Friday, December 11, 2009

Graduate assistantship at University of New Mexico

Graduating BSC geographers with an interest in environmental and/or historical geography should have a look at this opportunity at the University of New Mexico. It would be an interesting way to support master's-level study and gain valuable research experience.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Smolski & Rao Scholarships -- Apply Now

The Department of Geography awards two scholarships to junior and senior students. Details of the Smolski and Rao scholarships are at

Please read the descriptions and apply online at


Final decisions will be made in mid-February. Please contact Dr. Hellstrom with any questions.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Landmine Assistance in Peru -- December 3

Michael Lundquist is a BSC graduate (sorry to say that the geography department cannot take any credit, though) who is CEO of the Polus Center for Social and Economic Development. On Thursday morning, December 3, he will be speaking to students in Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's Geography of Latin America course, meeting from 9:30 to 10:45 in Science 128. Afterwards, he will meet informally with students who are participating (or have participated) in the January 2009 and 2010 study tours in Nicaragua. Mr. Lundquist will actually be joining part of the 2010 study tour, which includes Polus Center projects in Leon: PLUSAA, Walking Unidos. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Ben Linder Cafe, which is the inpsiration for the seond Ben Linder cafe proposed for the new Science and Math Center.

On December 3, however, his focus will be on his recent visit to Peru, where he began preparations for victim assistance and development. Community Announcements for more information.

HumPhy Follow-up

For those who took part in HumPhy -- and even for those who did not -- this Thanksgiving Day story on NPR is a useful follow-up to our Pilgrim Monument visit in Provincetown. As the centennial of the monument's construction approaches, Provincetown boosters are re-asserting its role as the real birthplace of democracy in what was to become the United States.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Congressional Visit Thursday

Thanks to the Political Science Department, one of our geography classes will have two distinguished guest speakers this week. As part of the Stennis Center's Congress to Campus program, Rep. David Skaggs and Rep. Jack Buechner will be visiting Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's Geography of Latin America class.

The class will be held jointly with another class from 9:30 to 10:45 Thursday morning, November 19 in the Moakley Auditorium. All are welcome.

Students are encouraged to read the biography of each retired Congressman in order to be prepared to ask questions relevant to the experience and expertise each of them brings to the discussion. An open forum with the same members will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18 in the large ballroom of the campus center.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dr. de Blij's 2006 Visit

The Bridgewater campus is still buzzing about Dr. Harm de Blij's recent visit to deliver the Class of '42 Lecture. The current revival of geography at BSC can be traced at least in part to an earlier visit by Dr. de Blij. In 2006 he made a brief visit in which he spoke in two classes and then attended a reception in President Mohler-Faria's office. He is shown here presenting a copy of his Atlas of North America to the president.
Following the reception, the president's chief of staff, Mr. Bryan Baldwin, interviewed Dr. de Blij -- along with department members Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan -- about the importance of geographic education. Learn more about that visit and hear the interview on bPOD.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Extrajudicial Killings in Colombia -- Nov 10 program

U.S. involvement in Colombia is an important foreign-policy problem that gets very little attention. This is a chance for the campus community to learn what is happening in Colombia first-hand. It is appropriate that this event is being held in the Moakley Auditorium. Rep. Moakley was a leader in promoting humane, reality-based policies in Latin America.

Extrajudicial Killings in Colombia...Not In Our Name!
Martha Lucia Giraldo Villano
from Cauca, Colombia
Moakley Auditorium
Tuesday, Nov. 10th, 2009, 7:00pm

The speaker is a daughter of a small-scale farmer who was the victim of an extrajudicial killing by the National Army, which is partially funded and supported by United States.

View Larger Map

This event is sponsored by Social Justice League, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, and La Sociedad Latina. Ms. Giraldo Villano's visit is organized by Witness for Peace.

Sue the cartographer!

Verizon's "There's a map for that" ads have triggered a lawsuit from AT&T.

Based on a cursory reading, it seems that the complaint is not that the maps used in the ads are inaccurate; rather the complaint is about what the maps show and what consumers can be presumed to think they show.

Thanks to Dr. Rao for bringing this story to our attention. If anybody notices the outcome when a decision is reached in this case, please post it as a comment below. Or use the "comments" button to share your ideas on this lawsuit.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Analytic Strength of Geography

Dr. Harm de Blij -- the "rock star" of our profession -- captivated a capacity crowd in the John Joseph Moakley Auditorium as this year's featured speaker in the Class of '42 Lecture Series.

The author of The Power of Place wove together economic geography, plate tectonics, climate change, and the widening gap between the rich and poor -- all the while showing the campus community why geography is essential to understanding these connections.

Faculty members were gratified by the enthusiastic turnout of students, alumni, area educators, and college faculty and administrators. Dr. de Blij graciously signed autographs and engaged in a number of fascinating discussions before and after the main event.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Smolksi Scholarship Visit

On September 30, members of Chet Smolski's family visited Bridgewater State College and had brunch with members of the Geography Department in the Davis Alumni Center.

Natalie Regan and Derek Ferris joined Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan in welcoming Lisa and Theresa Smolski to the campus on behalf of the department.

Dr. Chet Smolski, a graduate of the department, had a distinguished career as a geographer at Rhode Island College, but never forgot his roots at BSC.

Wishing to continue the tradition of excellence in geography at the college, the family has endowed an annual scholarship in the name of Chet and Theresa Smolksi. Students in good standing can apply for the award, beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year. Details of the scholarship will be publicized during the fall semester.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

US-Brazil travel

The US-Brazil program sponsored by CAPES-FIPSE has brought a total of 11 Brazilian students to the BSC Geography Department -- and a dozen to our partners at Central Connecticut State -- over the past three years. Many of those students have taken the opportunity to explore other parts of the United States, just as U.S. participants have explored Brazil from the far south to the Amazon.

Recently, students and professors from BSC and CCSU attended the huge binational meeting of all US-Brazil programs in Washington, DC. Paulo Vela (right) turns out to be quite the photographer. He set his camera on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for this perfect shot!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It’s Geo-Fair Time Again! - Call for Judges

The 23th Annual Geography Fair will be held on Saturday November 21 2009 at the Burnell School at Bridgewater State College from 8:30 to 12.

We are seeking volunteers to serve as judges for the fair. Judges will be assigned a grade level and work in pairs to judge projects in various categories. Judges should arrive by 8:15 AM. Judging will begin at 9 AM and should be completed by 11:30.
Certificates of Excellence will be awarded in categories, such as Best Use of Themes, Best Maps, and so on.
This year’s Theme is Europe: Cultural and Physical Diversity

Contact Dr. Domingo with questions.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

EarthView gathering

Just prior to Dr. Harm de Blij's exhilarating lecture on October 22, he joined department members and area teachers for a brief tour of EarthView, the department's 20-foot, inflatable globe classroom. As we expected, the energy was high as geography enthusiasts of all ages joined one of the world's foremost geographers in an exploration of this unique learning tool.

Dr. Hayes-Bohanan joined Brazilian exchange students and Dr. Francisco "Chico" Oliveira in pointing out the location of one of our partner institutions, the Universidad do Estado de Santa Catarina, on the beautiful island of Florianópolis. See the detail below for the island's location.

Following the lecture, Dr. de Blij posed with colleagues and students. From left are Dr. Paulo Soares of the Universidad Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Dr. de Blij, Julie Slys, and Ed Aucoin.

Cape Trek Coverage

Geography majors found themselves on the college home page recently, as the BSC NewsLog picked up the story of HumPhy -- the return of the department's traditional weekend field camp.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BSC WiFi Weather Network

Dr. Hellström and geography senior Derek Ferris have recently installed two automatic weather stations on campus that record measurements every half-hour and each station communicates through the BSC WiFi network.

Two stations provide daily, weekly (and eventually monthly) graphs of various weather variables on BSC Campus. The first two stations are on the Science Building Roof and near the rail in the Chapel Lot. Two more stations will be installed in coming weeks.

The system is measuring air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, precipitation, roof surface temperature, incoming solar radiation, soil moisture and soil temperature as part of on-going studies of the impact of urbanization on weather and hydrology at a local scale.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


On October 9-11, geography students participated in Cape Trek 2009, the reinstatement of the traditional HumPhy (HUMan and PHYsical geography) field trip. We explored Cape Cod from the "shoulder" at the canal to the "fingertips" at Provincetown. We learned about tides, indigenous lands, the adaptation of plants, and identity. See Dr.Domingo's photos on Flickr.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dr. Harm de Blij -- October 22, 2009

Class of 1942 Lecture Series
The Power of Place: Geographic Literacy and National Security
Geographer Extraordinaire

Thursday, October 22, 2009
7:00 – 8:30 PM

Moakley Center Auditorium
(refreshments served)

Where we start out--and where we grow up and live--still matters a lot. Harm de Blij sees continuing inequality, and differences between those who are privileged and those who are the world's poor. He draws on current research in human geography and demographics, as well as urban studies, to examine trends and to explain how the places where we live--and will live--will determine our future.

Author, professor and television personality Harm de Blij (pronounced duh Blay) for seven years was the popular Geography Editor on ABC's "Good Morning America.” In 1996 he joined NBC News as Geography Analyst, appearing mostly on MSNBC. He was writer of and commentator for the original PBS Series "The Power of Place." Dr. de Blij has published more than 30 books including scientific, educational, and trade titles, and over 100 articles. Currently, he is the John A. Hannah Professor of Geography at Michigan State University. He specializes in geopolitical and environmental issues, and has held named chairs at Georgetown University, Marshall University, and the Colorado School of Mines. He was appointed an Honorary Life Member of the National Geographic Society in 1994. His advocacy of Geography in the media and on the public lecture circuit has taken him to virtually all corners of the United States; his work in research, teaching, and television has spanned the globe.
For more information, contact Dr. Rob Hellström.

Coincidence? Maybe ...

Every time Dr. Hayes-Bohanan attends a cross-country meet with his daughter, the time keeper from the other school is a BSC geography graduate. So far, it has only happened twice, but 2-2 is pretty spooky.

Here 2002 graduate Sue Andrade records Paloma's time at the Mulcahey School in Taunton, where she is in her eighth year. Of course, Dr. Hayes-Boh was quick to pass on an EarthView post card, so we should be seeing more of Sue in the near future!

First Aerial Photograph

The world's first aerial photograph was taken on this date ... a few years back. Guess what year and what city, and then click to the EarthView blog for the answers and the.complete story.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gray Seals -- HumPhy?

Whether we see the seals on our HumPhy trip or not, this article is a good example of the kind of complex geographical questions we will discuss during our Cape Trek 2009 HumPhy Field Camp.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fun and (Geo)Games

During the summer, the Boston Globe Magazine included a feature article about online educational games, particularly those related to geography. Naturally the BSC Department of Geography was consulted. The article begins with a discussion of our student Megg Goodrich and her Sporcle obsession. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan (who has a modest game page of his own), is also quoted about the mixed merits of geographic trivia.

EarthView Coverage continues

In addition to reaching thousands of students directly, the department's Project EarthView is really intended to help students throughout the Commonwealth by promoting the idea of geographic education across all grade levels. It is a long and slow struggle, but the EarthView Team is committed. Fortunately, the program is both effective and attention-getting, so that local media outlets often run stories about it.

Two recent examples are an article in Waltham's Daily News Tribune and an entry in the blog of the Citizens for Citizens program in Fall River. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan led a summer program at that program with geography major Nathan Couto.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Recession? Let's Get A Job

Matt Desmarais
GIS/IT Director for the Town of Hopkinton RI
and 2007 Geography Department Graduate

Wednesday, Sept. 23rd

12:20pm – 1:30pm
Science Building, Room 304

This is the first in a series of presentations by graduates of the geography program. Stay tuned to this blog and hallway postings for more!

South Coast Rail -- Open Forum Thursday

Nothing could be more geographic than a new rail line! Notice is short, but students and friends of the department who can get to Fall River on Thursday evening, September 16, will have a chance to hear and be heard regarding potential routes for new rail lines. Let Dr. Hayes-Bohanan know if you decide to attend. Find details by clicking onthe title above. The meeting will be 6-8 pm.

Dr. Manny Maier

The Geography Department has learned of the passing of Dr. Manny Maier, who was chair of the combined Earth Sciences and Geography Department prior to his retirement in 1985. A semi-professional wrestler with two doctoral degrees, Dr. Maier was a rigorous scholar and a passionate geographer who continued his professional activities long into his retirement. Even those who met him after he formally left the college will remember boisterous discussions about research and teaching. His intensity will be missed. Watch this space for more details and remembrances.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Landmines in Cambodia

Mr. Tony Hauser will speak about his exhibit -- currently in the Maxwell Library, 3rd floor -- of photographs documenting landmines in Cambodia. The Geography Department and Global Education Center are co-sponsoring the panel discussion, which will be Wednesday, September 15 at 4:00 p.m. in the Library Lecture Hall.

Mr. Hauser will also be speaking in Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's Geography of Latin America class on Thursday, September 16. That class is at 9:30-10:45 in Science 128. Visitors -- particularly geography students who aer not available Wednesday evening -- are welcome to attend.

Landmines affect millions of people worldwide, and our department is begining to be involved, particularly with victims in coffee-growing areas. The department's January 2010 study tour in Nicaragua will include visits to development projects run by and for landmine victims.

Alumna in South Africa

BSC Graduate (and Rao Scholarship recipient) Monique Buckley has returned to South Africa, this time to work on a photography and conservation project.
We will have to wait for her return to see most of the photographs, as internet connections are slow and infrequent. Judging by the quality of what she has shared so far, however, the project seems to be going very well. Here are low-resolution versions of just a few.

In addition to the photography, Monique will be updating maps of some hiking areas. That was not part of the assignment, but like any good geographer, she cannot leave inadequate maps alone.

Geography ... it can take you places!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cape Trek 2009 // HumPhy

HumPhy is a tradition that is being revived in the Geography Department after a hiaitus. For several years, we considered travel to conferences (especially if they were far away in Maine) as a substitute for HumPhy. But there is no substitute for spending a couple of days in the company of geographers, dedicated only to the exploration of a landscape.

So, HumPhy returns! We will depart early afternoon on Friday, October 7, and return by 4 pm on Sunday, October 9.

HumPhy is an exploration of the HUMan and PHYsical landscape, in this case of Cape Cod. Look for flyers in the department for details, and sign up in the office as soon as possible. Seating may be limited. We will be staying in Gibson Cottages in Eastham, since the elbow is a great location for exploring both the outer and mid-Cape areas.

Have a look at Dr. Hayes-boh's article about the Cape in Focus on Geography 46(1): 4-7. Some of the photos in that article were taken during previous HumPhy outings.

Also, start thinking about next year. The Blackstone Valley has been another excellent HumPhy destination.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

NESTVAL 2009 - Salem

Students and faculty members from BSC will join fellow geographers from New England and the St. Lawrence Valley for the annual meeting of NESTVAL on November 6-7. Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan will take a day off from EarthView to ensure that interested GeoBears get to the meeting in time for the annual Geography Bowl competition. With the help of games at GEO meetings, BSC came very close to winning the title last year. This is the time to start working out for the gold!

The department has arranged for lodging for students who wish to attend, as well as transportation. Space may be limited, so please sign up in the department office and register with NESTVAL if you wish to attend. The conference ends Saturday evening; students who wish to stay through Sunday should mention that when signing up. If there is enough interest, return rides may be available on both days.

Meanwhile, explore the meeting web site for information about student events, registration, and abstract submission. NESTVAL meetings are the perfect place to present preliminary research.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Stewart Sundial Refurbished

The next time you visit the department, have a look at the Reed Stewart sundial near the front doors of the Conant Science Building. The nameplate was recently replaced, as weather had not been kind to the original. Dr. Stewart retired from the department in 1998 and continues to be recognized for his many contributions to the study and practice of geography, anthropology, and conservation.

Department welcomes Brazilian Exchange Students

At its first faculty meeting of the semester, geography faculty members welcomed three new participants in the US-Brazil Consortium on Urban Development (UBCUD). From left, the students are Paulo Vela from UDESC, Isabel Rekowsky from UFRGS, and Ana Franco from UDESC. They are surrounded by (l-r) Dr. Domingo, Dr. Rao, Dr. Hellstrom, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan, and Professor Pannuto. The department also welcomes Professor Bob Pannuto, who brings years of experience with the National Weather Service to his teaching of physical geography this fall.

The department is in its four year of the consortium, which also includes geography departments at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Universidad do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC) and Univesidad Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Students from all four schools are able to attend semester-long exchanges in international exchanges, with support from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S. Department of Education and CAPES, its Brazilian counterpart. The prestigious exchanges were established by an agreement between President Clinton and President Cardoso in the 1990s.