Paper No. 110-15
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
COMMON GROUND: HOW GEOSCIENTISTS CAN HELP INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS OF GEOHERITAGE
The concept of geoheritage recognizes the intrinsic link between the geologic processes that shape our planet and the trajectory of human life and culture. Geoheritage sites possess geologic features with significant scientific, educational, cultural, and/or aesthetic value that are particularly illustrative of fundamental geologic features or processes. One important goal of all geoheritage programs is to enhance the public’s scientific literacy, especially regarding the processes by which the Earth and its inhabitants have evolved. Three ways that we as professional geoscientists can enhance public awareness of geoheritage are: 1) Share our expertise about a noteworthy outcrop or geological process by writing an article for the local newspaper or other popular outlet; 2) Serve as resources for journalists by making ourselves available for interviews in which we help expand their knowledge of the geologic aspects of stories they are covering; 3) Write popular media stories about our experiences as geotourists. It is not necessary to be THE scientific expert about the geology we see during our travels in order to illuminate the general public on the wonders of a particular feature or process. Our scientific training causes us to view the world differently; when we share with others that unusual perspective and our excitement regarding the insight geoheritage sites provide, we help our fellow citizens to gain a deeper sense of place, become more scientifically literate, and more fully appreciate our shared heritage.