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New Education & Engagement Officer to help people Access, Connect and Take-Part in the North West Highlands Geopark

Tuesday November 22nd 2022

Community led charity North West Highlands Geopark Ltd welcomes Andrew Whyte to the team to deliver their ACT Geopark project.

Earlier this year the organisation secured £61,162 from the SSE Renewables Sustainable Development Fund, £9960 from The National Lottery Community Fund, £3000 from the David Doig Foundation and £1500 from the Essential Foundation to support an Education and Engagement Officer and Educational Activities.

During the summer the Charity announced a further £174,243 made possible by money raised by National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund.  This will allow delivery of a three-year programme designed to support an exciting heritage programme, “ACT Geopark”, in West Sutherland and northern Wester Ross.

The programme will give more people the opportunity to Access, Connect and Take-Part in the UNESCO Global Geopark through art, storytelling, and citizen science and the Education and Engagement Officer will play a key part in this.

The new Officer, Andrew Whyte, began work on the 14th of November and will work closely with schools, supporting the curriculum and embedding local examples into history, art, geography, and science teaching.  He will also develop an out of school ‘Young Geologists Club’, engaging and upskilling young people in their world-class landscape. Outside of schools, Andrew will work with communities on citizen science projects, including community climate action planning and data collection.

North West Highlands Geopark Ltd is the Charity that manages UNESCO status for the North West Highlands. Directors and staff are rooted in the local community. They are a group of local people who are involved in the Charity because they care passionately about the area and want to see it thrive—economically, socially, culturally, and environmentally. The North West Highlands Geopark is one of only two UNESCO Global Geoparks in Scotland. The landscapes, underpinned by an incredible variety of rock types, hold the memory of the earth and the future of people.  The rocks tell us how the planet works and help us understand our place within it.

Commenting on the programme, Geopark Chair Dr Iain Young said: “It’s fantastic to have someone so well-qualified and passionate joining the team. I am sure Andrew will make a huge contribution to the delivery of what is an exciting programme of events and initiatives right across the Geopark”.

Geopark Manager, Dr Laura Hamlet said: “I am so pleased to welcome Andrew to our team. His enthusiasm for the role and passion for the Geopark and the people who live in it are clear and his knowledge and background in Earth Science will be of huge benefit to the area.”

Education and Engagement Officer, Andrew Whyte said: “I’m overjoyed to be joining the Geopark team! It’s never been more important for us to be connected to our natural world and to empower people to love and protect it. Helping the Geopark with this aim, whilst also providing new opportunities for young people in rural communities, is both a privilege and a dream come true.”