Handbook of Geotourism
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Handbook of Geotourism

Edited by Ross Dowling and David Newsome

Ross Dowling and David Newsome present an original, substantial and much-needed contribution to the field which will further our understanding of geotourism in theory and practice. This Handbook defines, characterises and explores the subject through a range of international perspectives and case studies, identifying geotourism as a rapidly emerging form of urban and regional sustainable development.
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Chapter 18: Geoheritage and public geoliteracy: opportunities for effective geoscience education within US parks

Renee M. Clary


US fossil park sites allow visitors to collect and retain a small number of fossils, and also provide informal education in the form of signage, brochures, and/or onsite mentors. In 2014, four Ohio, US sites were visited, assessed against the optimal fossil park model, and analyzed for their opportunities to improve public geoliteracy. Paleozoic fossils could sustainably be collected at all sites, but sites differed in their level of interpretation and accessibility. From the content analysis of signage and brochures, four major themes emerged: (1) geoscience concepts must be explicit and directly tied to the collecting site; (2) geologic time, fossilization, and evolution should be interpreted for improved visitor understanding; (3) fossil samples should be provided at the site through signage, brochures, or displays; and (4) explicit connections between the sites and modern issues can enhance the visitor understanding of the site’s broader context and relevance for sustainability.

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