Project leaders behind a plan to build an extinct species monument overlooking the Jurassic Coast on Portland say it is still very much alive.
The Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory (MEMO) project missed out on getting Growth Deal government funding earlier this month – unlike the Jurassica geological park scheme earmarked for the other side of Portland.
But the people behind MEMO are hoping a bid for £5 million worth of Heritage Lottery Funding is successful.
MEMO is an educational charity dedicated to building a 100ft high iconic spiral tower of Portland stone to species going extinct worldwide, together with a biodiversity education centre. It will be lined with the carved images of all 850 species to have perished since the dodo.
It has the support of some of the world’s top academics, including American scientist Professor EO Wilson, described as the ‘father of biodiversity’, who has recently got on board as patron.
The project was given planning permission for a site on the edge of Bowers Quarry two years ago and since then efforts have been going on to try and raise the £20 million-plus needed to construct it via public and private means.
Since then, another set of ambitious plans unconnected to MEMO have come forward to build Jurassica, a subterranean geological park, in an old quarry on the other side of Portland.
Jurassica was successful in attracting £300,000 of Growth Deal funding to finance a feasibility study and is applying for Heritage Lottery Funding.
Project director for MEMO, Sebastian Brooke, said: “If we get the Heritage Lottery Funding we will no longer be going head to head.
“It’s two different projects but entirely complimentary in that Jurassica is about the past and MEMO is about the unfolding of modern geological processes.
“The fact that they’re both planned for Portland says something about the magic of the place.”