Geologist Heikki Bauert introduced the Geopark idea in Jõgeva and Tartu counties, and Aivar Soop, the Rural Municipality Mayor, develops and leads the initiative.
According to the plan, the Geopark will be created across Jõgeva and Tartu counties.
In Estonia, there are places that are happily frequented without an invitation, so to speak (e.g. Pärnu, Saaremaa, Setomaa, Soomaa), but there are many places in both Estonia and the neighbouring countries, which are unique by nature, but do not sound as attractive and are less known. Our neighbourhood has a unique natural heritage and our region needs a common and innovative denominator to stand out from the others. The Geopark affords us an opportunity to join under a common name and theme and stand out from other regions.
Geopark is an initiative, created at the initiative of the local community in a rich area in natural and cultural heritage, the primary objective of which is to organize economic income options for the local community based on the development of economy that is based on natural heritage (Geologist Heikki Bauert).
In case of the geopark to be created, development of economy would entail the development and provision of products and services of nature tourism (with an emphasis on geo-tourism), as well as increasing the production and use of renewable energy.
The economic beneficiaries include regional development organizations and the local community: companies active in tourism, agriculture and forestry, but also the educational institutions and nature centres located in the area.
The aims are as follows:
- To be an internationally recognized and certified visiting area of geological, natural and cultural objects.
- To be an internally and regionally recognized nature education provider of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills.
- To develop a beneficial and sustainable economic activity for the local community.
In its activity, the Geopark focuses mainly on three subject fields: renewable energy, nature education, and recreation and tourism economy (with an emphasis on nature tourism):
- In the renewable energy field, specialists with the Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA) are active in the region. The operation area of the energy agency covers both Jõgeva and Tartu counties. We wish to involve the TREA specialists in closer cooperation with local governments, companies and communities in the region, so that awareness could be risen in the renewable energy field, and so that renewable energy sources would be implemented more in everyday lives.
- In order to achieve the best result in promoting nature education, we wish to connect the actors in the field in a common nature education network to coordinate development trends and prevent copying; achieve the maximum synergy in both the development and implementation of nature education programmes; as well as the development of nature education centres and other points of support. We wish to carry out development activities in cooperation with specialists in the field and the relevant authorities.
- In recreation and tourism economy, we will first focus on creating the necessary infrastructure and information network, imprimis for the local people and then the visitor. We wish that the local residents had an opportunity close to home to engage in recreational activities mainly in the nature, but also in buildings established for that purpose. Secondly, we would help to develop tourism products and services, so that the region could proudly bear the name of a geopark as a quality label.