Gifted students on Jurassic trail at Sidmouth

TALENTED and gifted students from Dorset and Devon took part in a Jurassic Coast coastal change event at Sidmouth s Kennaway House on Monday.

TALENTED and gifted students from Dorset and Devon took part in a Jurassic Coast coastal change event at Sidmouth's Kennaway House on Monday.

Sidmouth College students joined groups from seven other schools, including Exmouth Community College and Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis, to learn about global and local climate change and hear from Richard Edmonds, Earth Science manager, Jurassic Coast team, as well as undertake field work at Pennington Point and Jacobs Ladder, Sidmouth, with Richard and Dr Anjana Ford, Jurassic Coast education co-ordinator.

In the afternoon the 100 students split into seven groups to ask various stakeholders about their views on coastal change, before making a short presentation based on their comments.

Taking part were Martin and Jo Macinerny from Cliff Road, Sidmouth, who chanced upon a group of students at Pennington Point and were invited to give their views.

Sidmouth Herald chief reporter Di Bowerman, and former staff man Kingsley Squire, answered questions from The Purbeck School students on cliff erosion and protection, while Doreen Franks of Oakdown Touring and Holiday Caravan Park, Sidmouth, answered questions on tourism.

Tony Flux, National Trust's coastal zone project manager, Sam Rose, Jurassic Coast team leader and Jim Masters, Devon Maritime Forum co-ordinator, were other stakeholders quizzed.

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The educational project was funded through Defra's Coastal Change Pathfinder Fund. The Jurassic Coast of Dorset and East Devon, was one of 15 areas to be awarded a share of Government funding after successfully bidding for �376,500.

The purpose of the fund is to ensure, through "meaningful engagement and participation", that coastal communities are able to understand, debate and participate in decisions about coastal change, and adapt and become more resilient to such changes.

David Weatherly from the Learning and Development Partnership in Devon said: "The Defra Pathfinder project allowed these eight schools from across the Jurassic Coast to participate in a process that could change the way in which coastlines are managed in the UK."

He said it was important the students engaged with key stakeholders to consider with them how changes in the future "can be most effectively managed."

The event coincided with a meeting between East Devon District Council and other stakeholders of Eastern Beach and Salcombe Cliffs, to discuss possible protection of Alma Bridge and Pennington Point.