Professor Cynthia Burek

Deputy Director, Centre for Science Communication (SCICOMM)

Professor Cynthia Burek, the first chair of Geoconservation in the world, teaches on a variety of courses within the department. She has published over 100 papers and given hundreds of talks and walks to society at all levels on geoconservation, how geodiversity underpins biodiversity, limestone pavements, women in science (especially in history of geology, but also raising public awareness), local geodiversity, soils and good science communication. She serves on several national committees to influence public policy on geoconservation.


My main interests are in habitat conservation, environmental issues, gender equality, rock miles, and sustainable development.

I am Deputy Director of the Centre for Science Communication and served on the University Health, Safety and Environment Committee putting Environment on a par with health and safety. I was chair of the Environmental Task Force for the University for 11 years. I also serve on the Athena Swan committee for the university. Nationally, I serve on the UKGAP (Geodiversity Action Plan) steering group, English Geodiversity Forum, Association of Welsh RIGS Executive as being former Chair of NE Wales Regionally Important Geodiversity Sites (RIGS). I am deputy chair of Cheshire RIGS and spearhead the Heritage Lottery Fund project for the Saltscape landscape of Cheshire. I was also on the Stakeholders committee for the Irish Sea Conservation Zone, one of four marine areas set up by the government to designate marine conservation areas. Additionally, I am on the international steering group for limestone pavement habitat research and Director for the UNESCO recognised GeoMôn (Anglesey) Geopark with the portfolio for education. I am also on the steering group for the Geoconservation Wales/Cymru Forum.

I am on the editorial board of Earth Heritage. I serve on the assessment committee of Funds for Women Graduates and am a Director of the British Federation of University Women serving as the coordinator of International Relations and UK voting delegate for the International Federation of University Women. I am also a trustee for the BFWG Scholarship Fund. In the past I convened the International Federation of University Women Committee for the Award of International Fellowships for 6 years.

I also act as external advisor and external examiner for other institutions both nationally and internationally. For 36 years I have been as associate lecturer for the Open University in Wales and NW England within the Earth Science department and within the multidisciplinary environment and sustainable development areas.


I teach in the areas of wildlife ecology, soils and forensic biology, and teach ethics on the MSc in Wildlife and Conservation. I specialise in marine and coastal geoconservation, soil conservation, environmental law and policy, history of geoconservation, LGAPS and environmental history. I also contribute to the teaching of geodiversity in the education department. I teach ethics, gender equality and have a holistic approach to both environmental issues, conservation and multisensory teaching.


My research interests are in sustainable development, limestone pavement conservation, public understanding of how planning policy influences geodiversity and habitat conservation in general, Quaternary and past climate change, extinctions and all aspects of women in history of science. I also carry out research in geodiversity and implementation as well as in soil conservation. Thus my research interests support my broad interpretation of conservation especially geoconservation, environmental issues and the importance of geodiversity underpinning biodiversity.

I have three (soon to be four) PhD students specialising in mass extinctions, limestone pavement microclimates, women in science in Afghanistan and lastly soil conservation, anaerobic digestion and sustainable development.


Professor Cynthia Burek - Research Project

Cynthia with Julia Bradbury 2011 at Malham Cove Limestone pavement

Professor Cynthia Burek - Research Project


Women in history of Geology for International Women’s Day, Birmingham 2015


Professor Cynthia Burek - Research Project

Science communication in Ruthin, North Wales

Professor Cynthia Burek - Research Project

With UNESCO assessors in Anglesey Geopark


Cynthia representing UK female graduates at the
 International Conference of Graduate Women International,
Cape Town, South Africa, 2016

Published work

I have published over 100 articles, chapter and books. I publish in 4 main areas:

1. Geoconservation & Geodiversity

2. History of science & Quaternary Geology

3. Gender studies Especially Women in science

4. Pedagogy and education


Here is a sample of my publication record:

Burek, C. V., & Cubitt, J. M., (1979), Trace Elements Distribution in Northern Derbyshire: Minerals and the Environment, 1, (3) 90-100 (Now Environmental Geochemistry and Health)

Burek, C. V.  (1980), An Interdisciplinary Curriculum Linking Geology & Information Science: Journal of Geological Education, 28, (5), 161-164

Burek, C. V. (1985), The Use of Trace Elements Weathering Ratios in Pleistocene Geology: Quaternary Newsletter, (47). 4-18

Burek C. V. (1991), Quaternary History and Glacial Deposits in the Peak District in Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P. L. & Rose, J. (Eds.) Glacial deposits in Great Britain and Ireland: A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, p193-201. ISBN 9061918758.

Burek C. V. & Cubitt, J. M. (1991), Geochemical Properties of Glacial Deposits in the British Isles in Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P. L. & Rose, J. (Eds.) Glacial deposits in Great Britain and Ireland: A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, p472-491. ISBN 9061918758.

Burek, C. V. & Davies, H., (1994), Communication of Earth Science to the public – how successful it been? In: Geological and Landscape Conservation, O’Hallaron, D., Green, C. et al. (Eds.). Geological Society of London Publishing House. 483-6, Proceedings of the Malvern International Geological Conservation Conference, 1993.

Burek C.V. & Deacon J., 1997, The limestone pavements of Brecknock : The geology of Brecknock – No 3. Brecknockshire Wildlife and Naturalist, (66) 10 – 12

Burek C.V. & Conway J, (2000), The relationship between Carboniferous Limestone insoluble residues and soils on limestone pavements in North Wales, Cave & Karst science 27, (2), 53-59

Burek C.V (2001), Setting geology within a science context – an aid to teaching Earth and Environmental science, Teaching Earth Science, 26, (1), 10-12

Burek C.V. (2002), Where are the women in science? A case study using women in the history of geology to develop a European curriculum, in Gonzalez  M.H. Ed., Proyecto Penelope, the role of the history of science in secondary education, Fundacion Canaria Orotava de Historia de la ciencia, La Orotava, Tenerife, Spain, 214-222

Burek C.V. & Potter J.A. (2002), Minding the LGAPs – A different approach to the conservation of local geological sites in England?  Geoscientist, 12, (9), 16-17

Burek C.V. (2003), Catherine Raisin – A role model professional geologist, Women in the History

of Geology III, Geology Today, 19, (3), 107-111 

Burek C.V. (2005), Stimulating public awareness in our urban environment in Wales, in Stone in Wales  – Material, Heritage and Conservation, National Museum & Gallery of Wales, Cardiff, Cadw, 36-40

Burek C.V. & Cleal C.J., (2005), The life and work of Emily Dix (1924-1972), in Eds. Bowden A.J., Burek C.V.& Wilding R., 2005, History of Palaeobotany: Selected essays, Geological Society. London, Special Publications 241, 181-196

Burek C.V. (2007), The role of women in Geological Higher Education – Bedford College, London (Catherine Raisin) and Newnham College, Cambridge In: Burek C.V & Higgs B (eds) The role of women in the history of geology. Geological Society of London, Special Publications, 281, 9-38

Burek C.V. (2008),The history of RIGS in Wales In Burek C.V. & Prosser C, (eds) The History of Geoconservation, Geological Society of London, Special Publications 300, 147-171

Burek C.V. (2008), The role women have played in the developing the science of geology 1797 to 1918-9 in Britain, Open University Geological Society Journal, 29, (2) 18-25

Burek, C.V. (2009). The first female Fellows and the status of women in the Geological Society, In Lewis C & Knell S. (eds), The Making of the Geological Society of London, Geological Society of London, Special Publications,  317, 373-407

Prosser C.D., Burek C.V., Evans D.H., Gordon J.E., Kirkbride V.B., Rennie A.F., & Walmsley C.A., (2010), Conserving Geodiversity Sites in a Changing Climate: Managing Challenges and Responses. Geoheritage, 2:123–136

Burek, C.V., (2011), Rock Miles and Fair Trade, Geoscientist, 21, (2), 6

Burek, C.V., (2011), Geovolunteers, The unpaid force that fuels Britain's geoconservation programme, Earth Heritage, 35, 8-9

Burek C.V. (2011).  Mary Anning - Mother of Palaeontology - “A woman in a man’s world”, Earthlearning ideas, eseu, University of Keele online at:

Burek C.V. (2011), Catherine Raisin, in: A Celebration of Women's achievements over the last 100 years and beyond - Inspirational stories of women from across the world, The National Federation of Women's Institutes - Wales, Cardiff WI p23

Burek C.V. (2012). The role of LGAPs (Local Geodiversity Action Plans) and Welsh RIGS as local drivers for geoconservation within geotourism in Wales. Geoheritage, 4, (1-2), 45-63

Brown, E.J., Gordon, J.E., Burek, C.V., Campbell, S., Bridgland, D.R. (2014) The contribution of the Quaternary Research Association to geoconservation: achievements and future challenges. In: Catt, J.A. & Candy, I. (eds), The History of the Quaternary Research Association. Quaternary Research Association, London

Burek, C. V., Ellis, N.V., Evans, D.H., Hart, M.B., and Larwood, J.G., (2013) Marine conservation in the United Kingdom. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 124, (4), 581-592

Burek, C.V., 2014 The contribution of women to Welsh geological research and education up to 1920. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. (2014), 125,

Burek C.V. (2015). A valuable Europe-wide summary - a book review: Geoheritage in Europe and its conservation (2012), W.A.P Wimbledon, S. Meyer-Smith (Eds), ProGEO, 405 pp. Hardback. € 40.00, ISBN 9788242624765. In: Earth Heritage 43, 31 

Burek C.V., & Sutton R, (2015) Malham Geology Trail: A geological trail around Malham Tarn House Published by Field Studies Council

Duruiheoma, F. I., Burek, C., Bonwick, G., & Alexander, R. (2015) Farmers’ Interest in Agricultural Technology and Organic Farming: Implications for AD Adoption and Sustainable Agriculture in the UK, Environmental Management and Sustainable Development, 4(1), 242-263.

Duruiheoma F., Burek, C.V., Bonwick, G., & Alexander, R., (2015), Farmers’ Perception of Soil: Implications for Soil Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture in the UK. Global Journal of agricultural research, 3 (3) 11-24