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Geopark Shetland Secures Project Funding

This figure in the Old Haa Garden is made from Lewisian Gneiss, formed nearly 3 billion years ago when Shetland was connected to Canada. We will be exploring this connection in the Drifting Apart project. This figure in the Old Haa Garden is made from Lewisian Gneiss, formed nearly 3 billion years ago when Shetland was connected to Canada. We will be exploring this connection in the Drifting Apart project. Zoom Geopark Shetland is pleased to announce the success of a funding bid to the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme for the ‘Drifting Apart’ project, involving partners from Canada to Russia.

Geopark Shetland has worked closely with Scottish partners North West Highlands Geopark and aspiring Lochaber Geopark on the bid, led by the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (Northern Ireland). The value of the Scottish budget is a quarter of a million Euros over three years, with an intervention rate of 65%. In real terms this means each Scottish Geopark will receive approximately 50,000 Euros to spend on interpretation and education over the course of the project.

Other partners are Magma Geopark (Norway), Stonehammer Geopark (Canada), Marble Arch Caves Geopark (Northern Ireland/Ireland), Reykjanes Aspiring Geopark, Saga Aspiring Geopark and Katla Geopark (Iceland), and Kenozero National Park (Russia).

The partners will work together to interpret and promote the interconnected geological heritage of the Northern Periphery and Arctic region, and its many links to natural, built and cultural heritage.

The project will create a transnational geological trail telling the shared story of the area’s geodiversity that will form a basis for tourism, education, and economic and social development opportunities. Partners will develop on-site and digital interpretation to communicate their part of the Drifting Apart story. A series of key sites will be recorded using 3D laser scanning technology to create a 3D virtual exhibition and support ongoing site management.

The Scottish Geoparks will lead on the creation of project toolkits and supplementary training opportunities for schools, SMEs and community organisations, to help them to benefit from the resources developed during the project.

Geopark Shetland’s project officer Robina Barton said ‘I’m absolutely thrilled that we have secured this funding. ‘Drifting Apart’ will allow us to deliver a number of projects identified as desirable in our action plan, including a self-guide trail in the South Mainland and interpretation relating to North Sea oil. Over the past eighteen months we have collaborated with project partners at meetings of the European and Global Geoparks networks and via Skype to develop the project, clearly demonstrating the value of being a part of this dynamic network. We are also excited to be working closing with our fellow Geoparks on the Scottish mainland to raise the profile of Scotland’s amazing geology on an international stage.’

Click here for more information about the Northern Periphery Programme.