Dr Alan Briggs1
1Geoparks WA, Perth, Australia
Bringing communities together to achieve common goals is at the forefront of the role of Geoparks. While geoparks are based on geology they are more than that. Geoparks are bottom-up community based not for profit organisations that are holistic in the way they function, supporting the abiotic, biotic, and cultural aspects of an area or location. Bringing communities together through a geopark provides an empowerment that can ensure cooperation to achieve land and sea conservation and awareness through education and research as well as on-ground activities.
This presentation will outline the role of geoparks, the opportunities they bring for community based activities, and use current case studies to demonstrate the value of geoparks in achieving community based outcomes for conservation and awareness of land and sea environments.
Alan completed his PhD researching stakeholder perceptions about establishing a geopark in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. There was widespread support particularly about bringing communities together, creating businesses and employment. The role of geoparks in creating environmental awareness in a holistic way was recognised. Alan is keen to share his findings so that this approach can deliver postive community outcomes through education and conservation.