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Deserts and Sea-Dragons for Open Studies Students

Originally Published 05 August 2004

Open Studies students Maurice Cook, David Coates and Maureen Newrick saw their initial ideas come to life in an involving exhibition on Warwickshire’s prehistoric past.

Entitled ‘Deserts and Sea Dragons – Warwickshire Heritage’, the event took place at the Parkridge Centre, Brueton Park, Solihull. Nigel Marven, (presenter of BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs, Land of Giants and Sea Monsters) opened the display, discussing his grounding in geology, zoology and botany and explaining the need for entertaining education in bringing the past to life.

Members of the public were invited to bring along a fossil for identification, while children wore exotic head dresses and had their faces painted. Original art and photographic work explained how geology contributed to the social and economic heritage of the county, including Leamington’s debt to minerals left in dried-up lake beds about 250 million years ago for its fashionable spa town status today. Families explored a geology trail that explored and explained the formation of the various types of rock to be found in the area.

In organising the event, the Open Studies students developed a roster of valuable skills, including project management, photography, and creativeness. They have also developed the confidence and communication skills vital to securing funding bids and negotiate with other agencies.

Thanks are due to Martyn Bradley, Maureen Newrick, Maurice Cooke and David Coates for making it an informative, entertaining and rewarding day out.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Parkridge Centre now hosts a presentation made by the group, who continue to develop ways of exploring the area’s geological development; compiling a Solihull geological trail which examines a range of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and a campus walk which reveals fish eyes and glacial erratics.

Anyone interested in Earth Science or the geological trails please ring (024 7657 3739) for details of our day schools, ten week modules or one year certificate. Everyone is welcome to attend and no prior knowledge is assumed. Email:, website: