Geopark Project brings AHS and BJHS together again - by Regan Williamson (2F) and Mr K Turner (Geography Department) Shetland has had the status of Geopark since 2009. In that time there have been many opportunities for pupils to get involved in educational activities piloted by Geopark Shetland. In May 2010 an S2 class worked with Baltasound Junior High School (BJHS) to discover the volcanic history of Northmavine. In May 2011 Class 1F (now 2F) headed to Unst to work alongside BJHS to piece together the complex geology and subsequent human land uses of the North Isles. Hopefully our links with the Geopark team and with BJHS will continue. Here is a report by one of the pupils, Regan Williamson, who was part of the AHS team that braved the wild weather of Unst back in May!
rock and an experiment was done to evaluate the water content of the land. Moss was weighed and then the water was squeezed out and the weight reduced by 50%. The Keen of Hamar is the biggest area of serpentine debris in Europe making the plants here very special. Hagdale Horse Mill was the biggest Chromite quarry in United Kingdom in its time and has now been restored, with information showing how it once worked. At Urgarth the wind and rain picked up but the show must go on. Groups looked at two fields on the Oceanic rock and the focus was people and how the land is being used, two fields were being looked at one with cows and one with sheep and how these differed.
“Between 22nd of May and the 24th of May a class from Anderson High School 1st year met up with the 1st and 2nd year of Baltasound Junior High School to continue the partnership between the two schools which last year saw them go to Eshaness.
The field work fits in with the Sheltland Ophiolite trail packs that are now available to the public. The videos and pictures from the days have been uploaded to the Geopark Shetland website. On the final day some pupils worked on creating video’s and told the story of Unst through art in the sand.
The aim of the project was to explore the unique geology that is found in Unst. The two groups met on the Sunday night at Norwick beach to get to know each other and enjoy a BBQ. Norwick beach is special and unique as you can see the Oceanic rock and the Continental rock which shouldn’t happen as Oceanic rock is usually 35 kilometers under the sea but they can both be seen side by side in Unst. On the Monday the pupils mixed into groups and staff from Anderson High, Baltasound Junior High and Robina and Rory from the Amenity Trust to go and do field work which included the hill of Saxa Vord, Keen of Hamar, Hagdale Horse Mill and Urgarth. Saxa Vord is continental
During the trip we stayed in the 3-star Gardiesfauld hostel. Craig Smith from 1F said “It was educational but sometimes the weather was demoralizing but staying away in a hostel was enjoyable” Geopark Shetland’s Robina Barton said “the geological story in Unst is quite challenging but the pupils have worked well to bring it to life and to show how it is relevant to us today” Work completed by the group can be viewed in the education section of the Geopark Shetland website (www.geoparkshetland.org.uk). It is hoped that the lessons learned from this trip will help to shape some of the materials available to the public via the website.
Picture shows pupils investigating how geology has an impact on vegetation.
AHS September 2011 Newsletters