Geological Conservation and the Geologists’ Association

Established in 1858, the Geologists’ Association (GA) serves the interests of professional and amateur geologists alike and has a primary aim of making geology more accessible to the general public. Based in London, the GA is a national organisation, but is also represented by Local Groups operating around the UK. Many other geologically related societies are affiliated with the GA in the furtherance of its common aims and objectives.

In order to fulfil its objectives, the GA provides regular lectures, runs UK and international fieldtrips, publishes field guides, organises an annual conference and public Festival of Geology – both with associated field visits, it gives grants and awards, publishes scientific papers in its own peer reviewed journal, and runs Rockwatch the club for young geologists. All of these activities depend directly, or indirectly, on the availability of safe, accessible, well-managed geological sites. For this reason, the GA has had a long and active interest and involvement in the conservation, management and promotion of geological sites and geological heritage more widely (see Green, 2008). Consequently, one of the GA’s four main objectives is ‘To promote awareness of our geological heritage and to campaign actively on issues of geoconservation’.

The GA and its members place a great deal of importance on geological sites, site records and associated collections of geological material. In response to the range of threats and pressures faced by this geological heritage, and in order to take advantage of opportunities to enhance it that sometimes arise, the GA is committed to taking action independently, and in partnership, to promote awareness of our geological heritage and to seek to secure its conservation and management.

To this end the GA will:

  1. Campaign for the conservation of our geological heritage through participation in relevant partnerships such as national geodiversity fora, through promoting schemes to conserve or record exposures created by new development, responding to consultations and by providing written submissions to support conservation activity.
  2. Promote good fieldwork and collecting practice, both through the guidance we produce and the fieldtrips we organise and lead.
  3. Undertake, through its Local Groups, practical work to enhance and promote geological sites for the benefit of geologists and the public alike.
  4. Seek to raise awareness of geology and our geological heritage through our website, the GA Magazine, the field guides we publish and through the fieldtrips and geological walks we run.
  5. Facilitate the exploration and advancement of geological conservation through regularly including it as a topic in GA Annual Conferences and in our lecture programmes.
  6. Promote geological heritage, share good conservation practice and actively support the development of geological conservation as a discipline through publishing papers on conservation in our journal, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association (PGA).
  7. Promote geological heritage and share good practice through publishing, in partnership with others, including the UK national conservation agencies, Earth Heritage electronic magazine.
  8. Actively encourage and support a range of projects aimed at promoting or conserving our geological heritage through the award of GA grants, including those awarded through the GA Curry Fund.
  9. Maintain our archive, including the Carreck Archive and back-catalogue of PGA papers which provide a photographic and written record of geological localities (and how they have changed), field trips and research since the establishment of the GA in 1858.
  10. Establish and administer a new GA award that recognises excellence and innovation in the conservation of our geoheritage.

2008. Green, CP. The Geologists’ Association and geoconservation: history and achievements. In: Burek, CV and Prosser, CD (Eds) 2008. The History of Geoconservation, Geological Society Special Publication, 300, 91-102

For further information contact Colin Prosser (GA Conservation lead) at

Further reading/ useful links

New Natural England Publication: Geoconservation: Principles and Practice (2023)

This publication explores the principles and practice of geoconservation, drawing on seventy years of practical experience gained by Natural England, its predecessor bodies and many of its partners and stakeholders. It sets out why geoconservation matters, who benefits, and how sites are selected and monitored. It focusses, however, on the principles and practice of delivering geoconservation on the ground. It explores the threats which arise, approaches to site management, and the positive opportunities to deliver geoconservation which sometimes occur as a result of development proposals or land use change.

Supporting practical geoconservation is at the heart of this publication and a wide range of real case studies are used to illustrate interventions which have been successful in conserving, enhancing and promoting geoheritage sites and some which have not. Although primarily aimed at supporting geoconservation and nature recovery in England, the principles, practice and case studies set out here should also be of relevance to anyone anywhere interested in or involved with conserving, recovering or enhancing geodiversity and geoheritage.