Trying to formulate a framework for Natural and Cultural Heritage Management

It’s not my job of course and I’m not even sure it’s possible for a student to do it, but it seems we are often uncertain what is the core elements of our programme, probably because it is multidisciplinary and also rather new. I had a few discussions with other students recently and some have been a little bewildered.

As I am at the same time trying to prepare myself for my Bachelor’s thesis, which I have to write in the spring, and this would involve a lot of thinking about our field, the philosophy of science, the methods and theories we use and the world view they represent.

I hope that these things might prove useful also to some of my fellow students.

Sprout

Lovely Geopark Visit

WaterfallsFor the past couple of weeks, I have been in Wales, getting familiar with the Fforest Fawr Geopark within the Brecon Beacons and it’s people. The purpose of my trip was twofold: First of all, I needed to experience something new, have a break from it all and just unwind. And secondly, as I work with a Danish Geopark in the making, I wanted to experience how they had done it elsewhere, and perhaps pick up some tips and tricks.

I stayed with locals using Airbnb, travelled around with public transport, tasted local food, attempted to speak Welsh though my success was rather limited, alas. I visited and took notes at visitor centres, churches, museums and other places of interest – and took a lot of pictures of displays and solutions to interpretation challenges.

Furthermore, I had the chance to once again visit Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, go for a few nice long walks, learn more about the geology of my favourite place and well, get stung by some 8 foot high nettles behind a quarry somewhere.

It was a really nice trip, even though I missed my return flight and had to go via Hamburg and sit someplace silly in a railway station at 3am in the morning waiting for a connecting train. I will sort through some pictures and upload a few for you soon.

Hectic Time

Bovbjerg Lighthouse

Bovbjerg Lighthouse

My internship has been really interesting so far, and I have had the opportunity to work with many different tasks which is really nice – and also means that I am kept fairly busy.

I have been involved with fundraising, project development, facilitation, heritage dissemination, rural development, research and a heap of project secretary tasks, newsletter production, blogging and human resource management.

I’m learning a lot, meeting so many nice people and making a few mistakes here and there as well. That’s life though.

Testing Geotourism

For 4 months now, I have been working as a project secretary with the preparations for a Geopark as part of a team of volunteers and professionals, assisting with fundraising, publicity and dissemination, and after speaking to many Geopark administrations and explaining geotourism to many other people, I thought it was about time I ventured out into the world and did a bit of my own testing.

Geotourism is about the uniqueness of a place – its landscape, culture, nature, people and about exchange between hosts and guests, sustainability and respect.

I am going to stay with locals, walk a lot, visit the sites of geological and historical interest, sample the local food, visit small galleries and archives and I just can’t wait.

At the same time, I am going to try to get some good pictures of dissemination methods, see how their nature interpreters do their job, and hopefully, I will have a chance to speak to them about their thoughts as well. I am also interested in figuring out how much the locals are aware of the Geopark I am visiting (possibly I will visit two) and how they feel about it.

In the Geopark we are creating, volunteers play a great role and the Geopark has a good deal of local support, but I have been told this isn’t the case everywhere, so I am curious…

Now just have a few bits of work to get sorted before I can go – some translations and consultancy stuff to pay the bills. Interesting stuff as well, but that’s for another time

Measuring the Effects of Nature Projects

I am currently working with fundraising tasks for Geopark Vestjylland as well as working with them to meet the criteria to be UNESCO certified through EGN/GGN. It’s extremely interesting to learn about geomorphology and geotourism, as well as having the opportunity to get to know people so engaged in the heritage of exactly my region.

I have to create a project for my University College also this spring, and with my boss I have decided that I’m going to be working on an effect measuring model specifically designed for this Geopark. It will include determining the baseline for several parameters, both some that are very important with regards to the EGN application but also economic development, level of awareness, synergies with other nature areas, infrastructure improvements and local pride.

It will be interesting to see what is possible to measure directly as well as how these measurements can be designed. It’s also going to be necessary to make qualified predictions and project some short-term effects into the future.

I can’t wait to get started!

I will leave you with a picture of the coastline at Bovbjerg, an up to 35 metres high cliff with Elster, Saale and Weichsel deposits where especially the exposed cross section in the Weichselian stationary line is of interest.
Bovbjerg

Time for the Career Day

We’ve finally managed to put together a really nice program for the Career Day where we expect to see upto 100 students from the program for an interesting day with speeches from alumni, potential employers and the trade union.

I can’t wait to see how it all goes. I will be speaking as well – about the Geopark I work with.

A fellow student has made this banner for us, too.

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