Using education and gamification as tools for management and awareness of special and protected areas
Hateg Country Dinosaurs Geopark is a special kind of a protected area – a UNESCO Global Geopark, where the communities and their relation with Earth is one of the key management purposes. Through education and volunteering used in an innovative way, our geopark fulfils the tasks of awareness, community involvement and interpretation.
Education and gamification are put to use in an integrating way in more than one direction:
- All the stakeholders on local and regional level, were gathered in a network - EduGeopark,
- In the 15 schools in the Geopark we created children clubs - GeoExplorers, and we designed special courses on geoheritage, natural heritage and community values.
- the Geopark's interpretation centres are all spaces of nonformal education for locals and visitors.
- gamification is used in organising events, in awareness campaigns, in promotion and marketing.
For example, Andi Andezit is a mascot made of andesitic rock which represents the House of Volcanoes interpretation centre. The mascot is used for educational programs, for events - Volcano Day, for leaflets and panels, for promotion and marketing. The plush version of the mascot was sent to dozens of UNESCO global geoparks around the world, which were all presented in Hateg and on the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/andi.andezit

Resources needed

- approximately 10000 euros/year
- a team of at least 6 people

Evidence of success

• More than 300 pupils and 25 teachers are involved in the children clubs.
• The tourism infrastructure of the geopark is set in place so the number and quality of tourists changed and the locals benefit from this;
• Tens of educational projects and events

Difficulties encountered

The most important challenge was integrating the new courses in the school program. We overcame this by cooperating with the professors and planning the new courses as optional.

Potential for learning or transfer

Although education is used in most of the protected areas, very few territories have a strategy in this direction. Even fewer organisations use gamification in other areas such as marketing and interpretation.
Using the experience of Hateg Country UNESCO Global Geopark, any protected area and special territory can use education and gamification in an efficient way.

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Project
Main institution
Hateg Country UNESCO Global Geopark
Location
Vest, Romania (România)
Start Date
December 2013
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

Cristian Ciobanu Please login to contact the author.