The Second International Geopark Camp in Muskau
Greative geopark camp on the German-Polish border with the participation of students from the Bakony–Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark
The second international geopark camp was organised in August 2016 for 15-17 years old students in the in the Muskauer Faltenbogen/Łuk Mużakowa UNESCO Global Geopark. The theme of the camp this time was ’handcrafts meet geology’. During the camp youngsters from three nations, including 7 students and a teacher from the Balatonalmádi Dual Language School got acquainted with the geological and cultural sites of the geopark. An officer from the Bakony–Balaton Geopark organisation also travelled with them.
The camp spotlighted every day another raw material (coal, glass sand, clay, iron and wood). The participants learned about the original materials, about their old and modern usage and they could try pottery, glass grinding, basket making and blacksmithery. Students made their own crafts and took them home to remember each day of the camp.
During the evenings the students made presentations about their geoparks. Besides handcrafts workshops, participants hiked, visited exhibitions and museums: railway history exhibition, narrow gauge railway, the UNESCO World Heritage Muskauer Park/Park Mużakowski in Bad Muskau, a functioning lignite quarry, chocolate manufature, old brick factory, flora and fauna of River Nieße on the border, lakes on the previous mining area, open-air museum, ethnography museum, rafting tour and sightseeing in Berlin.
Muskauer Faltenbogen/Łuk Mużakowa Geopark
is recognised as one of the most scenic push moraines in Middle Europe. Its characteristic horseshoe shape was formed some 340,000 years ago as the "Muskauer glacier" advanced from the thick inland ice sheet which covered half of Europe at that time. The load from the ice cover caused subsoil compaction down to a depth of about 300 metres while deforming the horizontal successions of sand, gravel, clay and lignite beds. The unconsolidated rock masses in front of the glacier piled up to form a terminal moraine of some 150 m above today's ground level. The inland ice of the more recent glacial periods flattened the moraine down to today's level, but not entirely, as can be seen from “High Hill” (Hoher Berg) near Döbern (183 m) or the so-called “Dragon Hills” (Drachenberge) near Krauschwitz (163 m).
The Muskau Arch, although initially shaped long time ago, has remained an ever changing landscape until this very day. Today, the Muskau Arch is a picturesque cultural and post-mining landscape full of many and varied lakes, and a natural area of forests exhibiting significant ecological diversity. This beautiful recreational landscape is crossed by a network of theme-based hiking and biking trails.
2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
The United Nations (UN) has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The resolution recognizes the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world. The International Year (IY 2017) aims to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
The European Geoparks Network became silver partner of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 (IY2017).
The EGN's aim is to promote the European UNESCO Global Geoparks as sustainable tourism destinations to the International Tourism market, to promote Geoparks and build new links with the tourism market, raise the profile and visibility of the UNESCO Global Geoparks among the main players in tourism industry, to promote Geoparks collectively through this UNITED NATIONS’ initiative operated by the World Tourism Organization.
Watch the new EGN promotional video dedicated to the International Year of Sustainable Tourism 2017:
A Hellow Wood project inpired by fossils
The Hello Wood architecture and educational platform organised its workshop in Csopak for the fourth time this summer with student and professor teams from Hungarian design and architecture universities. The workshop was supported by the local government of Csopak, a village near Lake Balaton, located within the Bakony–Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark. The teams designed and built nine installations in the village. The workshop is a unique experience where people with different cultural and professional background and from different generations work together. The wooden installations serve the residents and visitors for long years according to plan and visually enrich the village.
The team of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics designed and built one of the installations, located in the park of the Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate, near the Dormouse Circuit. It is called ’Ammoniterrace’ as it remebles to an ammonite and at the same time offers a possibility to have a rest on it.
The Bakony–Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark, founded by the national park directorate, is an area exceedingly rich in ammonite fossils, also by international standards. The shape of the wooden structure recalls the negative imprint of the fossilized, spiral like house of the ancient marine animal. We can also discover the Fibonacci Spiral in this shape, present in nature in many places.
Ammonites, these cephalopods with calcareous shell lived in high numbers in Mezozoic seas. They became extinct 66 million years ago, at the same time as dinosaurs. The fossils – well preserved, thanks to the outer calcareous shell – resemble snails at first sight, although in fact their living relatives are nautiluses, octopuses and squids.
Visit: the installation can be visited during the opening hours of the park of the directorate:
Csopak, Kossuth u. 16., Monday–Thursday:: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm, Friday: 7:30 am – 13:30 pm.
Design and building: teachers and students of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Team leaders: Márton Nagy, Péter Lassu, Tibor Pálóczi
Team: Fruzsina Ács, Zsófia Berczi, Blanka Gáspárdy, Detti Kolossváry, Simon Kőszegi, Dóra Nagy, Csaba Pintér, Zsófia Sörényi, Zsófi Telek
The other eight installations can be visited in the village (map, universities).
Short videofilms about the workshop and the building of the Ammoniterrace:
The 'Ammoniterrace' appeared on the cover of the Építész Közlöny, a Hungarian Architecture Magazine.
Geosite of the Year in Bakony–Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark 2016
The label ‘Geosite of the Year’ was first given to a geosite by the Geopark organisation, the Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate in 2013. Since then the award has been presented annually to a new geosite and the associated local community. The award acknowledges the active role of these communities in protecting and promoting their local geological heritage by renewing an old nature trail or for example clearing a rock exposure of vegetation. In this way the geosite becomes more easily accessible and visible for residents and geotourists, and the community develops a stronger connection to its geoheritage. These activities are carried out by civil organizations and the local government, in cooperation with Balaton Uplands National Park Directorate, the leading organisation of the Geopark.
Alsóörs, a charming beach village on the Northern shore of Lake Balaton, has 1600 inhabitants. The village is surrounded by gentle slopes with vinyards and orchards. A fantastic view of the lake and sandy lidos await visitors. With the active support of the local government and experts of the Geopark’s leading organization, young and enthusiastic volunteers of the Pangea Association, a Geopark Partner, renewed the Red Stone Geological Trail in 2015–2016. Thanks to this successful cooperation, the local community received the award of ’Geosite of the Year in Bakony–Balaton Geopark’ in 2016. Several geo-programmes – guided geo-tours, a geo-activity day and a geopark contest – celebrated the award and promoted the geosite. Festivals, fairs, online platforms and a hiking map have proved to be indispensable tools for the Geopark to promote the results achieved by this cooperation.
The renovated trail is located in a disused stone quarry. Besides describing a typical rock type of the Geopark, the aproximately 260 million years old Permian red sandstone, panels connect the living and non-living natural heritage of the site, the history of local stone quarrying and processing, the architectural heritage of the village and – in the spirit of networking – other sandstone sites in UNESCO Global Geoparks.
The label ‘Geosite of the Year’ has been an effective tool to promote the geosites, the communities living nearby and the positive effects of cooperation, thus presenting a good example to other communities in the Geopark. The events for the promotion of the site as the “Geosite of the Year” organized by the Geopark and assisted by the members of the local community have strengthened the cooperation of these stakeholders.
Bakony–Balaton Geopark becomes UNESCO Global Geopark
Bakony–Balaton Geopark – founded by the Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate in 2006 – became member of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) in 2012 and thus it became UNESCO Global Geopark in 2015 November.
The 195 Member States of UNESCO have ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, on 17 November 2015. This expresses governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner.
UNESCO Global Geoparks tell the 4,600 million year story of Planet Earth and of the geological events that shaped it as well as the evolution of humanity itself. Not only do they show evidence of past climate changes, they also inform local communities of present day challenges and help them prepare for hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
UNESCO Global Geoparks strive to raise awareness of geodiversity and promote protection, education and tourism best practices. Together with World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Global Geoparks form a complete range of sustainable development tools and make an invaluable contribution to the realisation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by combining global and local perspectives.
This new branding formalizes a relationship with Geoparks first established in 2001. Since then, Geoparks through the Global Geoparks Network have grown to include 120 sites all over the world. They have become an increasingly important tool for UNESCO to engage Member States and their communities in the Earth Sciences and geological heritage.
During the 38th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, Member States also decided to endorse the statutes of a new international programme: the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP). This allows the Organisation to more closely reflect the societal challenges of Earth Science today and provides an international status to a former network of sites of geological significance.
See more at the UNESCO Earth Sciences website