THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS FOR IMPROVED EARTH SCIENCE LITERACY AND THE COMMUNICATION OF GEOHERITAGE
We present recent efforts and results for communicating the geoheritage of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, a geographical region with a fascinating geologic and human history. We present on the development of a varied partnership, where each stakeholder has a valued and individual role in helping to engage the general public in the importance of Keweenaw geology and history. In this case, the university has taken the leadership role as acting liaison between said parties. Examples include school teachers who have participated in an NSF-funded national park internship, resulting in the development of much valued and needed geologic interpretative materials, such as EarthCaches and lesson plans. Other partners include those involved in conservation and preservation issues within our community such as the Keweenaw Land Trust, Scenic Byway committee, the Michigan Nature Conservancy and Gratiot Lake Nature Conservancy – all of which have developed an increased interest in the conservation of geologic features in the Keweenaw and the subsequent development of educational materials to accompany this. A number of public meetings on the prospect of a Geopark proposal for this area as well as basic lectures and “geowalks” have been very well attended suggesting the desire for further programs addressing geoheritage. Through these efforts and partnership, we aim to build an education and interpretative program of the local geology that is community driven. This diverse partnership stands to bridge the gap between experts and the general public through an open and clear dialogue.