Sensitizing the public to the idea of a geopark through various outreach activities

Tomša, Ana Marija and Marjanac, Tihomir and Marjanac, Ljerka (2008) Sensitizing the public to the idea of a geopark through various outreach activities. In: 5th International ProGEO Symposium on Conservation of the Geological Heritage and ProGEO Working Group 1 Annual Meeting, 1.-5.10.2008. Rab Guidebook. ProGEO-Croatia, Zagreb, p. 81. ISBN 953-6076-15-2

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The process of establishing a geopark comprises much more than “ just” setting up geotrails. On the island of Rab we have been continuously explaining and demonstrating to the public what a geopark is, and what it means for the local population and their economy. We do it through various outreach activities, with the wholehearted support of the Rab community. As the education is the foundation of the geoheritage protection, our activities have been focused mostly towards younger, traditionally more perceptive generations, who then, in turn, spontaneously inform (and educate) their elders. During the past several years, ProGEO-Croatia organized several geological workshops for schoolchildren through which they learned about rocks, fossils and the fossilization process. We have excellent cooperation with the Eco-etno group “ Blue Planet” of the Ivan Rabljanin primary school in Rab, which is led by professors Jasna and Žarko Vidas. They had readily accepted the idea to participate in the Croatian Science Festival of 2007 with various self-designed activities. Among others, there were lectures and an exhibition with geological theme. The children were also led on very successful field trips, and learned about geology of their island and the mainland. All of their activities were comprehensivelly reported in media, the Novi List regional newspaper in particular, but also by the local radio station. Media coverage brought the news from Rab to much wider audience, and the children involved felt their efforts and enthusiasm were recognized and respected. We also have good cooperation with the local Mountaneering Club “ Kamenjak” . Its members contributed in the first phase of setting up geotrails with celaning and repairing the existing hiking trails, and they also maintain the geotrails afterwards. More and more often we see local tourist workers informing their guests about the Geopark and geotrails, and the tourists readily and eagerly explore this new geotouristic offer. The info-centre in Lopar, which started operating this summer, provided essential information to the tourists and their hosts alike, and will also provide various educational activities for children in the future. Outreach activities are extremely important in a geopark, as well as in any area that aspires to become one. Without the support of the local community, a geopark cannot be fully utilized as a means for sustainable development. In order to have this support, the local population needs to understand and embrace the concept of the geopark, and to get a basic, general knowledge of the science behind it. Continuous and various outreach activities are the only efficient way to accomplish that, and we hope to expand our activities even more in the future, and hopefully engage young and middle-age tourist-workers in education on geopark administration and maintainance.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: geopark, public, workshops, school children
Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 133
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Geology
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Department of Geology
Publisher: ProGEO-Croatia
Depositing User: Sonja Borak
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 11:22
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2014 11:22

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