Who we are :
GeoMôn is a charity run by a group of local people, geologists, business people, university staff and community leaders. Trustees are appointed in accordance with the Articles of Association (latest revision May 2020). The maximum number of directors allowed under the Constitution is twelve, with one post currently vacant. Specialist roles and responsibilities have been allocated, based on the experience and expertise of the individual directors. The Trustees meet as a Board on a regular basis (minimum once per month) to review activities and forward plans. The Geopark management team works to deliver:
- Community Engagement: Provide open access for membership to explore all aspects of geoscience in the local area and to increase Geopark activities that are available for members and visitors.
- The improved visibility of the Geopark will encourage community support for the geopark.
- Enhance the commercial opportunities of the Visitor Centre and E-Commerce platform by developing new business opportunities.
- The Trustees are committed to ensuring that the trust and its associated activities are run to the highest quality standards, in the safest manner possible
- To ensure financial stability through investment in the Geopark and also to establish sponsorship, improve membership, and revenue streams.
- To communicate with members and the local community through various conventional and digital tools, and to market the commercial aspects of the Geopark to ensure higher utilisation from the local community.
Our Patron is the Marquess of Anglesey
The Board of Trustees [and their portfolios] :
- Professor Colin Jago, geoscientist, [Chair].
- Dr Margaret Wood, geoscientist, [Director]
- Gavin Rowlands, geoscientist [deputy director, membership secretary].
- Dr John Conway, geoscientist, [book author, accessibility, web manager].
- Gaynor Webb, [Treasurer].
- Professor Cynthia Burek, geoscientist, [education & gender issues].
- Dr Michael Roberts, geoscientist, [research & university liaison].
- Elfed Jones [community liaison].
- Martin Schwaller [Watch House manager & volunteer coordinator].
- Michael Guerin [governance and finance advice].
- Caroline Schwaller. MBE
Colin Jago, chair.
I graduated in Petroleum Geology at Imperial College with a view to a career in the oil industry. The Geology Department at Imperial was pioneering studies on modern sediments so I stayed there for my PhD on modern coastal sediments. The rationale was that modern sediments help interpretation of ancient sedimentary rocks – the reservoir rocks for hydrocarbons. But I discovered that working on beaches was a lot more fun than working in oilfield camps, so I jettisoned oil industry ambitions and opted for an academic research career.
Funded by Royal Society research fellowships at Galway and Perpignan universities, I extended seawards to work on continental shelf sediments. At Leeds and Southampton Universities I worked with marine biologists and oceanographers in research that was increasingly concerned with societal problems like environmental sustainability and climate change. After a short spell prospecting for diamonds in Tertiary coastal deposits in South Africa, I joined Bangor University where I stayed for 40 years. My research became increasingly interdisciplinary with a focus on how suspended sediments in shelf seas control biogeochemical cycling, particularly carbon, enabling the oceans to trap carbon in seabed sediments rather than release it to the atmosphere.
I enjoyed teaching to a broad range of students and introduced a lot more geoscience to undergraduates (few of whom thought they were interested in geology), including field courses on Anglesey, South Wales, Mauritius, and Virginia, and I introduced a new Geological Oceanography degree programme.
I developed the £43 million EU SEACAMS project, housed in a new Marine Centre Wales in Menai Bridge, to work with industry on marine renewable energy in Wales. This project continuously employed over 10 years about 20 young researchers who would otherwise not have been working in Wales. I was Head of the School of Ocean Sciences and Dean of the College of Natural Sciences, now Emeritus Professor, at Bangor University.
I have been Chair of the GeoMôn Board for a few years now. My contribution is to coordinate strategy, contribute to grant applications, develop new educational presentations, liaise with practitioners in other cognate sectors, and keep trustees under control.
Margaret Wood, chief geoscientist, founder & director.
I originally trained as a teacher and headed the Geography department in a prestigious Manchester school before moving to a research post at Manchester University running the Spark Source Mass Spectrometer. In 1969 I analysed dust from the first moon landing, subsequently analysing samples from every Apollo Mission. A career highlight came in the early 1970’s when, whilst jointly running an adult field course in Anglesey, I discovered the oldest fossils in the UK, stromatolites (cyanobacteria) now dated as 860 million years old; a discovery published in ‘Nature” in 1973. With both a research M.Sc. and a Ph.D., I became a consulting partner with clients including most Water Boards and many large companies in the UK and abroad.
In 1991 I moved to Anglesey to work for the Countryside Council for Wales as Area Geologist for North Wales, writing management reports for geological SSSIs and initiating the RIGS system across Wales.
On retiring, inspired by the data collected, I conceived the idea of GeoMôn and started working towards membership of the European Geopark Network which was achieved in 2009.
In 2010 GeoMôn became affiliated to UNESCO and in 2015 became a full member of UNESCO’s new programme for Global Geoparks, giving Anglesey a status parallel to World Heritage sites and of equal value.
All this took a huge amount of work and is an amazing achievement for which I was honoured with the Distinguished Service Award from the Geological Society of London for 2010 and in 2018 I was admitted to the Company of Honorary Fellows of Bangor University.
My role as managing director and chief geoscientist is to steer the development of the GeoPark and oversee research into its geology.
John Conway, web manager & book author
I’ve been associated with Anglesey all my life, one way or another; from early family holidays to coming to do my PhD research at what was then University College of North Wales [ now Bangor University]. I spent three years examining soil formation on the various glacial sediments at Lleiniog and Beaumaris, and worked on the first ever Countryside Survey mapping soils across the UK. I then transferred to Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, working as a geoscientist on excavations at South Stack [Neolithic settlement], Gaerwen [Bronze age cemetery] and Cefn Graeanog, near Brynkir [Romano-British farm], examining soils, pottery and stone artifacts. I also ran evening classes for UCNW at a number of sites locally on a variety of geological themes.
I left to take up a post at the Royal Agricultural University teaching soil science to farmers but developed this into a wide ranging environmental programme at Masters’ level [sustainable development, natural resources, climate change, sustainable agriculture and food security] These courses are directly in line with the aims of the Geopark movement and I used GeoMôn / Anglesey frequently in my teaching. I’ve run several large environmental research projects, including a seven year project with over a million pound budget. I’ve supervised a dozen or so PhD projects on climate change topics, and wound up as Director of Research for the whole university.
I also worked for over 20 years as an associate lecturer with the Open University teaching geochemistry, geophysics and oceanography.
I never forgot Anglesey, and over the years have returned to lead innumerable field trips across the island – for the UCNW, for the Snowdonia National Park, for the Open University and for GeoMôn.
I’ve been involved with the geopark from the very beginning and from my wide ranging background, I’ve written many articles on Anglesey’s geology and geoheritage, , and presented papers on GeoMôn at many European and UNESCO geopark conferences. I’ve written a guide to the whole of the Anglesey coastline, published bilingually [Welsh & English].
Now that I have retired I am moving back to Anglesey to play a more active role in the Geopark so look out for my guided walks – and expect far more than geology!
Caroline Schwaller. MBE.
I’ve been coming to Anglesey since 1962, and as for me it has always been a very special place for the whole family, all generations. Now we live in Amlwch and have been trustees of GeoMôn since January 2020. Although new to GeoMôn and can’t claim to be a geologist, I bring 40 years of experience in the voluntary sector as a trustee or chair of an eclectic range of charities and CEO of several councils for voluntary service in England, with an ongoing involvement in grant giving.
Amongst other things I have developed and led on many community based initiatives in areas of multiple deprivation; had a prominent role at local and national level as advocate and representative for voluntary organisations and communities; conceived and led a large asset transfer project in Bradford District; taken organisations through significant change; set up collaborative and multi-sector partnerships; improved trust and understanding between different sectors.
I was awarded the MBE for services to the community and am currently Chair of the Craven Trust and a trustee of the Veolia Environmental Trust, and Hidden Voices Kenya. Previously a BURA community awards panel member and Common Purpose 2020 graduate, and trained Audit Commission peer reviewer for local authorities.
I bring a genuine excitement about being involved in GeoMôn and am developing a growing interest in geology. I have a deep love of landscape and the outdoors, and lot of experience in governance, developing and managing organisations, and strategic planning, change management and grant funding.
Born on the island, I took up geology as a hobby when I was a teenager, even though it was not taught in the local schools. I was inspired by the rocks and formations while riding around the island on my bicycle collecting samples. A local stonemason in Bodffordd and I became friendly, and with his diamond saw he would rough cut the samples, give half to me and use the other half to build his house of local stone!
Originally my interest was hard rock, and I wanted to work as a mining geologist, but ended up with a career in the oil industry. I’ve been lucky enough to live, work and travel across the globe, experiencing a very wide range of oil rigs, cultures and landscapes. I’ve now returned to North Wales, live on Anglesey, and work for Robertson Geo in Deganwy, helping them to develop their geophysical logging business.
I’ve been involved with the geopark for two years and my work for the trust includes preparing grant applications, increasing awareness of the geopark with the public and other stakeholders, supporting our members and helping to develop a long term plan for GeoMôn. My other interests include birding, photography, coastal walking and Welsh rugby.
Cynthia V. Burek
I am Emeritus Professor of Geoconservation (University of Chester), the only one in the world! I’ve previously taught at the Open University in Wales, Glyndwr University and in the Earth Science Education Unit at Keele University.
I developed the concept of Local Geodiversity Action Plans in 2002 and have liaised with planning departments on local geoconservation issues. I also developed a template for urban geology trails. I have been lucky enough to appear on several BBC programmes talking about the importance of geoconservation.
I headed up the NEWRIGS (North East Wales RIGS) group, looking after important geodiversity sites. I recently have also formed a relationship with the Lanzarote Geopark and hope to continue liaising with them on important issues to both GeoMôn and Lanzarote as whole island UNESCO geoparks. Imlso a member of UNESCO IGCP Science board for Geoheritage and GeoConservation.
I am passionately interested in early female geologists and the roles they played in developing the understanding of geology. I have researched several associated with Anglesey and the nearby area, including Catherine Raisin, Annie Greenly and Dilys Davies. I am keen on science communication and have both given talks and walks across the whole of the UK, as well as NZ, China and Lanzarote. I think it is really important that people should understand what we are trying to conserve.
I have been coming to Anglesey for many years with students from all the institutions I have taught at. It is a fantastic place to teach geology, habitat diversity but also both geo and bio conservation. I thoroughly enjoy telling biological students about the importance of geology and how geodiversity underpins biodiversity.
John and I collaborated on a variety of projects looking at limestone pavements across North Wales.
So in summary I bring enthusiasm and educational and conservation experience to the GeoMôn Geopark board and a willingness to talk geology to anyone who will listen to me. Walk and talk geology …couldn’t be better!
After a career as an Analytical Chemist at Glaxosmithkline I moved into Financial Management. My role in GeoMôn is to act as Treasurer and provide Welsh Language support.
John Michael Guerin
graduated in Chemistry from Manchester University and his employment with Ferodo Ltd brought him to North Wales where he lived on Anglesey. He returned to Cranfield University to study for an MBA before joining Marley in Kent and subsequently Europe’s largest plastic processing company, Wavin BV. There he became the Vice-President responsible for operations throughout Western Europe leading expansion into both Southern and Eastern Europe. After a period with Northumbrian Water Group PLC he joined the Mottram Group PLC as their Group Managing Director. Following retirement he has been active as a Trustee for a number of charities including Geomon.
Mike has been involved with Geomôn since it’s inception, having written the Business Plan for the initial application for Geomôn’s application for Geopark status from UNESCO. He raised the funding to allow the ‘Rock Clock’ to be installed at Amlwch Port and participated in several grant applications. He continues to be involved by adding his business experience to decisions of the Board of Trustees.
When I was around 4 maybe 5 years old the girl next door, Jennifer, showed me stones that she had broken to reveal the beauty within, from that moment I have loved rocks and minerals and thence all things geological.
After studying for a combined science degree in geography, physics and economics ,my career path took me from nationally acclaimed restaurateur to brewery pub estate development, multi-site business development and most recently into social responsibility of nationwide pub groups focusing particularly on significant energy reduction, carbon footprint reduction, sustainability and the place of the pub in society.
Retired now I can resurrect that love of geology and living on Anglesey has given me plenty to get excited about. Joining the board of GeoMôn has brought me close to a fantastic group of World class geologists and the extraordinary geology of the island.
I am using my long business experience encompassing business growth, marketing, and leadership to help develop and grow the wonderful GeoMôn.