GeoBus gets off with a bang...

TV presenter Iain Stewart  officially launches the GeoBus at Buckhaven High School
TV presenter Iain Stewart officially launches the GeoBus at Buckhaven High School

A LOCAL secondary school was first stop for the GeoBus, a new project, which aims to get young people interested in Earth sciences, as it began a nationwide tour.

TV presenter Professor Iain Stewart and scientists from St Andrews University joined pupils at Buckhaven High School to launch the initiative.

Professor Stewart, whose latest documentary for the BBC, ‘How to Grow a Planet’, will be broadcast in February, said he hoped GeoBus would help to get young people interested in what’s under their feet.

He said: “There’s not always a lot of earth sciences taught in school and it’s often tucked away into other subjects like geography, but often when you talk to kids, it’s things like volcanos and earthquakes that really interest them.

“This project is about raising the profile of earth sciences.

“So much of what we rely on is found in the earth and there’s a completely different world below the ground which can take us back hundreds of millions of years, but very few people think about what’s under their feet.”

At last week’s launch, Buckhaven pupils had the chance to take a closer look at earth science in a series of workshops.

Fifth year student Calum Baxter said: “I found it quite interesting. Earth science is something I’d like to study later, hopefully at St Andrews University, so it was good to get a better understanding of what’s involved.”

Geography teacher Thomas Mason was also pleased to welcome the Geobus team saying: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to get these specialists in. It helps to tie together what the students learn in different subjects and gives a sense of what real world opportunities there are in geosicence.”

The GeoBus team will travel to secondary schools in Scotland and northern England during the next two years and hopes to inspire more young people to consider a career in earth science.

Dr Ruth Robinson, senior lecturer in the department of earth sciences at St Andrews University, began raising funds to make GeoBus a reality more than two years ago.

She said: “The aim of the project is to support the teaching of earth sciences in secondary schools. Earth sciences are under-supported in Scottish education and in 2015 Higher Geology will be removed from the curriculum, even though Scotland is the most geo-diverse region in the UK and geology is increasingly important.

“GeoBus will help to plug this gap by bringing educational resources to schools and will support the delivery of Earth science teaching for teachers that do not necessarily have an Earth science background.”