Jersey’s exceptional landscapes and seascapes are the inspiration behind a new visitor centre at Jersey Museum.
The Aspiring Jersey Island Geopark Visitor Centre tells the story of Jersey’s geological heritage, with the aim of encouraging Islanders and visitors to explore Jersey and see first-hand how geology has shaped the Island we know today.
Millie Butel, Jersey Heritage’s Landscape Engagement & Geopark Development Curator, explained that Geoparks celebrate the links between people and the Earth. The Visitor Centre will show people why Jersey’s outstanding landscapes and seascapes could make the Island a candidate for future designation.
She said: ‘Jersey is more than just the rock it is made of – our Island is an incredible combination of natural, built and intangible heritage. A Geopark can tell the whole story and, if Jersey is successful in achieving a designation, it will be a statement of commitment to protect the Island we all love and to promote the landscapes, seascapes and heritage that are important to Islanders.
‘The aim of the centre is to introduce the Aspiring Geopark project and encourage people to explore Jersey and discover its stories along the way. The Island has been shaped by tide and time over millions of years. Jersey’s exceptional geology and important cultural heritage form the outstanding surroundings we enjoy every day.’
The Aspiring Jersey Island Geopark is a collaborative project, so far involving Jersey Heritage, the Société Jersiaise, Jersey National Park, Young Archaeologists’ Club, Jersey Biodiversity Centre and the Blue Marine Foundation. A group of Geopark Gardiens will champion the Island’s landscapes and seascapes through their roles in the community and their passion for Island life.
Millie said: ‘As part of the Visitor Centre, the Gardiens have shared their favourite parts of Jersey to highlight some of the reasons why the Island is so special. We hope that people visiting the centre will be inspired to consider how they are Jersey’s gardiens.’
The Visitor Centre looks at what a Geopark could mean for Jersey and how people can get involved. It includes sounds recorded around the Island, geological facts and figures, footage of life underwater, and information about local wildlife.
Hannah Culshaw, chief corporate officer of sponsors Saltgate, said: ‘Working towards becoming a Geopark will help Jersey tell our story to the world – it’s a great way to celebrate our environment, boost tourism, and help people connect with the natural world.’
The Visitor Centre, in the John de Veulle Gallery at the Museum, opens on 29 May. Entry is free.