On September 19-22, IAT/IATNL Chairperson Paul Wylezol attended the 6th International UNESCO Conference on Global Geoparks hosted by Stonehammer Geopark in Saint John, New Brunswick. He was there learning about the Global Geopark network, promoting the proposed Cabox Global Geopark in Western Newfoundland, and meeting representatives from Geoparks along the IAT route.
The International Appalachian Trail crosses 10 Geoparks in 6 countries in Western Europe and will likely soon cross a number of Geoparks in Eastern Canada.
View of Saint John, New Brunswick (click to make larger)
The conference was held at the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre at the uptown Market Square
and opened Friday, September 19 with opening welcome and speeches by local politicians, Stonehammer and Global Geopark officials, and UNESCO representatives.
Patrick McKeever, UNESCO's Global Coordinator for the Global Geoparks Network, addresses the audience
It was well attended by Geopark representatives from around the world, with large numbers from Europe and Asia.
(click to make larger)
Days One and Two included presentations, meetings and networking
A presentation on the growth of Geoparks in Canada
A presentation including the Appalachian-Caledonian Orogen
including a Friday evening reception at the New Brunswick Museum
and a Saturday night gathering of Canadian participants at the Saint John Ale House.
Canadian participants at the 6th International UNESCO Conference on Global Geoparks
They were joined at the Ale House by the Global Geopark executive committee after their Annual General Meeting.
Sunday was an outdoor day at the Geopark Conference, including a variety of tours in and around Saint John and Stonehammer Geopark.
View of Market Square and Wharf, Saint John
Paul tried his luck on Reversing Falls Zip Line, and lived to tell the tale.
Stonehammer Geopark sign at Reversing Falls Zip Line
Godfrey Nowlan, Chairperson of the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks, at the Cabox Geopark poster.
Godfrey was a graduate student of renowned Newfoundland geologist Harold "Hank" Williams, whose work
and legacy is promoted by the poster and proposed Geopark.
Also presenting a poster at the conference was North West Highlands Geopark in Scotland, home to the IAT Cape Wrath Trail.
Laura Hamlet, Information Officer at North West Highlands Geopark in Scotland
The Conference ended with a Gala Award Dinner and the designation of 11 new Geoparks, including six from Europe, two from China, and one each from Japan, Morocco and Canada. This brings the total number of Global Geoparks worldwide to 111 in 32 countries.