Cliffs of Fundy Geop­ark per­fect t for Peterkin

The Colchester Wire - - MEET YOUR NEIGHBOUR - KAITLYNN NORDAL

For many peo­ple, geop­arks are not just about pretty rock for­ma­tions. They are about the his­tory that comes with the area.

Beth Peterkin, man­ager of the Cliffs of Fundy Geop­ark, is one of those peo­ple.

She has lived in Parrs­boro for four years and has spent lots of time at the sites in the de­vel­op­ment of the geop­ark.

Peterkin first heard about this po­si­tion when she found the job list­ing.

“It was a re­ally good fit with my pre­vi­ous work ex­pe­ri­ence. So, I put an ap­pli­ca­tion in, and the rest is his­tory.”

Peterkin started as the man­ager of the geop­ark in June, and the Cliffs of Fundy Geop­ark achieved its des­ig­na­tion as a UNESCO Global Geop­ark on July 10.

The geop­ark has more than 40 geosites in a 165-kilo­me­tre drive where tourists can learn about how Pangea formed and sub­se­quently broke apart, the high­est tides on earth, and the mag­nif­i­cent land­scape steeped in Mi’kmaw leg­end among other things.

As its web­site ex­plains, a geop­ark is a place where tourists can learn the con­nec­tions be­tween ge­ol­ogy, lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, cul­ture, and na­ture. Geop­arks are de­signed with the hopes of pro­mot­ing tourism to cel­e­brate an area in an orig­i­nal way.

As the man­ager, Peterkin does ev­ery­thing from ba­sic of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tion, fi­nances, helps de­velop part­ner­ships with busi­nesses up and down the geop­ark, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

“I en­joy work­ing in any­thing to do with her­itage, tourism and cul­ture and the geop­ark is in­volved in a lot of those things,” said Peterkin. “I have also come to ap­pre­ci­ate the value of the geop­ark, the amaz­ing ge­ol­ogy, and cul­ture all up and down the Fundy Shore. So, it just seemed like a good fit and some­thing I wanted to do.”

Although she is not a ge­ol­o­gist, Peterkin un­der­stands the draw of the area’s nat­u­ral beauty.

“I don’t pre­tend to be a ge­ol­o­gist what­so­ever. I en­joy walk­ing the beaches and look­ing at the rock for­ma­tions,” she said. “I don’t look at them with a sci­en­tific eye. I am more look­ing at the beauty of the area, the way the beaches change ev­ery time the tides come in and out.”

Two spots in the geop­ark Peterkin par­tic­u­larly likes is the Five Is­lands Light­house Park and Par­tridge Is­land Beach.

“Par­tridge Is­land Beach is close to where I live so it’s very easy to get to its an amaz­ing beach that changes ev­ery time you go with the tide,” she said.

“Some­times Par­tridge Is­land is cov­ered in fog. When the tide is com­ing in, you get the bub­bling of the wa­ter that the leg­end says is Glooscap’s grand­mother’s boil­ing pot. There’s a whole fish­ing weir. There’s lots to see and do and it’s a great beach to go walk­ing on.”

Although the park does catch the at­ten­tion of ge­ol­o­gists, many peo­ple come for the area’s nat­u­ral land­scape.

“We get some vis­i­tors who are here be­cause of the ge­ol­ogy and they may be ge­ol­o­gists or earth sci­en­tists or pa­le­on­tol­o­gists or some other sci­en­tific dis­ci­pline, and they are re­ally look­ing at the rock for­ma­tions and how the con­ti­nents broke apart about 200 mil­lion years ago,” she said.

“Other peo­ple want to come and have a beau­ti­ful walk on the beach and find a pretty stone, watch the tides come in, stick their feet in the wa­ter, sit in a lawn chair and en­joy the view, so there’s some­thing for ev­ery­body.”

The Cliffs of Fundy Geop­ark is a spot Peterkin feels gets over­looked a lot of the time.

“I think this shore in Nova Sco­tia has been over­looked by vis­i­tors and by lo­cals for a long time. Peo­ple think of Nova Sco­tia and they im­me­di­ately think of Hal­i­fax, Peggy’s Cove or Cape Bre­ton, all of which are beau­ti­ful places,” she said.

“(But) you have to get off the beaten path to come to the geop­ark. From talk­ing to vis­i­tors, they’re say­ing it’s an amaz­ing place and I can’t wait to come back, be­cause it re­ally is quite a beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tion with so much to of­fer.”

Peterkin re­cently par­tic­i­pated in our ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion:

Q. Where and when were you born?

Mon­treal, Que­bec – a child of the six­ties!

Q. What’s your favourite place in the world?

There are three – Parrs­boro, Scot­land, and a warm sunny is­land in the Caribbean.

Q. What would peo­ple be sur­prised to learn about you?

I took fly­ing lessons a few years ago and was do­ing very well, but never could learn to land the plane.

Q. Can you de­scribe one ex­pe­ri­ence that has changed your life?

Mov­ing to Parrs­boro from On­tario. It is such a wel­com­ing and cre­ative place. I love the pace of life, I love that traf­fic stops if it even just ap­pears that you may want to cross the road. I love the sup­port from friends and neigh­bours, and I re­ally love the tides and the chang­ing land­scape of the bay.

Q. How do you like to re­lax? Walk­ing one of our many beaches, work­ing in the gar­den or read­ing on the back deck.

Q. What is your great­est fear? That travel will never re­turn to any­thing close to preCOVID con­di­tions.

Q. What is your most trea­sured pos­ses­sion?

My art­work, col­lected dur­ing in­ter­na­tional travel, or from one of our many At­lantic Cana­dian artists, potters, and painters.

Q. What is your best qual­ity? My or­ga­ni­za­tional skills and in­ter­est in meet­ing new peo­ple.

Q. What is your great­est re­gret?

Not mov­ing to Parrs­boro sooner.

Meet your Neigh­bour is a reg­u­lar fea­ture that pro les Colch­ester County residents. Want to sug­gest some­one that should be fea­tured? Email your idea to scott.do­herty@saltwire.com.

B. PETERKIN • CON­TRIB­UTED

Beth Peterkin man­ages the Cliffs of Fundy Geop­ark, where she is in charge of ba­sic of ce ad­min­is­tra­tion, the nances, helps de­velop part­ner­ships with busi­nesses up and down the geop­ark and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

B. PETERKIN • CON­TRIB­UTED

Par­tridge Is­land Beach is one of the places in the Cliffs of Fundy Geop­ark that stands out to man­ager Beth Peterkin the most.

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