Yorkshire Geology Month

Advice for event organisers -

"Events" for Yorkshire Geology month need not be big events involving a lot of planning. All we ask is that they aim to take geology to the public. So you could organise - a poster display in a local library, a Roadshow lasting an hour or two with geologists identifying specimens brought by members of the public, a short walk around your town centre looking at shopfronts and building stones, a walk on the beach to see what rocks and fossils people can pick up, a guided tour of a cemetery looking at gravestones, a children's painting competition at half-term, a traditional field trip, lecture or slide show.

A good way to involve large numbers of people is to run a Roadshow in a popular place, such as a shopping area. All you need is a couple of tables, some enthusiastic "experts", some colourful posters, some large display specimens (that are not rare or valuable) and some good/lucky publicity. Remember to engage the people who bring in specimens - every specimen has a story to tell - always enthuse and never say "Its just a such-and-such -- there very common!". And remember to hand them a leaflet about your local society and Geology Month!.

Charges for your event - if you wish to charge those taking part or ask for a donation towards costs or towards the funds of your local geological society, then please organise that yourself. The organisers of YGM2005 are not asking for any payment towards the costs or expenses of the organising committee.

Tides - if you are organising your event on the coast you will need to avoid getting trapped by an incoming tide. Tide tables are not usually published until December - but you can predict the tides for yourself if you have a diary which shows the phases of the moon. Click here to find out how.....

Limiting numbers - when running public events the number of people attending can be very unpredictable - for instance one city-geology public walk I led was attended by one other person, whilst on another similar walk there was a crowd of over 300! If you feel that you wish to restrict numbers one suggestion is to force people wishing to attend to book, even if the event is free. Make the general details of the event public along with a contact telephone number that people have to ring to get the exact time and meeting place.

Accessibility - A downloadable booklet entitled "organising accessible events" is available from the Disability Rights Commission website in PDF, Word or RTF formats.

Once the details of an event have been published try to avoid changing them or canceling the event. Changing the time or meeting place will only cause confusion. If the press gets the details wrong then request that they print an apology with the correct details; but also try to arrange that someone be there at the start of the 'wrong' event, to explain the problem to anyone who does attend expecting the event to take place. If interested beginners turn up and find that leader is not there then they are likely to lose interest in geology as a whole!

Writing press releases - the space for your piece in a newspaper may be limited, so it may well be edited with the last few paragraphs being removed - so write your press release with the important information first, rather having a long lead up to a conclusion. The paper may prefer to receive your information in electronic format - that way they can cut and paste it straight into the paper and there is less chance of the details becoming confused! There may be some days of the week when your local paper tends to be short of news - try to send your press releases in for those days.

Local publicity - you can print our A4 posters with a list of local events and take them to libraries, schools and local shops and ask for them to be displayed. Often libraries have a system to send them around to branch libraries once a month - so try asking if they will do that for you at your main library. You can also print our A5 leaflets and take them to local museums and tourist information offices. They may prefer them to be approximately 10 x 21cm (one thrid of A4) to fit into their leaflet holders.  Please remember to put the web-address for Yorkshire Geology Month on to all publicity.

Dealing with the media - try to get local radio and the press to cover your events. Some publications are prepared well before they are published so try to find out when there deadlines are and get your press release to them about a week before. Make life easy for them by giving them your full contact details and be prepared to give them extra information. Try to keep some control over the content as the story can become very skewed and your event could end up being an afterthought - "Local geologists do it in a graveyard ... shock horror ... blah ... blah ... if you want to watch them they will be there on Thursday evening". The media might want to interview you or take pictures to go with an article. In particular local radio can sometimes expect you to drop everything and be in their studio in ten minutes time. So again you may need to be firm with them, explain that you are at work and your employer expects you to remain there until 5-30pm, so could you arrange a mutually convenient time or could someone else be interviewed instead? But you do risk them losing interest. The local paper might send a photographer to the event, if they do offer to do that try to get a time from them so that you can maximise the opportunity - get your helpers to be there, preferably with young children. Local papers seem to love pictures of young children looking at a large fossil through a magnifying glass with a smiling geologist in the background! So posed, such a cliche, and so wrong! - but just make sure you have the name of your club on your tee-shirt!

Safety - You are advised to carry out a risk assessment for your event and read out the warnings and instructions to participants at the start of the event. (YGM2005 does not have a standard risk assessment form - but you click here to view the Hull Geological Society event planning and risk assessment form as an example that you can adapt to meet your own needs.)

Set a good example - if you decide that safety equipment (such as a hard hat) is required or recommended for your event, then you should follow your own instructions if you expect others to!

Insurance - The organisers of YGM2005 have not organised any liability insurance for the events or leaders: if you are a leader and are concerned about insurance then we suggest that you ask one of the local geological societies to 'adopt' your event.

Feedback - You might like to gather some information from the people attending your event about their interest in geology andnhow theu found our about your event. The YGM Cttee would also like to have some feedback about the events if you could pass it on. [link to organisers feedback form; link to attendance form that you can modify, print out and hand to those attending your events]

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