In 2006, the TERRA.vita Geopark focussed its activities on realising a third stage of development. While the first stage, including the development of a marketing concept and a corporate design, was realised in 2002, the second stage was the installation of a geotourism infrastructure and the third was an outreach programme, bringing the Geopark idea to the public. Main aspects are the continuing volunteer-programme and the 3rd International Geoparks Conference, laying the focus on communication. Highlights of the year included:
- During the International Geoparks Conference 2006 in Belfast, the decision was made that TERRA.vita will host the Conference in 2008. This is a great honour for our Geopark and at the same time a great challenge. With the help of the German Environmental Foundation (DBU) and many other partners, we started planning a conference that will integrate the public as much as possible.
- In October 2006 TERRA.vita started a course for educating “Certificated nature-and landscape-guides” to act as ambassadors of the Geopark. This makes us the first institution in Lower Saxony to do so and gives our volunteer guides the opportunity to participate in a standardized, professional training course and increasing the quality of our geotourism provision. The course provides a wide range of learning oppportunities from geology to marketing, from communication to nature protection laws.
- In February 2006, the German and Austrian Geoparks, on the initiative of TERRA.vita, took part in a fair for alternative tourism, “Reisepavillon” in Hannover. They represented the European Geoparks and informed visitors about the activities of the network. Following the success of this event, the same parks will participate again in 2007.
- Printed guides for the most important long-distance hiking trails of TERRA.vita were published. A guide to the “Herrmannsweg” (path of Arminius) was printed in spring and was available for the 2006season. This path follows the ridge of the Teutoburger Wald and crosses the highest mountain tops of the region. The second guide (printed in December 2006) deals with the “Wittekindsweg” (path of Wittekind), and stretches along the Wiehengebirge mountain range, connecting the town of Osnabrück with the “westfalian gateway” near Minden.