On Monday 2nd September CCGHT staff member Miss Nikki Maguire travelled to Italy to attend the 12th European Geopark Network Conference, attended by representatives of established and aspiring Geoparks. The conference was held within the Cliento and Vallo di Diano Geopark in a town called Ascea, two hours south of Naples. The conference itself lasted two days with key speakers such as Patrick Mc Keever, UNESCO, and Nicolas Zouros, the European Geopark Network Co-ordinator. Geopark representatives from throughout Europe and many global Geoparks gave presentations under many different themes, one being aspiring Geoparks and another about education within the Geopark context.
The conference provided many great project ideas and some ideas which can be used to enhance CCGHT’s current projects, an example being the provision of all information digitally and in other languages.
The conference was a great chance to meet with contacts and put faces to names, for instance meeting with representatives of the Magma, Katla, and Shetlands Geoparks, among others, who CCGHT are hoping to partner with for a Northern Peripheries Project.
Following the conferences were two full-day field trips getting out into the Geopark which is distinct due to its karst system and mountains formed by rising oceanic crust. The field trips were a chance to see many natural and cultural features of the area; sinkholes, springs, interactive museums and the marine monitoring and research unit as this is a coastal Geopark.
The Conference was a great opportunity to see the cultural and education side of Geoparks as well as the landscape and all the geodiversity and biodiversity it offered and how these can be harnessed and enhanced for the benefit of all.