IAT Presents at European Geopark Conference

On September 3-5, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol attended the European Geoparks Conference in Oulu, Finland, where he gave a presentation on the International Appalachian Trail and its connection to Global Geoparks.  The IAT crosses 12 Global Geoparks and Aspiring Geoparks in Canada, Western Europe and Morocco.


The 3-day event was held at the University of Oulu and the nearby Rokua Geopark, and was attended by over 400 representatives from European, Canadian and other Global Geoparks and Aspiring Geoparks.

University of Oulu


Day One began with opening welcome by local officials - including Conference Chair Vesa Krökki - and keynote speeches by Global Geoparks President Professor Nickolas Zouros and UNESCO Representative Dr Margarete Patzak

Opening Cerenonies2015 European Geoparks Conference Opening Ceremonies (click to enlarge)


followed by a variety of themed presentations by geopark, tourism and conservation organizations.  

Day One PresentationsDay One Presentations (click to enlarge)
Many focussed on the development and maintenance of Global Geoparks


while the IAT presentation - entitled International Appalachian Trail partners with European Geoparks - introduced the IAT and its potential connection between Geoparks found along the IAT route, and was given in association with Carlos Neto de Carvalho and IAT partner Naturtejo Geopark of Portugal.

 IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol giving a presentation on the IAT and Global Geoparks


Day Two was reserved for field trips to Rokua Geopark

Rokua Field TripsDay Two Field Trips (click to enlarge)

or a walking tour of the city of Oulu.  

Oulu City Hall



Day Three began with a keynore presentation by Dr Rauno Väisänen, Director of Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland

Keynote PresentationDr Rauno Väisänen giving a presentation on heritage management and versatile benefits (click to enlarge)


followed by more presentations on themes such as conservation, education and communication. 

 Carlos Neto de Carvalho of IAT partner Naturtejo Geopark of Portugal giving a presentation on digital marketing


During coffee and lunch breaks between sessions, participants used the opportunity to view poster presentations


Representatives from Spain's Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark at their poster presentation

English Riviera Geopark Coordinator Melanie Borders with 7th International Conference on Global Geoparks Poster


and interact with guest presenters and geopark representatives.

IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol chats with Stonehammer Geopark (New Brunswick) representative Joan Pearce


Day Three ended with a closing dinner at Rokua Health & Spa Hotel



where Global Geoparks President Nickolas Zouros announced the results of the 2015 Geopark re-evaluations and welcomed 5 new European Geoparks, bringing the total to 69. He also repeated a Day One prediction that the Global Geoparks Network will receive full UNESCO designation (on par with World Heritage Sites) during the 38th UNESCO General Conference in November, thereby becoming UNESCO Global Geoparks.


For more on the 2015 European Geoparks Conference, go to the conference website or the European Geoparks website.