Formation of the Scottish Geology Trust

The Scottish Geology Trust is being established to promote and celebrate Scotland’s geology and its value to society, and encourage its conservation. This initiative has wide support within the geological community, including from the various geological societies in Scotland, the Geoparks, universities and museums, and geoconservation groups and the Scottish Geodiversity Forum.

The Trust will be a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) and a membership organisation, seeking subscriptions and donations from individuals and organisations. We intend to build capacity to employ professional staff who will lead the organisation and raise funds to support the work of the Trust and our partners.

The key aims of the Trust are:

1. To promote the role and value of Scotland’s geology by increasing recognition of the importance of geology in Scotland and its contribution to sustainable economic development, including tourism, the responsible utilisation of natural resources, water supply and safe disposal of waste, and its role in underpinning our landscape, heritage and supporting biodiversity; to encourage promotion of geological sites of local, national and international importance.

2. To encourage geoconservation and the best stewardship possible of Scotland’s geological sites of local, national and international importance; to support local communities and organisations to achieve this including by coordinating activities and sharing information on best practice.

3. To encourage exploration, understanding and enjoyment of geology as a science; to support learning about geology and landscape in schools and colleges and a better understanding amongst the general public; to encourage industry and university sectors to support geological education and providing resources to help inspire enlightenment in the next generation of geoscientists and engineers;

4. To promote the cultural value of Scotland’s geology, by creating a sense of place, and its importance in public health and well-being and to collaborate with others on geology related projects engaging the arts.

Constitution and structure

A draft constitution has been drawn up and agreed, and will be submitted to the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) for approval.

The new charity will be managed by a board of up to 12 trustees, some directly elected by the membership and others co-opted represent key sectors or to fill skills gaps. Trustees will all be appointed for fixed terms, with a limit on the number of terms that can be served. It is expected that the board will appoint an executive committee who will be responsible for day-to-day operations.

What will the Trust do?

An initial call for suggestions has highlighted many opportunities for the Trust to work with other organisations to achieve its aims. These include supporting the Geoparks, preparing educational materials, encouraging more interpretation, promotion, facilities and better access at key geological sites such as Siccar Point and Fossil Grove. However, the Trust will be more than just a fund-raising body, and will aim to have an active membership that are kept informed with regular communications, are offered training and networking opportunities, and will be encouraged to contribute to projects.

Relationship with the Forum and Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter

The Forum fully supports the development of Scottish Geology Trust and the Forum will be dissolved when the new charity is established. We are working to ensure that the strengths and reputation of the Forum feeds in to the new charity.

Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter was first published by the Forum in 2012, and encourages the promotion and management of Scotland’s geodiversity and better integration of geodiversity into policy and guidance, consistent with the economic, social, cultural and environmental needs of Scotland. The Charter is supported by more than 90 organisations, and is in close alignment with the aims of the Trust.

Ongoing development of the Charter is being taken on by a new “Strategic Geodiversity Committee”, which seeks to have broad representation of all sectors involved in geodiversity in Scotland and to promote the Charter, engage with signatories and plan follow-on activity and development of the Charter beyond 2023. The Strategic Geodiversity Committee will be independent but is expected to have a close working relationship with the Trust.

Further information

To find out more about the Scottish Geology Trust aor if you wish to be kept informed about future developments, contact Angus Miller, chair@scottishgeodiversityforum.org.

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