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Geoparks-Earth science discoveries for the public

Published:Apr 21,2008
J. Weber
European and Global Geopark Bergstrasse- Odenwald Nibelungenstrasse 41, D-64653 Lorsch, Germany

Keywords: Geosciences discoveries, communication potential, holistic approach, Geopark rangers, geo-education

In the broad public, Earth Sciences are considered as a very special issue, comprehensible after years of intense studies and rather unimportant for the presence.

Very few special and spectacular topics like volcanism, Earth quakes and dinosaurs could reach a broader audience.
For Geoparks, Earth sciences in every day life as well as Earth history with its special messages hidden in soils, rocks, fossils and landscapes, are important tools concerning their high communication potential for the public.

Understanding the past as key for sustainable development of the future - this is the potential for Geoparks presenting Earth sciences as an ongoing discovery into time and space.

This special holistic approach is of high importance for the communication strategies of the Geopark Bergstrasse - Odenwald. In this regard, a wide range of Earth science discoveries like geopark days and geotope celebrations have been implemented. They are developed in cooperation with local stakeholders, the Federal State Geological Departments and the regional universities and include field trips, Geotope presentations, press releases, information brochures as well as school and university lectures.

Furthermore, the Geopark rangers, a team of currently 45 nature scientists with a Geopark education certificate, offer geo-education for school classes including geo-experiments, rock discoveries, geo-detective stories and time trips. They also use new geo-toys like the continental jig saw puzzle or the Geopark rock memory. The newest project represents a Geopark quartet which is developed in cooperation with the UNESCO world heritage Messel, a strong cooperation partner of the geopark Bergstrasse - Odenwarl. Main topics are landscape, waters, vegetation, rocks, volcanism, fossils, man, Geoparks and World heritage. The quartet "seeking for tracks - Geopark and Messel" is considered as a promising geoproduct for the public, especially for families and school classes.
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