Global Network of National Geoparks

Raising Awareness of Geology, The example of the copper coast European geopark in Ireland

Published :March 21, 2008
S. Preteseille
Copper Coast Geopark Ltd., Knockmahon Lodge, Bunmahon, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Keywords: Education, school activities, local guides, public outreach, interaction

The geological heritage of the Copper Coast European Geopark (CCEG), located on the south east coast of lreland, reflects the variety of environments under which the area has evolved over the last 460 million years. The rocks illustrate the clousure of an ocean and subsequent volcanism, the collision of two continents leading to the creation of lrealand, the formation of a desert dissected by large rivers and the effect of glaciations during the Ice Age.

In order to raise awareness of the importance of this unique geological heritage and geology, in general, among all audiences, the CCEG has been developing educational resources and public outreach activities since 2004.

Interactive talks about geology, volcanoes, fossils, energy sources and much more, as well as fun hands-on sessions form the basis of primary schools activities. Fieldtrips with special reference to the curriculum, geographical investigation and the exploration of a site like a geologist are part of the secondary schools activities.

For the member of the general public, the CCEG can be discovered with the help of geological pamphlets which integrate with the guide and the rest of the audience. These walks are so popular that the CCEG has started training a team of local guides for support. Form European Geoparks Week and throughout the summer, people can also attend lectures, take part in workshops and other family events.

Over the last two years, the CCEG has teamed up with the Department of Geology, University College Cork (UCC), to present a locally based, eight week duration introduction course to geology. The level of interest is such that UCC is now planning to organize their Geology Diploma in the Geopark Instead of the university.