Courses and competitions: at the school of the Dolomites

A Summer School for Teachers on the theme of “After Vaia”, two Degree Thesis Awards to celebrate our tenth anniversary, and a new edition of “The#FossilSeaChallenge” for first and second year high school students. These are just some of the activities being planned for the coming months by the Education and Scientific Research Network of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Learning resilience after Storm Vaia

Primary and secondary school teachers have until 11 August to register for the UNESCO Summer School, taking place from 26 to 28 August at the Predazzo Geological Museum of the Dolomites in Val di Fiemme. The three days will involve both classes and excursions into the Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Natural Park, and will focus on the fragility of the Dolomites, as shown by Storm Vaia. Since the participants are also teachers themselves, the final aim is to provide them with material they can use in the classroom, informing their students about the “lessons” of Storm Vaia. How has the landscape changed? What have been the effects on the local population, including the emotional impact? How can the damage to our forest heritage be repaired? How should we rethink the way we live in the Dolomites in the context of climate change? These are some of the questions we will try to answer during the 23 hours of the course. For more detailed information, and to download the registration form, please visit the MUSE website.

An award for students of the Dolomites
And an award for those who wish to study them

The best way to celebrate achieving a goal is to set another one. The tenth anniversary of World Heritage Dolomites is a spur to continue working for active conservation, to communicate the values of UNESCO recognition, and to enhance the mountain Heritage itself. We can also look around for fresh ideas and reward them, as the Autonomous Province of Trento intends to do. Working in tandem with the Training and Scientific Research Network of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, and with the tsm|step School for the Management of Territory and Landscape, it has now established a Degree Thesis Award. Or rather, two awards. The “Ten years of UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites” competition is open to graduates who have presented a bachelor’s or master’s degree thesis on the conservation, promotion and enhancement of this natural asset in the last three academic years: i.e. by the date of the competition announcement, and in any event not after June 26, 2019. A second competition is open to students presenting a three-year or master’s degree thesis on the same topics between June 27, 2019 and June 26, 2021. So, while we wish to recognise what has already been done, we also want to encourage reflection on our great World Heritage, and to motivate younger generations to continue the on-going task of research. For each year of the competition there will be two prizes of 1000 Euros each. The first awards will be for a thesis that concentrates on the landscape of the UNESCO Dolomites and a thesis that focuses on their geology. In the second year, the awards will go to theses that refer more generally to the values identified by the World Heritage Convention, or by other international agreements such as the European Landscape Convention and the Alpine Convention. Further details are available at:

“The #FossilSeaChallenge” at the “Galilei” in Trento

The work of students at the Galilei Scientific High School in Trento was rewarded in the second edition of “The #FossilSeaChallenge”: a competition promoted by the Autonomous Province of Trento, in collaboration with the Geological Heritage Network and the Training and Scientific Research Network of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation. The aim of the award is to encourage high school students to reflect on the value of the World Heritage that surrounds them, and the schools that took part in the second edition were involved in various projects examining the relationship between the Dolomites and fire. The Evaluation Committee also awarded a special mention to the project by students at the “Madonna del Grappa” High School in Treviso, for the way that they managed to involve pupils in lower classes. However, it is already time to call for entries for the next competition, since the edition for the school year 2019-2020 is open to students from all over the country, and the chosen theme will allow them to give free rein to their imagination: the Dolomites and time. Nevertheless, imagination must be combined with scientific rigour. As before, projects can be presented in various ways, but the aim must always be to make an original or informative contribution to our knowledge of the geology of the World Heritage Site.