Guides rock at Cocklawburn
Guide, Brownie and Rainbow groups joined forces in an event organised by the Peregrini Lindisfarne community geology project to explore the rocks and fossils to be found at Cocklawburn Beach.
The afternoon on the beach with fun activities was the culmination of a series of events working with individual teams of Brownies and Guides to do a series of activities which were both informative and entertaining to learn about the local geology and how it connects to the wider theme of global warming.
More than 60 Guides, Brownies and Rainbows were there and took turns at the three main activities, with fossil hunting, a Race to the Beginning of the World and making a pebble picture by sorting through the fascinating variety of pebbles on the beach.
Dr Ian Kille, of Northumbrian Earth, developed and led the work in conjunction with the Guides’ senior section, along with the help of Laura Wilkinson (development worker UYSAF).
He said: “In the build-up to our time on Cocklawburn Beach, I was able to spend time with each individual group and we had a lot of fun using activities to answer a big question my friend and guide in Nepal asked ‘why are the glaciers in the mountains getting shorter?’”
To answer this question the Guides and Brownies made sedimentary rocks in jars, painted and constructed models of carbonate monsters, made wax rubbings of specially made ceramic fossil models and made tea using different types of tea cosies and sun-lamps to see who could make the hottest and best tea.
The Guides even had a go at a game acting out the whole of the earth with continents moving around through mantle convection, all using balloons to convey heat.
By all accounts, this meant that the girls had an entertaining evening and also ended up knowing more about how rocks and fossils are made and the relationship between limestone and cement-making and how this creates the carbon dioxide which is causing global warming.
One of the Guides, Nikki, said: “The balloon race at Guides, acting out the earth, was amazing.”
Once on the beach, the Guides and Brownies were already fired up to search for the fossils in the limestones and to find out about them and their connection with the old lime-kilns on the beach.
Then, in the Race to the Beginning of the , the girls ran a relay race around the beach with banners showing how far back in time they had raced, past dinosaurs to the 350million-year-old rocks on the beach and then on to the time that the world formed 4,600million years ago.
Finally, it was onto the pebble picture and a search for as many different types of stone as could be found, which were laid out in a pattern showing the different ages of rocks and where they had come from.
Some of the girls even found beautiful pieces of agate and carnelian which had travelled many hundreds of miles down the coast from rocks even older than the limestone outcrops.
This proved to be a really good project for everyone concerned.
Ros Duncan, from the Peregrini Lindisfarne staff team, said: “The Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership was delighted by the success of this fun and informative event.
“The Brownies, Guides and Rainbows took part in all the activities with great energy and went home full of enthusiasm for further fossil finding visits.”
Dr Kille said: “It has been absolutely brilliant to see the way that the Guides, Brownies and Rainbows have engaged with this work.
“It is great to see young people who have developed a great ethos around the way they work together, and a huge pleasure to see so many people enjoying themselves in the process.”
He added: “This is right at the heart of what I hoped the Peregrini Lindisfarne community geology project and Northumbrian Earth could be about.”
Guides and Brownies leaders have thanked Peregrini Lindisfarne for organising the event.
Leader Lovain Jeffrey said “Thanks for a great day and a great project.
“The Brownies, Guides and leaders have all enjoyed taking part both in their meetings and at Cocklawburn.
“I think we all took at least one fossil home today and more knowledge of our area and its geology.”
And Phyl Wigham added: “The girls really enjoyed themselves; they had fun learning about the geology and the session in our Brownie Hall was excellent preparation for the beach afternoon.”
The Guides and Brownies clearly enjoyed themselves: in their own words, Katie said she ‘loved the Race to the Beginning of the World relay.’
Ruby said: “It was amazing finding fossils in the sand. I found a St Cuthbert’s bead.”
Kacey said: “I love fossils!” and Catherine added: “I enjoyed the afternoon at Cocklawburn beach, it was good fun.”