The Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, Northern Ireland, launched a geology course for teachers of all ages and abilities in early November. The course was based on a similar course successfully delivered in 2014. Once again CCGHT worked with geologist Dr. Lemon (Geological Survey Northern Ireland), geology teacher Nicole Sloane (Foyle College) and outdoor activity centre, Magilligan Field Centre to deliver the curriculum and outdoor education regulation specific course.
The course took place over four evenings followed by a one day field trip and covered basic principles of geology, supplied each teacher with literature and rock samples, outlined classroom activities related to the curriculum and provided a health and safety overview for outdoor learning.
During the field trip teachers presented activities they developed based on knowledge gained during the previous sessions while course facilitators added in location specific knowledge starting in local town Limavady, where the group explored the urban geology of the main street.
The groups next stop was Ballintoy Harbour, a coastal site already popular with local residents and visitors. The exposed cliffs at this small harbour clearly demonstrate historic volcanic activity with distinct basalt intrusions into Ulster White Limestone (Chalk). A small beach, limestone stack and relic sea cave provides an opportunity to explore changing sea levels and
erosion while a derelict lime kiln indicates that the stone here was once of economic value. The harbour was used to export the worked material.
The final location was White Rocks beach, an open beach with established sand dunes and some cliff exposures.
Currently only two schools in Northern Ireland teach higher level geology and neither University offers geology as a degree option. This course helps to give teachers the knowledge and confidence to introduce geology into their classrooms. Teachers from this course are now equipped to introduce geology into their everyday teaching and bring classes out on field trips to explore the local geology.