Western Kentucky University

Media Relations

WKU faculty members explore geotourism sites in Europe

WKU faculty members explore geotourism sites in Europe

WKU Department of Geography and Geology faculty members Dr. Leslie North and Dr. Jason Polk spent part of summer 2013 exploring show caves and geoparks in eight countries in western Europe in an effort to research the managerial structure and education opportunities of the facilities.

Dr. Leslie North records audio while exploring Tiefenhohle in Germany.

Dr. Leslie North records audio while exploring Tiefenhohle in Germany.

The team began its journey in England before continuing the research expedition to 18 prominent geotourism facilities in Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland. As part of the ongoing research, Dr. North interviewed operations managers and show cave guides, participated in guided tours, collected educational materials, and documented visitor experiences during tours and in interpretation centers.

These data complement learning outcomes assessments that were initiated by the research team and continued over a three-month period with the gracious help of show cave property managers and tour guides. The data also support a similar study conducted in the United States by Dr. North and her 2011 data set from over 150 show caves worldwide.

A interpretative sign located at Doolin Cave in Ireland. Scientific banners, displays and interactive exhibits are a common feature of show caves in the European region.

A interpretative sign located at Doolin Cave in Ireland. Scientific banners, displays and interactive exhibits are a common feature of show caves in the European region.

WKU geoscience graduate students Jeremy Simmons of Jackson, Miss., and Elizabeth Tyrie of Glasgow are engaged in the project through data analysis and direct ongoing communication with participating show cave facilities. Tyrie also participated in presenting a portion of this research at the 2013 Geological Society of America meeting in Denver. The research, which was partially funded through the WKU Research and Creative Activities Program, will help to support the development of a larger external grant proposal related to informal geoscience education.

“Tourist attractions can be perfect venues for captivating interests and filling voids in science understanding,” Dr. North said. “Through continued investigation, an effective model of geotourism facility management, particularly as related to karst landscapes, may be developed and implemented across the globe to help protect these fragile landscapes.”

Department Head Dr. David Keeling noted that “this is the type of international research that gets WKU on the map. Student engagement is an important part of the educational goals of the department, and this is a great example of that vision and principle.”

Contact: Dr. Leslie North, (270) 745-5982.

Categories
All News  Now Viewing Category: All
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
CEBS
Media Relations
Academic Affairs
Augenstein Alumni Center
Instruments of American Excellence
Transportation
Emergency Preparedness
Police
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Library News
Office of Sustainability
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Ogden News
PCAL
WKU Greeks News
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Parent's Association
Student Activities and Organizations
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Government Association News
Van Meter Auditorium
Teaching News
Study Abroad
Student Research Council
Student Employment
WKU Joint Admissions
International Student Office
Human Resources News
Cultural Enhancement Series
CHHS News
The Confucius Institute
Campus Activities Board
GFCB
WellU
The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Student Union
Health Services
Hardin Planetarium
News from The Center for Gifted Studies
Student Financial Assistance
Downing Museum
Etown & Fort Knox
Facilities
Employee Wellness
Latest Headlines
PTS Closed Wednesday July 23

Call 270-745-2361 or assistance.

Sixty Campers Attend 3rd Year of The Summer Camp

The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University recently hosted 60 campers who attended The Summer Camp from July 14 to July 18.

Housing Premium Permits SOLD OUT

Add Your Name to the Wait List

Featured Articles
Sixty Campers Attend 3rd Year of The Summer Camp

The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University recently hosted 60 campers who attended The Summer Camp from July 14 to July 18.

31st Year of VAMPY at WKU Hosts 217 Students

The Summer Program for Verbally and Mathematically Precocious Youth (VAMPY) hosted 217 students for the three-week program from June 22 to July 12.

166 Students Come to the 32nd Year of SCATS at WKU

The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU hosted 166 campers for the 32nd annual Summer Camp for Academically Talented Middle School Students (SCATS) from June 8 to 20.

 Last Modified 7/23/13