Urban Geology and Paleontology – examples and opportunities in Science Centres
Author: Luis Azevedo Rodrigues
Since 2011, three distinct science outreach activities were planned, produced and performed in three Algarve (Portugal) cities – Faro (GeoStories of Faro’s Downtown), Lagos (Geology at the Corner) and Tavira (From the Museum to the Convent). Churches, monuments, buildings and urban equipment were the starting point of the geological and paleontological stories that constitute the core of these informal education visits and books which also combine Art History and Heritage views. Beyond the natural science element, the analyzed objects have relevant aesthetical, historical or symbolic dimensions, allowing simultaneously two levels of interpretation to the stories: the Geosciences level; the other, the Historical and Architectural Heritage. As a result of these visits three bilingual books (Portuguese and English) of the Geosciences walks were edited. The guides, with 120 pages each, focus on the geological and paleontological characteristics of the visited places as well as the art history framework of the different monuments and urban areas. With these visits and books, different classifications of possibilities in science communication as well as of formal and informal education are allowed, based on three vertices: Science, Heritage and Geotourism. Promoting and contribute to the Geosciences outreach (Geology and Paleontology) was the main objective of these visits and books, as well as: – modify the way that the general population looks at urban buildings; – contribute to the informal education of a general public especially among the public which is interested in Architecture, History and Heritage; – integrate different areas of human knowledge – Geosciences and Architecture, History and Heritage. Visits were tested and implemented and presently constitute one of the science outreach activities of the Algarve Ciência Viva Science Centres.