Jersey’s exceptional landscapes and seascapes are the inspiration behind a new visitor centre at Jersey Museum & Art Gallery that opens to the public this Saturday (29th).
The Aspiring Jersey Island Geopark Visitor Centre, sponsored by Saltgate, introduces the story of Jersey’s geological heritage. It aims to encourage Islanders and visitors to go out and explore Jersey and see first-hand how geology has shaped and influenced the Island we know today. The Visitor Centre is in the John de Veulle Gallery on the ground floor of the Museum and entry is free. It will be officially opened by Assistant Minister with responsibility for heritage Deputy Kirsten Morel at a reception on Friday (28th).
Millie Butel, Jersey Heritage’s Landscape Engagement & Geopark Development Curator, explained that Geoparks celebrate the links between people and the Earth and 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 Visitor 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 all about partnerships. It is a collaborative project for the whole Island and a number of stakeholder organisations are involved so far, including Jersey Heritage, the Société Jersiaise, Jersey National Park, Young Archaeologists’ Club, Jersey Biodiversity Centre and the Blue Marine Foundation. A group of Geopark Gardiens represent the project’s partners and each one champions the Island’s landscapes and seascapes through their roles within the community and their passion for Island life.
Millie said: “Every stakeholder organisation is key to the success of the Aspiring Jersey Island Geopark project. 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, and go out to find their own favourite spots and share them with us.”
The Visitor Centre looks at what a Geopark could mean for Jersey and how people can get involved in the project. It includes sounds recorded around the Island; geological facts and figures; film footage of life underwater around Jersey; and information about wildlife to look out for around the Island.
Hannah Culshaw, Saltgate’s Chief Corporate Officer, said: “Jersey is known for its rich, distinctive landscape and heritage, so it’s great to celebrate this by launching this new centre. Many of us at Saltgate are proud Islanders and we care about the communities we work in. As a company, we’ve committed to support education and the environment, so we’re excited to be a partner on this project.
“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.”