natural world around us. It is our duty as Ambassadors to continue this work, and to engage communities across the World Heritage Site with our message.