Essex Rock and Mineral Society is a very active club!
- We organise a total of around 30 face to face meetings plus Zoom meetings every year
- We organise between 6 and 12 field visits every year
- We run a library, full of books on geology, which are not easily found in a normal lending library
- We run a very successful annual Rock and Mineral show
- Our members are constantly giving talks to outside groups
- As well as this, we also have to deal with the same range of admin tasks as any other medium sized society e.g. Newsletter, Treasury, IT, Membership
The result is that we are constantly looking for people to help out with just about everything. There is no denying that there is modicum of hard work involved, but on the other hand, these are all shared endeavours, working with fellow members, so they are actually a lot of fun, as well.
If you would like to get involved, please contact ERMS via any of the following email addresses:
Below is a brief (and incomplete!) list of the areas where we are looking for people to help:
Within ERMS we have a long held the suspicion that there are many people within Essex who are very interested in exactly same things that we are, but they have no idea that we exist. The answer, of course, is better publicity. We need someone to act as our publicity supremo and coordinate the efforts of several other members. This means:
- Coordinating the way we distribute our posters to libraries, museums, arts societies throughout Essex
- Coordinating the way that we publicise our activities on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram etc.
- Actively seeking new ways to make ourselves know to likeminded people within and outside of Essex
It really is amazing how many people join ERMS and tell us, in passing, that they had never heard of us before, but just happened to see one of our posters. Clearly we have a lot to do here!
To find more details of exactly what is involved please contact Mark Matthews on firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoom account manager
- The main reason for our Zoom account is so that we can host our monthly Zoom presentations. But we also use the account to run other on-line meetings, such as committee meetings, meetings with other societies etc. The main activities associated with running the Zoom account are:
- Making sure that we have paid our annual subscriptions
- Maintaining the list of other ERMS members who are allowed to set up and run Zoom meetings.
- Maintaining an overview of which members have set up which meeting, etc.
- Setting up and running some (but not all) of our Zoom meetings. Amongst other things this includes:
- Sending the correct links to the secretary etc to broadcast to all our members, prior to the meeting
- Ensuring that (where appropriate) the Zoom session is recorded, and then sent to whoever is going to edit the video file
To find more details of exactly what is involved please click on the button below, or contact Mark Matthews on email@example.com or Jan Dunford on firstname.lastname@example.org
With very few exceptions, every time we have a Zoom presentation, we record it using Zoom’s built-in recording facilities, with a view to making it available to everyone in ERMS via our YouTube channel.
In theory, we could just publish the raw recording to our YouTube channel, but usually there is a fair amount of banter before and after the presentation itself, which most viewers are probably not interested in – especially if they are watching it six months after it was recorded. Hence it useful to edit this out, to create a more professional looking video.
Because all we are doing is essentially ‘topping and tailing’ the raw video, the level of video editing skill required is fairly low. However, we have now had nearly 400 separate viewings of our YouTube videos, so the demand is there, and no one has ever complained about the quality of the editing.
All you need to take on this task is some (free) video editing software, and an averagely capable PC or Mac.
To find more details of exactly what is involved please click on the button below. Otherwise contact Mark Matthews on email@example.com
ERMS runs its own YouTube channel (ERMSVIDEO) because it is a convenient place to store all the videos that we have recorded from our Zoom presentations.
We run our channel as a private channel. That means that although non-members can discover the channel itself, they cannot see any of the videos within it, unless they have been given the access code. Usually, the ERMS secretary will send out these codes following the upload of every new video.
The main task of the YouTube channel controller is to
- Upload the edited videos, as transfered to him/her by the ERMS Video Editor.
- Maintain a spreadsheet of the links to each of our uploaded videos. This spreadsheet also contains a brief summary of the video’s contents, plus a few details of who presented it.
- Send this spreadsheet to the ERMS secretary, so that this can be incorporated into the next issue of the ERMS newsletter.
ERMS on-line forms
In common with all amateur societies, ERMS has had to move towards greater use of IT it order to make some elements of its administration more efficient, and to meet the expectations of any increasingly tech-savvy membership. One of the areas that we have recently waded into is the use of on-line forms for such things as membership sign-up, booking places on field visits and booking table space at our annual show.
In principle, setting up and running an on-line form is relatively easy. The main tasks are:
- Setting up new forms (e.g. for a new field visit), including links to our on-line payments partner and our bank account
- Ensuring that the notification of a new booking goes to the correct ERMS member (e.g. the organiser of the field visit)
- Making sure that the links to these forms are sent to those ERMS members who are looking after our Web pages, and our email newsletters etc
- Removing old forms, when the event to which they refer has come and gone
- Managing the account with our forms software provider (e.g. have we paid up for this year? or who, apart from you, is allowed to create/modify/delete forms)
Organising Field Visits
One of the most enjoyable activities that ERMS members partake in is the field visits that we organise throughout the summer months. During any given year, we visit quarries, coastal sites, museums, churches and more. Not surprisingly, there is a fair amount of organisation associated with any of these visits, hence our Field Visits team is always looking for more help to share the load. The main tasks associated with any field visit are:
- Identifying and agreeing a suitable venue
- Obtaining permission from the landowner
- Finding someone to lead the visit on the day
- Organising the booking of places on the visit (usually via on-line form, these days)
- Creating and distributing the joining instructions (safety, how to get there, what to wear etc)
- Making sure that all attendees are ERMS members – either full or temporary members.
It sounds quite a lot (and it is!), but when the tasks are divided up amongst a team of enthusiastic people it is really not that onerous – as well as being a lot of fun.
To find more details of exactly what is involved please contact Jonathan Spencer on firstname.lastname@example.org
Tea and Coffee
It will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the ambiance of every ERMS face to face meeting is enhanced immeasurably by the existance of a good cup of tea or coffee, augmented by a well chosen biscuit. Added to this is the possibility of tapping into the constant flow of semi-secret news that only occurrs in the vicinity of the water cooler or the tea/coffee station.
This is one of those pivotal roles in the society for which you need absolutely no qualifications whatsoever. However, in order to ensure that we always have enough people to cover for holidays, illness etc, at both of our meeting venues it is very useful to have a team of people to discharge this vital function.
If you believe that you have both the ambition and the expertise please contact Mark Matthews on email@example.com or Ros Mercer on firstname.lastname@example.org
ERMS Annual Rock and Gem Show
Our show is held in Romford on a Saturday in mid-February every year. It has now been running for well over 40 years, and is an established event on the UK’s annual rock, fossil and mineral circuit, as well as being a useful fundraiser for the Society. As well as the many stalls selling rocks and fossils, there is also an excellent cafe, all of which adds up to a great social event.
The organisers are always happy to receive offers of help to:
- set up the venue early on the day
- assist with getting the vendors into the hall
- man the front desk and ERMS own stall
- tidy everything away at the close of play.
It’s also a great opportunity to look over the vendors stock before we open the doors to the public, or pick up an unsold bargain as they pack away, so if you fancy helping on the day, or getting involved with the running of the show to keep it operational in the long term, let us know at: email@example.com
Running our meetings at Shenfield and Stanway
Whenever we hold one of our meetings at Stanway or Shenfield, there are always quite a few things that we need to do. Most of the tasks require no expertise whatsoever – just a lot of brute force. The main tasks are:
- setting out the tables and chairs
- setting up the projector, screen and laptop
- setting out the information on the entrance desk
- helping anyone who is bringing displays of rocks, minerals, fossils etc into the hall
It’s easy to help out in this way – just turn up to the meeting a bit earlier (e.g. 7.15pm). Alternatively you can email:
Paul Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org for helping at Stanway or
Mark Matthews email@example.com for helping at Shenfield
Apart from constituting a healthy dose of life-prolonging excercise, helping to set up and run a meeting is also a good way of getting to know other people in the Society.
Organising our talks program
With nearly 30 face to face and Zoom presentations every year, there really is a lot to do here. The range of things that need to be organised is large, but the main tasks are as follows:
- Identifying who we would like to speak to us
- Contacting them and pursuading them to speak, either face to face or via Zoom.
- Making sure both we and they know when they are speaking to us, and where our meeting places are
- Ferrying speakers from and back to the local station, if necessary
- Making sure that there is an ERMS member who is primed to introduce the speaker, with brief details of career etc.
- Follow up to the event (e.g. thank you email, expenses etc)
With very few exceptions, our speakers turn out to be facinating individuals, who are usually involved in some equally facinating research or other work. Helping to organise a talk also gives you an insight into what is going on in the speakers area of expertise, over and beyond what they present at the meeting.
If you are interested in helping out in any way, please email Ginny Hall or Ros Mercer on firstname.lastname@example.org