Shetland Joins International Geopark Project

by Alastair Hamilton -

Shetland's intriguing geology, the basis for recognition as a Geopark, will feature in a new international project that involves partners from Canada to Russia.

Geopark Shetland has worked closely with Scotland's North West Highlands Geopark and aspiring Lochaber Geopark on the bid for what's called the "Drifting apart" project, which is led by the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (Northern Ireland). The value of the Scottish budget is €250,000 over three years, which will meet 65% of the cost. In real terms, this means that each Scottish Geopark will receive approximately €50,000 to spend on interpretation and education.

Other partners are Magma Geopark (Norway); Stonehammer Geopark (Canada); Marble Arch Caves Geopark (Northern Ireland/Ireland); Reykjanes Aspiring Geopark, Saga Aspiring Geopark and Katla Geopark (Iceland); and Kenozero National Park (Russia).

The partners will work together to interpret and promote the interconnected geological heritage of the Northern Periphery and Arctic region, and its many links to natural, built and cultural heritage. A transnational geological trail will tell the geological story and open up tourism, education, and economic and social development opportunities. The Scottish Geoparks will focus on creating a range of educational assets.

Geopark Shetland's project officer Robina Barton said she was “absolutely thrilled” that the Shetland Geopark has secured the funding offered by the project. She continued:

“Over the past eighteen months we have collaborated with project partners at meetings of the European and Global Geoparks networks and via Skype to develop the project, clearly demonstrating the value of being a part of this dynamic network. We are also excited to be working closely with our fellow Geoparks on the Scottish mainland to raise the profile of Scotland's amazing geology on an international stage.”

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