FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10th marks the first anniversary of Discovery Global Geopark’s success in achieving its UNESCO
designation for the Bonavista Peninsula region. The organization is celebrating with a launch event and fossil hike with Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador’s, Dr. Duncan McIlroy. Dr. McIlroy, a long-time supporter of the Geopark, will share his knowledge of fossils including the Haootia quadriformis, the world’s oldest complex animal fossil. It is this rare Ediacaran fossil find, along with the documentation of 40 geological sites, that is the foundation of the region’s geological significance. In 2020, after thirteen years of planning, dedication, perseverance, and commitment, the area became the first UNESCO Global Geopark in the province; it is only one of five in Canada and proof that when you collectively work together towards a common goal, good things can happen.
“Congratulations to the Discovery UNESCO Global Geopark on their one-year anniversary celebrating the remarkable geological beauty and history of the Bonavista Peninsula. I’m proud that our government has invested in initiatives like this one that shines a spotlight on the amazing places and experiences this province has to offer,” said Churence Rogers, Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA. “This is just one of many unique tourist attractions in the Bonavista area that will draw visitors to our shores and help our communities thrive.”
“While COVID prevented a public celebration in 2020, it is important we take time to recognize this achievement and thank everyone involved for their contribution to our regional success,” said Geopark Manager, Cyndy Stead. “As a UNESCO Geopark we are entirely different than a single ‘UNESCO’ heritage site more familiar in Newfoundland and Labrador. We are a collection of 27 communities that covers 280 kilometres of coastline and 1150 square kilometres of land space. While we could not have achieved this level of success without the support of many, I can think of no better example in this province, where a collection of community volunteers and organizations have given freely of their time to work together for the greater good of an entire region. This anniversary launch celebration is really a celebration of them.” said Ms. Stead.
And while such an event allows us to take time to recognize and thank everyone for their contribution to our regional success, John Norman, Chair of the Discovery Global Geopark is excited about future possibilities. “Living and working within a UNESCO Global Geopark has far-reaching benefits for the economy and has the potential to create new and sustainable employment post-COVID.” The Discovery UNESCO Global Geopark stakeholders believe a UNESCO Global Geoparks designation will bring a multitude of benefits and be a catalyst for sustainable geo-tourism development and can strengthen the regional economy and raise the international profile of the area’s geological significance and unique landforms. There is a great and unique opportunity to educate others about the significance of our geological heritage and ensure that residents and visitors can experience and enjoy their local landscape and appreciate the value and importance of its geological heritage. Norman says, “We look forward to welcoming community representatives, past and present volunteer committee representatives, the research community, along with funding partners and dignitaries in Port Union on July 10th, 2021.”
Cyndy Stead, Geopark Manager
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