In Adventure | By Fogo Island Inn | September 5, 2017

Geology at the Edge

Landscapes are defined by geology. Rocks, sediment, flora, and fauna reveal the geographical DNA of a place. Fogo Island is a 420 million-year-old sliver of the North American continent, largely composed of three kinds of rock—volcanic, igneous and sedimentary. The island’s inhabitants, both past and present, have a history deeply intertwined with these rocks. They look to the landscapes when deciding where to build a house or a fishing stage, or where to establish a garden or farm.

Increasingly, travellers seek destinations and resorts that fulfill eco-friendly criteria. Many hotels worldwide now offer programming designed around everything from cultural immersion, to water and energy saving, to sustainable micro-enterprises. Geotourism creates conditions for the socio-economic well-being of local communities while maintaining their cultural and ecological integrity.

Fogo Island Inn offers guests a truly unique program, in line with the expectations and desires of today’s conscientious traveller. The Geology at the Edge program, created by the Shorefast Foundation, allows guests to immerse themselves in Fogo Island’s rocky landscapes on a 3-hour hike, with a certified geologist-in-residence.

Recently, the Inn welcomed Calgary-based geologist Susan R. Eaton for a residency in the summer of 2017. This geophysicist, explorer, journalist, and conservationist is also the leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, an international team of women ocean explorers, scientists, artists, and educators who engage in activities such as diving, snorkel expeditions, and ocean outreach. Currently, geologist Jack Botsford has returned to Fogo Island for his third residency. Jack has previously conducted mapping and research on the sedimentary rocks on the western side of Fogo Island (Fogo Harbour Formation), which extend to Change Islands and Indian Islands. Jack will be on-Island overseeing community workshops, geological discussions, and explorations on the rocks until mid-September, 2017.

Operating three days a week, Fogo Island Inn’s geology hikes cater to all different skill levels and cover a range of topics, from a refresher on the history of the Earth and the formation of the continents, to the types of rocks found on Fogo Island and how islanders navigate the landscape in their day-to-day lives. Guests can explore Fogo Island’s unique eco-system while learning how to read a landscape and identify local wildlife using their trails.

Geology at the Edge is a unique program in Canada. The story of the rocks on Fogo Island imparts valuable knowledge and insight on the challenges facing rural communities in Canada and how they can be addressed by government, non-profit organizations, and individuals.