Global Network of National Geoparks

Heritage interpretation by volunteers on guided cycling tours in the terra. Vita geopark, Germany

Published :April 23, 2008
T. Kluttig & H. Escher
Naturpark TERRA. Vita, Am Schölerberg 1, 49082 Osnabrück, Germany

Keywords: Heritage interpretation, cycling, volunteers, education

In 2004 the Geopark TERRA. Vita presented a set of 17 thematic cycling trails to the public. These trails - entitle "TERRA. Trails" cover most of the Geoparks area. On nearly 1000 kilometers more than 200 points of interest are visited. The thematic focus is laid on earth history, archeology, mining and architecture - heritage interpretation in the wider sense. During the opening tours the question arose, if the   nature park could offer guided tours on these cycling trails in the future. At the same time, the Europarc Federation started an official programme entitled "Volunteers in Pars" that supports efforts in educating volunteers in protected answered a call in the local newspaper and showed interest in the programme during the first three days. During a first meeting the Geopark - team was introduced, the Geopark and its targets were outlined and the different jobs were defined: Tourguides, signpost-controllers and "escorts" that accompany guided tours. The education of the volunteers is organized in three steps: First of all, the volunteers took part in a seminar evening giving them basic information on the topics of earth history, archeology and nature protection. The second element is a guided tour, where the volunteers learn to know all the details on "their" route. The third step will be an intensive course that will take place in winter 06/07, where the volunteers will get additional information on the thematic contents as well as skills in rhetoric, first aid, bicycle repair etc. this year TERRA. vita offers a whole year of guided tours through the Geopark and a perfectly maintained system of signposting on the trails for the first time.