Product has been added to the basket

In Praise of The Regional Group

Have you ever tried to put a lecture programme together?  Because if you haven’t, listen up. 

It takes ages.  If you are lucky, you can get someone to respond to your emails.  If you are very lucky, they are not a nutter.  And if you are very, very lucky, they actually have a lecture that isn’t a thinly veiled advertising campaign for the company they work for, or a four-hour monologue on aggregate abrasion values. 

Then you have to find a date they are available.  And a venue that’s mostly free, will serve tea and coffee for 50p a go, and that everyone can travel to. Then you have to make a flier explaining where the lecture is and the start time.  Then you have to answer 20 emails asking where the lecture is and what time it starts, and complaining that there’s a spelling mistake.  This is because you wrote the flier at 1.30 am, whilst making a costume for school’s Viking Day out of the contents of the recycling bin.


The modern age of instant communication sets expectations that are unachievable.  People forget that volunteers might have other actual jobs, and that mobile phones are…mobile…and it might not be convenient to talk.  But if that hard-to-get-hold-of someone rings, and you are caught in the middle of the school run, scrawling on the back of a handy child with a board pen, then do choose a large child, and photograph the notes before said child sweats them off all over their school shirt on the way home.

Everyone still clinging to a job is doing so with both hands and all their teeth.  Unpaid work is last on the priority list, so why bother?


Back in the Middle Dryas, when I graduated with a degree in geology, I fell out of the education treadmill with no information and no idea about careers. I ended up at the sharp end of engineering geology, in a career I’d never heard of, in a tiny world of just 9 people. Then, I went to a Geological Society Regional Group Meeting. Suddenly, there was a big room full of people all working in geology – a whole community, a whole world.  Belonging to a community is a human need, somewhere deep within the lizard brain; it’s what keeps us sane, it provides us with information, a sense of safety, and people to talk to who know what you’re on about.  Our Regional Groups are a link to the wider geological world, and a chance to discuss rock-bothering with other local nerds. And don’t go bleating that it’s not worth it if only 20 to 40 people turn up to a lecture. That’s plenty of people. Try talking to all of them. I bet you can’t get round them all.

If you haven’t been to a Regional Group Meeting, give it a go.  You might enjoy it. And if you have an interesting topic and might like to give a lecture, why not contact your Regional Group.  Just don’t get upset if they don’t get back to you right away.

* Written by an anonymous Fellow. Name and address supplied.

Anonymous, In Praise of The Regional Group. Geoscientist 28 (7), 8, 2018;