Through education and volunteering used in an innovative way, Geoparks fulfils the tasks of awareness, community involvement and interpretation
Developing and hosting volunteering programmes / opportunities and local ambassador schemes is an important and effective way to deepen community engagement, promote a sense of ownership and of civic pride and a collective responsibility for protection and promotion of their local area and the wider assets of the Geopark. By raising awareness across the full spectrum of ages, Geoparks messages provide the opportunity to support individuals to become responsible global citizens.
Volunteers programmes should be developed to support the management plan of the Geopark and be mutually beneficial for both the volunteers and the communities in which the activities are based. Programmes can be designed to involve the full range of ages in any community (youth, schools, colleges and universities students, the retired and other age groups) who want to get involved, or can be targeted to support sectors of the community which risk being excluded, such as creating accessible trails for disabled people who may still wish to enjoy access to the Geopark.
For the volunteers themselves these programmes are a great way to:
- discover more about the Geopark and the work that goes on behind the scenes;
- use skills or discover hidden talents;
- get involved in monitoring work,
- support educational activities
- participate in practical wildlife or geological conservation
- participate and contribute in international events
- become Geopark ambassadors.
Therefore the volunteer is offered the possibility to make a difference, gain skills and social recognition of their skills and creativity and in return, they support Geopark activities and operation.