The creation of similar displays

Many schools, colleges and local authorities may be interested in creating some sort of geological display. Local authorities and individual architects make parks and gardens all the time. Why should there not be a geological component in the contract?

To build a display one must first have an enthusiast to galvanise everybody - to convince them that the project is both important and within their power. Then one needs a local or national firm which is willing to back the idea with money; a geologist to give expert advice; an architect to make it beautiful, safe and enduring.

The enthusiast may be any of these people, or none. He, or she, may be a parent, a teacher, a member of a local authority or a local amenity group, but having caught your enthusiast, there is work to be done.

A good geologist is vital - someone who can see deep into the rocks, imagine them moving, molten, deep below the ground; think in hundreds of millions of years; watch the chemical reactions, the slow crytallizations, the transformations by heat and erosion, the evolution and and eventual fossilization of now extinct species; understand the extraction of stone and its uses in modern and ancient buildings. Having all this insight, he/she must be able to convey it in simple work sheets to those who know nothing of the subject. This conversion of profound knowledge into simple concepts is the basis of everything. Schools have artists and writers in residence - why no Geologists in Residence?

A Geological Garden can be a very visible and long-lasting advertisement. Many firms and big companies may be willing to back such a high profile and permanent display. The money spent on one single television commercial would provide half a dozen splendid geological displays, with the sponsor's name discreetly displayed on each, to be used by thousands of people over half a century.

The Garden must be designed by an architect so that it is soundly constructed on firm foundations, safe and convenient to use in all weathers. There should be wheelchair access, with permanent work surfaces at convenient heights. There might be a 'tactile tour', a sequence of stones arranged so that those without sight could feel the many differences of texture, polish, sedimentary layers, gritty roughness, crystal points and soapy smoothness. This tactile quality is important to everyone, not just to the blind and everyone should be encouraged to touch. However, all stones must be securely fixed and those which are friable and easily 'picked', placed just out of reach. Shoddy work and design will deteriorate rapidly, becoming useless and even hazardous.

The RTZ Garden is a natural Outdoor Theatre, so school drama departments would be valuable allies. Who would not want good marble in place of flapping canvas? Call it the Geological Theatre, build it in a natural hollow with log seating —. There is no end to the ideas which will arise. Good luck with the project.

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