New Geology Rocks exhibition ensures fossils fuel the mind
A new exhibition, Geology Rocks, at the reserve is rolling back time to showcase how the area has changed, shaping the wildlife that lived there in the past and what we see there today.
The story of College Lake began around 150 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, when southern England was submerged in a warm, shallow sea filled with life, including fish, ammonites, sea urchins and sponges.
The remains of tiny algae in the water dropped to the sea floor and eventually formed the chalk that now runs all the way through the Chilterns.
Buried within the chalk are fossils of the creatures that used to live there.
During the late 20th century College Lake was a working quarry and the chalk was excavated and used in construction.
Many fossils, including ammonites and sea urchins, were uncovered during the excavations. You can take a look at some of these in the exhibition.
Around 200,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene, life at College Lake had changed again.
The area was savannah grassland and wildlife living there included wild horses, lions and woolly mammoths. Bones and remains of this prehistoric wildlife, including a large mammoth tooth and tusks, found on the reserve make up the second part of the exhibition.
Today, thanks to the hard work of BBOWT and a dedicated group of volunteers, the site has been transformed into the wildlife haven we enjoy.
Therefore, the final part of the exhibition looks at the wonderful wildlife currently at the reserve.
The poor chalky soil is perfect for many species of wild flowers and these attract a range of insects and other wildlife.
Geology Rocks uncovers how many different types of flowering plant can grow in just one square metre of chalk grassland.
The huge holes formed when the site was a quarry are now the lake and marsh, and are home to a wide variety of wetland birds all year round.
Come along for one of the guided walks during the exhibition’s opening weekend, which will be led by College Lake’s in-house geology expert, volunteer Rodney Sims, and members of staff.
New information panels and interactive exhibits reveal more of the site’s fascinating history.
The Wildlife Trust will be looking out for the best dressed visitors too, with a fancy dress competition. Take your photo by the giant wooden ammonite near the barn for a chance to win a prize!
Geology Rocks is already part of the schools programme offered by the environmental education team at College Lake. The new exhibits will build on the programme and help
The Geology Rocks exhibition opens on the weekend of Saturday August 13 with guided walks, hands-on family activities, storytelling and self-led trails.
Go to www.bbowt. org.uk/whats-on for more information about all the events. to give children first-hand experience of the region’s only geological Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The exciting exhibition is thanks to a £74,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Staff and volunteers at College Lake are looking forward to showing off the story of the reserve and bringing its history to life.
Visit in fancy dress and have your photo taken by the giant wooden ammonite, made by Daryl Fryers of Chainsaw Carvings.
Get hands-on with College Lake’s very own fossils.