1st Doctorial presentation. Catalina González (MNHN)

Applied research in UNESCO’s Natural Protected Areas (Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks): Morocco – France – Spain)
International UNESCO Centre of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves


1st Doctorial presentation. Catalina González (MNHN) –  Supervisor: Prof. Yves Girault (24th May)

Abstract :

Exploration through different approaches of the Interpretation of Geological Heritage. Special focus on Latin-American and Spanish cases. Since the first National Parks of the United States the interpretation of nature has been one of the main educational activities that participate in the aim of preserving heritage. Even though these first National Parks have an important geological heritage, the interpretation of the geological aspects in nature seems relatively new. The creation of the Global Geopark label gives an international recognition to the geological aspects of the territories and their interpretation seems one of the main strategies for giving sense to that territory. In order to analyse the way of approaching the interpretation in different Geoparks, it is necessary to understand in each case: what is the objective of interpreting the geological heritage? To whom does it need to be interpreted? What are the tools used for it, and who conceived them? Currently this thesis is working to identify the different approaches of the interpretation of geological heritage and their relation to the
territorial dynamic in Spanish Geoparks. The methodology and fieldwork of the thesis will be presented in the first part of this oral communication. A theoretical state related to the approaches of the interpretation of geological heritage based on articles published in reviews like Geoheritage, Enseñanza de las Ciencias de la Tierra and in other Latin American publications will be presented in the second part.”

Firstly, the main idea for the PhD study of Catalina was to focus in Biosphere Reserves but, now she is going to focus on Geoparks related to Colombia.

Catalina will use three methodologies for analysing the different interpretations of the territory in geoparks. The first methodology is the bibliographical research, through 52 differnet articles in different languages between 2009 and 2015 where talked about interpretation and education and furthermore, the geo-education with three main objectives to focus on: environmental education, patrimonial education and sustainability development. The second methodology is related with interviews to the Spanish Geoparks Directors divided in: Creation of the geopark, Geopark concepts and the conception and interpretation issue. With the results of these interviews she will decide which territories are going to analyse. The third methodology is the narrative analysis of the geoparks.


Opening questions to Catalina Gonzalez presentation :

Cinthia Pereira (ICTA-UAB): “Will you only going to talk with the Geoparks director or are you going to interview the local people too? She also asked how she is going to do the questionnaire for avoiding the subjectivity that represents the social part. How is going to quantify it?”

Catalina González (MNHN): “Firstly, I want to focus on the conception part so that’s why I will interview the directors but then, I will search other different actors that can influent the conception of the Geopark.”

She doesn’t start to develop the questionnaires but the idea of the questionnaires is focus in qualitative aspects not in quantitative.

Mariam Ait Nicer (UCA): “Do you think that the education and the communication could recover the transcultural aspect of the territory?”

Catalina González (MNHN): “First, we want to understand the two concepts and then understand the objectives of both of them. She doesn0t know what objectives have the transcultural in education and communication.”

Fayssal Lemjidi (UCA): “Between the places you chose, there are a big presence of Geoparks that are located in poor territories?”

Catalina González (MNHN): “No, I choose the Geoparks of Spain. I want to do an extension through Latin America but, for now I will be focus on the Spanish Geoparks. In Spain, most of the Geoparks are located in rural areas so the main idea is how they conceive the Geopark for trying to achieve what they obtained”.

Ayoub El Ouarti (UCA): “What is the definition more used for Geo-tourism in the Geoparks?

Catalina González (MNHN): The Geo-tourism concept is a very complex and continues being a much debated issue in the Geoparks. I can’t say what the most appropriate definition is.”

Ayoub El Ouarti (UCA): “Can we talk of interpretation without reception? In that territories there are a lot of tourism and a lot of new ideas. Is it not part of a global discourse?”

Catalina González (MNHN): “For now, I am working in the cases of Spain for the narrative part and then I will extrapolate the results to Latin America. The participation is very important.”

Prof.Said Boujrouf (UCA): “You should go further to the communication and the education. You should think in the territorial aspect. If you go to the South, you will change the questions because the cultures are very different between each other, the transcultural aspect is very important. In Geoparks, every society has its own interpretation of them. There different tourist of different nationalities and their point of view will be different.”

Catalina González (MNHN): “The territorial aspect is present in my study and I don’t talk about education in the territory because is not used in Spain. I want to know what it is behind of every concept and I really need a base for starting. The perception is further than the PhD thesis, I will need more time. There are people that dedicate more than 8 years to that sort of studies.”

Prof. José Luís Briansó (UAB): “When I went to the “Catalunya Central Geopark”, I asked in a bar to the people if they know that they were in a Geopark. Nobody knew anything of Geopark. It is very important that people know that and all the benefits of it. So far, you have visited 4 Geoparks, in your opinion, which is the one that is nearer to the UNESCO idea of a Geopark?”

Catalina González (MNHN): “The reception is not included in my methodological part but it is true that most of the Geoparks aren’t known. I don’t know which will be my answer but maybe the Geopark in the Basque coastline so they have an interpretation centre and the communication issue is very developed.


The text were designed for Antoni Mas Ponce and Adriá Costa Ribes, all together PhD student.
Copyright photos : Fayssal Lemjidi, PhD student.

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