Global Network of National Geoparks

Alston school pupils benefit from UNESCO European Geopark Youth Camp

Source : Published :July 24, 2008

Samuel King's School pupils
with teacher Kate Dodd and
AONB Staff at the Geoparks Fair in Osnabruck
Four children and two members of staff from Samuel King's School in Alston have just come back from a European Geopark Youth Camp in Germany, thanks to a project organised through the North Pennines AONB Partnership.

Year 9 and 10 pupils Clare Dodd, Stefany Heslop and Chelsea Shepherd from Alston and Joe Beadle from St John's Chapel, Weardale, and their teachers Alan Fields and Kate Dodd took part in fossil cast making, art activities, rock climbing and a whole range of geologically based activities with young people from nine other UNESCO European Geoparks from countries including Croatia, Germany, Scotland and the Czech Republic. The Youth Camp was fully funded by the German Environmental Foundation through the Terra Vita European Geopark centred on Osnabruck.

In order to go on the Youth Camp the pupils had to undertake a project on their Geopark. With the help of the AONB Partnership's geologist Elizabeth Pickett and Weardale media artist Rachel Clarke, 15 pupils from the school made a brilliant short film about the North Pennines AONB's geology, landscape and mining heritage and its European Geopark status. As part of the Youth Camp, the pupils attended the UNESCO Global Geoparks Conference, which ran parallel to the Youth Camp, and presented their film to delegates from over 50 countries; they also helped out at a Geoparks Fair where all the European Geoparks promoted their area to the people of Osnabruck.

North Pennines AONB Geodiversity Officer Elizabeth Pickett said: "The pupils learned all about the North Pennines' geology, how to use a camera and how to write and edit a script, as well as aspects of animation, music and set design. They had a great time meeting young people from all across Europe and it was a great opportunity for them".

Clare Dodd from Alston uses bellows to help fellow Youth Camp members smelt iron


The Alston Team at the UNESCO
Global Geoparks Conference
(l-r: Joe Beadle, Clare Dodd, Stefany Heslop and Chelsea Shepherd)
Fifteen year old Chelsea Shepherd said of the Youth Camp, "Words cannot describe how ace it was!" a sentiment echoed by Geography teacher Alan Fields who added that "I had great time and have some unforgettable memories of the visit". Year 9 pupil Clare Dodd, who presented the pupils work to the Global Geoparks Conference, summed up a feeling shared by all the participants from all the different Geoparks in saying, "I had an amazing time, and made a lot of new friends."

The North Pennines AONB became Britain's first European Geopark in 2003 and was one of the founding members of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network in 2004. The European and Global Geopark status for the area is managed by the North Pennines AONB Partnership Staff Unit based in Stanhope, Weardale.