Friday, November 9, 2012

Class of '42 Geography Lecture -- Jeff Anzevino

Wednesday, November 28 at 3:00 PM
Conant Science & Math Lecture Hall (Room 120)

Photo of Geographer Extraordinaire Jeff Anzevino taken by
Dr. Hayes-Bohanan on Jeff's boat this summer. The famous Good Ship Clearwater
is in the background, with the Walkway Over the Hudson beyond.
Read about that visit on Environmental Geography.

A Geographer’s Perspective on
 Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts

Jeff Anzevino, Scenic Hudson & Marist College

Jeff Anzevino will speak about his role as a geographer and planner in helping to connect the wildly successful Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park ( with the struggling communities of Poughkeepsie and Highland.

In his role as Director of Land Use Advocacy for Scenic Hudson (, Jeff coordinates initiatives brand Poughkeepsie and Highland in association with Walkway Over the Hudson. He was been a long-time proponent of the adaptive reuse of the abandoned 1888 Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge into the recently opened park that will eventually connect dozens of miles of rail trails across Ulster and Dutchess Counties and will eventually reach New York City.

At 1.28 miles long and soaring 212 feet above the Hudson River, Walkway is one of the highest and longest pedestrian bridges in the world. Jeff will describe how a diverse group of business and environmental organizations have come together to promote Walkway as a catalyst for more livable communities and economic opportunity on either side of the bridge.

Walkway Over the Hudson is at the nexus of an emerging network of trails that connect people to and along the Hudson River.  Establishing these types of connections is one of the strategies recommended in Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts (, an award-winning riverfront planning guide he co-authored in 2010.

Jeff will explain how a multidisciplinary approach to planning for riverfront development is essential to the protection property, infrastructure and natural resources from rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change. This work has been ongoing for several years, but has attracted particular attention in the wake of Super Storm Sandy.


Jeff’s love of geography stems from his aunt and uncle who took many road trips across the country and brought him gas station road maps which sparked his imagination of far-off places.  As a kindergartener, “Geography Jeff” was teased by the big kids because he had learned every state capital from a map puzzle. Undeterred by the teasing, Jeff realized he could study geography in college and went on to earn a living while realizing a lifelong dream of using his geographic skills to make the Hudson Valley a better place to live, work, and play.

Jeff earned three related associates degrees (geography, cartography, and community planning) at Montgomery College before earning his BA in geography (cum laude) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 1985. (The geography department at UMBC was both the undergraduate home of BSU’s Dr. Hayes-Bohanan and a former employer of BSU’s Dr. Amey.)

He then worked as a planner in Cape Coral, Florida and a GIS manager at RoadNet Technologies, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service in Hunt Valley, Maryland. In 2003 he earned accreditation from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Jeff has worked as a planner for Scenic Hudson for over 20 years, and in 2010 he was promoted to Director of Land Use Advocacy. He leads a team of three planners helping communities ensure that riverfront development stimulates the economy, connects people with the river, and conserves views and natural resources.

In 1993 Jeff founded the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association, a 501(c)3 arts and educational organization and owns a small business specializing in maritime art photography.  He is an avid musician, sailor, bicyclist, hiker, kayaker, cook, and gardener. 

He has served as an adjunct instructor of Environmental Planning at Marist College since 2011.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Zombie Apocalypse

The Transportation Department at BSU is careful to provide us with clean, well-maintained vehicles for university-related travel. So it really makes no sense to wash a university van off-campus. Unless ZOMBIES are involved, that is!

While driving back from the NESTVAL 2012 conference in Farmington, Maine, we drove through the mill town of  Livermore Falls, where we noticed teenagers in various stages of decay. With vacant looks in their eyes, they slumped along the side of the road with signs imploring us to support a car wash.

We drove on for a short distance before deciding that this was an opportunity that we would surely regret missing, so we returned to the local fire station, where the van was surrounded by a slow-moving crew that worked around the van with deliberation -- never breaking character as the resentful undead. (See more photos from the conference and the car wash on Flickr, and more about the giant globe we brought to the conference on BSU-EarthView.)

In reality, these are teenagers who are very much alive, participating with their parents and teachers in STEM education as part of the Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team (SMART 3930). The fundraiser at the fire station was in partnership with the American Red Cross and the Zombie Apocalypse preparedness program of the Centers for Disease Control.

While waiting for the van to be washed, we had the opportunity to talk with some of the community members about the geography conference we had just attended, and about some of the careers available to those studying geography. Disaster preparedness is, of course, one of the many areas to which geographers are well suited, especially as the spatial planning for emergency response increasingly relies on such geotechnologies as GIS, GPS, and climate modeling.

We would love to see some of these S.M.A.R.T. students in our geography classes at Bridgewater in the next couple of years!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Graduate Study in Tennessee

Professor Birge-Liberman recently shared this announcement for those students or graduates interested in further education in human geography.

Opportunities for Graduate Study in Human Geography
The Department of Geography, University of Tennessee is seeking Masters and PhD students to contribute to a burgeoning research focus in human geography, specifically work on social justice, subjectivities and the contemporary struggle for civil and social rights that challenges traditional paradigms in geographical research.  Over the course of the last few years the Department of Geography has added five new faculty members in human geography.  Their research addresses identity issues, with special attention devoted to race, ethnicity, migration, and the politics of place.  We are keen to build up our human geography program and students entering the program will have the opportunity to workwith young, energetic faculty.   Successful graduate students will have a strong background in one or more areas of cultural, political, economic, and urban geography (or related discipline such as sociology, anthropology, or Black studies).  Competitive students will have the chance to earn departmental funding that includes tuition reimbursement and a monthly stipend.
The University of Tennessee is a research intensive institution nestled in the Appalachian Mountains and the Department is well positioned within the university.    

For more information please contact: Dr. Derek Alderman (Department Head) at: or, one of the other human geography faculty (  If you will be attending the Race, Ethnicity, and Place VI Conference in Puerto Rico in October or the Southeastern Division of the AAG meeting in Asheville, NC in November, please take a moment to chat with Dr. Alderman or another Human Geography faculty member about your interests. The Department is a lively, talented, and congenial community devoted to nurturing students, serving their intellectual passions and vocational goals, and providing them the best learning environment possible—all while advancing the frontiers of geographical knowledge. UTK Geography is devoted to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and students as well expanding opportunities for under-represented groups.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

EarthView Gets Around

View EarthView Experience in a larger map

Purple pins = at least one EarthView visit // Yellow pins = upcoming EarthView visit
Sun = EarthView home base // Balloons = Travels of the EarthView team members

Welcome to the new EarthView Experience map. The view above shows most of the places we have taken EarthView, allowing us to reach nearly 40,000 people since the program started in 2008. Zoom out a bit to see some out-of-state visits, the next of which will be in Farmington, Maine. The full map will include several other themes, including the travel and study experiences of EarthView team members and a way for students we visit to mark places of origin outside of Massachusetts.

Perhaps most exciting will be the addition of new points this academic year, as teachers who have completed our EarthView Institute will begin offering programs in their own communities.

Many of these are schools that we visit each year and we have not yet added a few of the schools we visited in the first year, so EarthView has been even busier than it looks. If you have notice a missing visit, please alert Dr. Hayes-Bohanan right away!

Monday, September 24, 2012

EarthView for Life

Photo credit (both the State House photo and the photo of the photo):
Geographer Ashley Costa, BSU EarthView Wrangler
Geography for Life is published jointly by the leading geography organizations in North America, as a guide to those who teach this discipline at the intersection of global studies and STEM disciplines.

After years of anticipation, a new edition was released this month by the National Council for Geographic Education, the Association of American Geographers, and of course the National Geographic Society.

The cover features a photograph of the earth itself. The introductory chapter features a photograph of a remarkable model of the earth -- our department's very own EarthView portable classroom. It is a fitting opening for a book dedicated to geographic education, since nearly 40,000 students have been inside our department's inflatable globe since we acquired it in 2008.

Although EarthView is usually used in classrooms (see videos on our blog), we have also used it is part of our advocacy on behalf of geographic literacy and geography education in Massachusetts. In the NCGE/AAG/NGS publication, EarthView is shown in its highest-profile location in this effort: the Massachusetts State House.

Partly as a result of EarthView and the work of our department and its allies, the Legislature is currently contemplating a commission that would examine geography education in the Commonwealth.

Given the critical state of geographic illiteracy in Massachusetts and in the United States as a whole, the BSU Department of Geography is a leading advocate for geography education at the state and national level. Project EarthView will continue to play an important part, along with our undergraduate, graduate, and outreach programs..

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back to the Fields

Photo: (c) Ashley Costa
July is ending as June did, with an Environmental Geography (GEOG 130) field trip to some real fields -- the organic fields of Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton. The visit during the first summer session was so successful that we decided to visit with students in the second session. This time, we had less rain and more active livestock! In fact, our group was greeted immediately by Dapple, the guard donkey who actively protects the farms sheep, goats, and chickens from canine and raptor predators.

Connie Maribett (second from left above) operates the farm with her husband (and BSU adjunct geography professor) Ron. She spent some time with the group, answering questions about the farm and its partnership with New England Villages. As described in more detail in the June post, this discussion was a perfect compliment to the readings and classroom discussion. It is also helpful, given some of the unpleasant global realities examined in this course, to learn about constructive steps being taken at the local level.

See more photos of the outing -- with further commentary -- on Flickr. Most photos in this series are by geography major Ashley Costa.
Photo: (c) Ashley Costa
On the way to the farm, we briefly visited the historic Oliver Mill Park in Middleboro, an early industrial site that includes one of the earliest and best-known herring runs in southeastern Massachusetts.

View Larger Map

Friday, July 6, 2012

From Parking to Park

This view caught my eye yesterday, as I walked toward the commuter rail station to spend a morning in Boston (you can read about that outing on Environmental Geography). Because of construction involving the pedestrian underpass, I had taken a bit of a detour and was approaching the rail station from the vicinity of the Moakley Center, when the Geography Department's weather sock caught my eye (see detail below and an April post about the weather station itself).

The tremendous pile of sand and gravel occupies what was a useful but barren parking lot just to the east of the railroad tracks. Campus planners have removed that lot, replacing it with tiered parking at the edge of campus. The result will be a campus center that is more inviting for pedestrians, skaters, and bikers. The park that replaces the parking on both sides of the underpass will be cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, without salt and sand blowing in the winds. Additionally, the relocated parking lot (close to the building itself) will incorporate vegetated swales and retention basins that will reduce flooding, maintain ground water, and improve the quality of surface water. This will make the parking lot itself a destination for mini field trips in our department's water-resources and environmental courses.

Detail of Science & Math Center, showing Geography
Department wind sock.
At almost the same moment I took the photo above, my colleague in Student Affairs, Dr. Tony Esposito, took the following photograph from the top of the Science & Math building. The new parking lot will be in the portion that is to the left of his photo, with access to be through the university's new main entrance next to the railroad tracks on Plymouth Street. The walkway between Kelly Gym and St. Basil's Chapel will be pedestrian only, a great improvement in safety.

Incidentally, the number of parking spaces on campus will not change, as the parking structure offsets all lost parking spaces.

Click to enlarge

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Genuine Field Trip

I am teaching GEOG 130: Environmental Geography in each of the two summer sessions this year, using Carl Safina's The View from Lazy Point as the text for the first time. I have posted a number of articles about the book on my personal blog (also called Environmental Geography), and found that it led to a lot of productive conversations, particularly about the geography of climate change.

To complement the class discussions, we ended the first session of the course (as we will the second) with a visit to Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton. The farm is over 200 years old and has been operated as an organic farm for the past decade by the Maribett family. It has several connections to the Geography Department, in which Ron Maribett is an adjunct professor and from which Nick Maribett recently graduated. My own family has been a farm-box CSA shareholder in the farm for a number of years.

Yesterday morning -- just before the heavy rains -- GEOG 130 students joined me in a visit to the farm, where Connie Maribett guided us through the fields, explaining some of the myriad innovations underway at this model of sustainable farming, while gathering the weekly farm share for my family. We explored fields whose soils had been compacted and rendered infertile by "conventional" farming practices, but which now exemplify tilth -- rich, friable, deep soil that nourishes plants.

Clover has been a big part of the tilth-building program at Colchester, because it fixes nitrogen directly from the air and put it into the soil, in contrast to most crop plants, which consume nitrogen from the soil. Some seed borrowed (OK, given) from Colchester has been used for the same purpose our own house in Bridgewater, which was the site of a previous field trip that focused on certified wildlife habitat and other environmental improvements at the household scale.We also saw how careful intercropping not only maintains soil fertility but can also be part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program to discourage beetles or other pests.

Many of the projects at Colchester Neighborhood Farm arise from its partnership with New England Village, a nearby residential program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because meaningful work is a big part of that organization's mission, a farm is a natural partner. One common consideration for clients at New England Village is the discomfort and tedium often associated with weeding, pruning, and harvesting crops that grow close to the ground.

In the photograph above, Connie is showing how some row crops are being cultivated along fencing or angled frames to make the plants more accessible. The frames are at varying angles because it is not yet clear what will work best, but it appears likely that growing up and away from the ground can reduce insect and other pests and possible increase yields. Plants that cannot grow vertically are being transferred to raised beds that will be more easily reached by all workers. These changes are a terrific example of universal design -- the farm is becoming a more comfortable and accessible place for workers and volunteers of all ability levels.

Some of the lessons of this genuine field trip were the importance of constantly building knowledge in the pursuit of better ways to produce food. We discussed a few of the ways in which knowledge continues to be built at Colchester, including the sharing of ideas by members, participation in NOFA, and collaborations with other area farms, such as the Soule Homestead in Middleboro.

From the farm, we took a rather wide swing to the north as we headed back to Bridgewater, stopping at Brockton Brightfields. This is an innovative project that uses photovoltaic panels to produce electricity on a site that would otherwise be considered a brownfield, meaning a site that cannot be developed because of prior contamination of soil and water. It is a demonstration project that would not have been financially feasible without substantial grant funding, but as the technology improves, this could become a model for repurposing many properties around the country. Unfortunately, the public-education portion of the project was closed to the public at the time of our visit.

Casa Hayes-Boh, incidentally, has been used for more than strictly academic purposes this summer. We had a higher than usual number of geography majors taking courses in the department during the first summer session, some of whom were able to get together after class during the final week.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

BSU Geography Department at the State House

Read full report: Geography lost amid emphasis on other subjects:
Reporter Christine Lee, State House Correspondent for Channel 22 in Springfield, describes EarthView's most recent State House. Her excellent report features geography teachers and students from western Massachusetts who participate in the event each year.

Members of the Geography Department have been involved for more than a decade in state-wide efforts to expand and improve the teaching of geography in primary and secondary schools in Massachusetts. The EarthView program -- in addition to reaching 35,000 students directly in the past four years -- has helped to focus public and legislative attention on the problem.

Last Thursday, the EarthView team was in the State House for the fourth time, talking to legislators and the general public about the importance of teaching geography across the entire K-12 range and providing for the preparation of geography teachers. We encountered overwhelming support for SB 182, a bill that would create a commission to report to investigate the status of geography education in the Commonwealth. If the bill passes, such a report will be based on a series of public hearings and will be due at the end of the calendar year 2012.

Geography Department members taking part on Thursday included faculty, majors, minors, and alumni. Pictured (l-r) James Hayes-Bohanan, Lara Joyce, Brigitta Palmer-Hart, Kimberly Frisoli, Vernon Domingo, Natalie Regan-Lampert, and Diana Ramos. Not pictured: Nikki Sauber (photographer), Ed Donnelly, and Tim Pease.
EarthView really does look good in Nurses Hall, which incidentally is home of the first monument to the women who served in the Civil War. Thanks to Ashley Costa for this photo taken during the EarthView visit in 2011. See the EarthView blog for more news and photos from the day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There's a Mapp for That!

This semester Dr. Boellstorff invited faculty colleagues to share ideas for possible class projects with students in her GIS II class. This provided an opportunity to begin the process of re-modernizing the County Map Project I had begun in paper form more than 20 years ago, and had gradually moved online in the late 1990s.

This is a geographer's "life list" of places visited, in which I indicate every county I have been in. I eventually learned that the Extra Milers Club is a network of people doing the same thing, with each participant free to make up her or his own rules about what "counts" as a visit. My rules have been simple. If I am certain I have been in a county, I mark it in yellow; if I have lived there for a month or more, I mark it in blue, and I have applied the same rules at the state level in other countries.

For a while, I was able to help a few other hobbyists with some base maps and instructions I posted on my "about" page, but eventually the software involved became problematic, so I started to move the whole project to an official GIS platform. A series of hardware and software fiascoes ensued, and the project lie dormant for years, until GIS student Matt Scholtes decided to take up the baton.

The image above is a snapshot of Matt's project, in which he began coding my travels and also did some experimentation with queries that would compare the county counts along different proposed travel routes. We will be adding some of the files he created to my existing web site, and hope eventually to create a web-based service that will give users the ability to maintain their own maps online.

As I wrote last week, the Boston area is a major center for the development of mobile computing applications, so the possibilities for a county map app could be quite real. ESRI continues to provide new ways to bring data online, and citizen-based GIS platforms such as PeopleForms are pushing this field even faster.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Campus Cartography

Photo: Ashley Costa
Perhaps it goes without saying that geographers love maps. The fascination runs so deep that we took a departmental field trip to the Leventhal Map Museum at Boston Public Library earlier this semester, where we found this trove of cartography books! The BSU Geography Department is therefore delighted to have been able to reinstate a course in cartography under the leadership of Dr. Rob Hellström. A student learns to make maps will never see a map in quite the same way again.

BSU cartographers pose with their handiwork.
L-R: Ashley Costa,  Lara Joyce, Warren Sutcliffe, Matthew Daniel, Alaina Primeeau, James Varga, and Alexander Sullivan-Young. Not pictured: Stacy Ames, Taylor Arsenault, Meredith Briand, Nick Burns, Juan De Leon, John Doherty, Jen Hannum, Charles Oliver, Timothy Pease, Heather Rios, Lyndsay Stevens, and Sarah Watt
Photo: Juan DeLeon
Although cartography and map analysis have been integral in many of our courses all along, this spring marks the first time in about a decade that the department has offered a stand-alone course in cartography. Among the many excellent outcomes has been a group project presented this week at BSU's Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Geographer Lara Joyce discusses the campus map project with Dean Rita Miller.
Photo: Ashley Costa
The project builds on research conducted by previous cohorts of BSU (then BSC) geographers in senior seminars led by Dr. Clark and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan. Dr. Clark's students made and intensive study of campus maps at peer institutions, with particular attention to the placement and design of outdoor kiosk maps. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's students studied the existing printed campus map, with a focus on presentation and standard cartographic design.

This year, students in Dr. Hellström's class drew upon those findings but went further, implementing a campus mapping program, literally from the ground up. Using the principals of design and procedures learned throughout the semester, students worked in small groups to build a map that integrates data from standard base maps, aerial photography, and directly-measured locations using Global Positioning System receivers. This was an ideal class project because it allowed students to work at very close range on one of the central lessons of the course: an excellent map brings together design principals and the needs -- whether articulated or not -- of the end users. Creating a map for their own campus community required careful consideration of the many uses and audiences for such a map.

The result is a map that is highly accurate and readable and that can be updated at little to no costs as the campus continues to develop.

This work was one of many presentations at the annual symposium, which included at least two others from the Department of Geography. Mentored by Dr. Boellstorff, Juan DeLeon mapped four thousand brownfield sites in Southeastern Massachusetts. Mentored by Dr. Hayes-Bohanan, Katrina Delaney presented her ongoing research on Fair Trade Universities. Students of Dr. Ingvoldstad in Communication Studies documented many of the poster presentations.
Communication student Rob Morton interviews geographer Warren Sutcliffe about the work.
Photo: Ashley Costa
Final note, as if it were not already obvious: Cartography can be fun!

L-R: Tim Pease, Juan DeLeon, and AJ Sullivan-Young
Photo: Ashley Costa

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fun Map

A new way of looking at the United States. Sorry for the low resolution, but the idea

An App for That

NGS World Atlas
According to a business article in today's Globe, the Boston area is poised to ride the mobile tech wave. Specifically, Boston-area businesses have been especially prolific in the development of applications  for mobile devices such as smart phones, and this trend is expected to continue. Combined with national trends in the growth of geotechnologies generally, BSU geographers with interest and skills in GIS and related technologies are well-positioned to participate in this interesting and growing industry.

Geographers: Read the article and then answer the question (using "comments" below): What would you like your phone to be able to do?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Staying on Top of the Weather

On a beautiful afternoon, Dr. Hellström (center) proudly poses with two of the department's student employees as they complete installation of equipment in the department's newest weather station, high above the Conant Science and Math Center. Chemistry major Christa Cronk (left) has worked as a geography lab tech this year, while history major and enthusiastic weather photographer Anthony McGonagle has maintained the department's weather board.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GIS Supervisor Position

Thanks to BSU Career Services for this announcement. Please consider applying if you are a graduate or soon will be. This is in many ways an ideal place for a geographer to work. In addition to specific technical skills, this job requires many of the interpersonal skills common to geographers (see item #7, for example).

Those who are not yet graduating -- or not yet majoring in geography -- please look at this carefully for one answer to the oft-asked question,"What can you do with a geography degree?"

Supervisor of Gas GIS Planning, NSTAR, Westwood, MA                                           Job ID # 5325

Essential Functions:

1. Supervise Gas Planners and other assigned staff responsible for updating the GIS. Responsible for quality control and timeliness of updates by assigned staff.
2. Design and manage the workflow for creating and maintaining GIS information. Maintain and update GIS standards and procedures.
3. Responsible for producing accurate GIS derived map products, in printed and electronic format, for use by Gas Operations.
4. Lead projects that support and expand the scope of GIS to internal and external customers. Assist with the integration of mapping projects into the day-to-day field operations of Gas Operations.
5. Support Gas Operations with the Tele-Dig (Dig Safe) system. Ensure that GIS programs and policies comply with state and federal regulations.
6. Manage performance by reviewing and evaluating work of employees. Identify, build consensus and communicate performance measures and expected performance levels. Assess and improve team and employee performance through coaching and on-the-job training.
7. Foster an environment of teamwork, creativity and problem solving. Share information and encourages participation in the decision-making process. Remove obstacles through communication with other areas.
8. Ensure compliance with regulatory and Company work rules and procedures. Understand and comply with the labor contract and work to resolve initial grievances. Initiate appropriate disciplinary action, when required. 

Faculty and staff can view this opportunity as well as other full-time job and internship listings by proceeding to CareerLink@BSU at, entering faculty as both their Username and Password and typing in the Job ID #. 

Please share the above opportunity with colleagues and students.  Students can create their own username and password at to access all of our listings.
Please note:  All students interested in completing a credited internship need to get approval through the department’s Faculty Internship Supervisor,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cities at Night

Scientists at the International Space Station explain the technical challenges of getting high-resolution, low-light images of the Earth's cities, and then take viewers on a ten-minute tour of images gathered over a six-year period. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Current Events

 Thanks to FastCo.Design for posting this beautiful image from NASA. It is a one-year sampling of surface ocean currents. It is full of beauty and surprises. (Click next to HD to fill screen -- it is mesmerizing.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meeting Globie!

Hello Geographers! 

I'm a geography major here at BSU and was asked to write about an experience I had over the weekend. On April Fools Day, I had the opportunity to see the world famous Harlem Globetrotters at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. 

My boyfriend was thrilled to finally see them, and was pumped that we got discounted tickets through my work.

Me on the other hand... Well, I'll admit it: I was just all giddy that they had "Globe" in their name!

I mean, I had heard of the Harlem Globetrotters, and it was cool to go to see all of their tricks in person. 

But, honestly... all I wanted was to get a picture of their mascot, Globie. I thought he was sooo cool.  What can I say, I'm a geographer! 

I had even joked that if my teaching career or geography career doesn't work out, I would love to audition to be the guy in that suit. Seriously! I would get to travel the world with the team... Totally cool, right?

Anyways, I snapped a few pictures of him when he made appearances throughout the game, but that wasn't good enough for me.

Once the Globetrotters won against the "Elite" team (as usual), they allowed the audience to go up to the perimeter of the court and get autographs and pictures taken with some of the players. I dashed down there to get in Globie's line. My boyfriend looked at me like, "Seriously? You really want to wait in line for that?!?" 
. . . Um DUH

He should have known better. 

So here it is! 

- Kimberly Frisoli

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Geotechnology Magic

It looks like magic, but it is really geography!

Thanks to Penn State Geospatial Revolution Project for tying it all together. We've been working toward this for a few thousand years.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marshfield Conservation Commission Internship

Dr. Hellstrom recently received a request from the Town of Marshfield, whose Conservation Agent is seeking the help of a student to do some field-based mapping in support of the town's Open Space plan. This is an opportunity both to learn and to apply geographic skills to the protection of open space in an area rich with critical natural resources.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

La Isla Speaker

La Isla Foundation is an NGO based in León, Nicaragua, that provides political and economic support to sugarcane workers and their families in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. In this region of Nicaragua and throughout the Pacific lowlands of Central America, sugarcane workers are afflicted with chronic and deadly renal disease owing to their working conditions in the sugarcane fields and factories. The name “La Isla” refers to “La Isla de Viudas” – The Isle of Widows – so named for the wives and children left behind when their fathers, uncles, and brothers die of kidney disease as young as age 25.

Jason Glaser of La Isla will be a guest speaker in all of Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's classes on Tuesday, March 27. Geographers are welcome to visit any of the three classes, with a preference for the 9:30 class, when there is more room available.

The classes are all in Room 279. Organic coffee will be served.

GEOG 431: 9:30-10:45 am
GEOG 298: 12:30-1:45 pm
GEOG 298: 2:00-3:15 pm

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Reasons to Study Abroad

The cost of higher education has remained remarkably constant over the past three decades, but the proportion borne directly by students has increased far faster than any other sector of the economy, with the exception of health care. For that reason, many view study abroad as a luxury for "other" students to enjoy.

In reality, study abroad is no longer an extra qualification; it is increasingly expected, and a lack of study-abroad experience is seen as a deficit. Rick Steves explains some of the benefits in the video below, as part of the NAFSA campaign A Global Education: No Longer Optional. Follow the campaign to be put in touch with students from throughout the United States who are interested in studying abroad.

Fortunately, all of the BSU Geography faculty have lived and studied in other countries -- a total of a few dozen, at least -- and draw on those experiences in our teaching.

Even more fortunate is the greater number of opportunities for our students to study abroad. The university study abroad program provides access to dozens of countries for semesters abroad, short-term study tours, and research experiences in other countries. Increasingly, the department provides opportunities to study geography in other countries, most notably Brazil, India, and Nicaragua. Most participants in the annual Geography of Coffee study tour in Nicaragua were from other departments, but in January 2012, most of the participants -- including all of those shown here -- were geography majors or minors.

Geographers should also consider studying foreign languages, even if their study abroad experiences do not strictly require it. The students shown above, for example, were on a short-term tour with a (reasonably) Spanish-speaking professor and a fluent local guide, but most still found the experience was even more rewarding to the extent that they could use even a little Spanish.

Bill McKibben in Weston -- Sunday March 25

Climate activist and environmental scholar Bill McKibben will be speaking at the Weston High School Sunday afternoon, March 25. The event will take place from 3-6 p.m. I have reserved a van and can take up to a dozen students, leaving BSU around 2 pm. Let me (Dr. Hayes-Boh) know if you are interested.

His current campaign is explained in the recent video sent to supporters. Whatever one's opinion on this campaign, the upcoming event is a chance to hear directly from people involved in an historic movement with many geographic implications. For background information, see my climate page.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NESTVAL: Oct 19-20, 2012

We received this message today from our colleague Dr. Cathleen McAnneny at the University of Maine, Farmington, regarding the next annual meeting of the New England and St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society (NESTVAL):

The Geographers at the University of Maine Farmington are looking forward to seeing you October 19 - 20, 2012 in Farmington. This is a beautiful time of year here in the Western Mountains of Maine and we are planning an exciting meeting with great field trips and wonderful papers and posters from our colleagues.

So mark your calenders, save the dates and plan to join us for this exciting weekend.

BSU faculty and students have enjoyed participating at NESTVAL conferences, meeting other geographers from the region and often presenting both finished or in-progress reports on our research. Several of us were on hand the last time UMaine-Farmington hosted, and can verify that this is a lovely opportunity to spend some time with congenial geographers in a beautiful place!

Bell the Geographer

MassMoments is a daily message about historic anniversaries in Massachusetts history. Today it reminds readers that it was on March 7, 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell received his first patent for the telephone. He had done much of his work in Boston, and many of the early transmissions were between Boston and New York. The article is somewhat vague on which events happened in Boston and which elsewhere, but there were several direct connections to the city.

The article does not mention -- and few people know -- that Alexander Graham Bell became the first president of a small scientific society that had little more than a newsletter when he became involved. He and his son-in-law Gilbert Grosvenor built the National Geographic Society into the now-familiar worldwide organization, and every president since the founding has been a descendant, all named Gilbert Grosvenor.

According to a 2010 news release from ESRI, the Society's most prestigious award is the Alexander Graham Bell Medal. In 2010, two medals were awarded to pioneers in the development of GIS.

A few years ago, on a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Geographic Headquarters, I visited Bell's original office, where I was somewhat disappointed to see a cheap 1980s telephone on the desk!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

GeoPlace Magazine

This message is part of the Geography Take You There campaign, organized by the Association of American Geographers. It reminds me of what John Keating -- the Robin Williams character in Dead Poet's Society, had to say about the value of poetry:
... medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. 
This line has always reminded me that geography does both of the things that Keating was saying an education should do. It is a field that is both personally enriching and practical as a course of study.

On the practical side, we know that among the many fields of endeavor to which geographers are well-suited -- such as urban planning, environmental compliance, and international service -- work in geotechnologies has been identified as the most rapidly growing. The U.S. Department of Labor has identified growing opportunities at all levels in fields related to GIS, GPS, and the integration of these technologies into other arenas.

I was reminded of all of this when I received the latest electronic edition of the weekly GeoReport newsletter from GeoPlace. Having a geography degree in a period of rapid growth is not enough to secure employment, of course. It is necessary to develop one's professional networks and to be familiar with key trends in the technologies and their applications. Reading periodicals such as GeoReport and the monthly counterpart GeoWorld is a good way for students of geography to understand how their skills may be put into use in the workplace, and also to figure out which skills they might need to develop further. Fortunately, subscriptions to both are available for free from GeoPlace.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bike Path Workshop in New Bedford

Get Involved!
On Wednesday afternoon, March 14, SRPEDD will be leading a meeting at the Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech High School, to bring together various stakeholders in a discussion of a regional bike path. Many of our students have interned or worked at the planning agency that is spear-heading this effort. The workshop will be a great opportunity for networking, getting involved, and learning more about the cross-disciplinary work done by geographers in our region.

SRPEDD is working with environmental, recreational, and health-promotion organizations to promote a bike path from Providence to Provincetown, and to discuss bike-friendly communities throughout the region.

See the South Coast Today article for meeting details.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leventhal Map Center & Mapparium

(Many thanks to geographer/photographer Ashley Costa for all of the photos in this article, with one exception, as noted.)

The Geography Department's EarthView Program had last Friday "off" because of the AAG meeting, and although Dr. Domingo was in New York City that day, this left others on the team with an unscheduled day. Rather than sitting at home eating bonbons, we decided to spend a day learning about maps and globes, instead of teaching about them. (The world is a big place, so geographers are never done learning!)
Several students, friends, and family members took advantage of the opening in our schedule to visit two amazing geographic resources located in the Back Bay area of Boston. We went first to the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library and then to the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library at the Christian Science Monitor headquarters.

This was a perfect outing for February Vacation Week. (Note to out-of-state readers: Massachusetts schools get an entire week off for Presidents Day. And another week in April for the Battle of Lexington and Concord.)
Dr. Debra Block, the Leventhal Center's Education Director, mentioned two ways that maps change. Either what we know about places changes, or the places themselves change. The Center's extensive collection of Boston maps from the earliest to the most modern illustrate the latter. The land on which the museum is situated, in fact, was in or near the water at the time this 1722 map was made.

Many of the Center's other early maps illustrate the latter point, and the long span of time required to learn the geography of some places. The part of the Amazon where I did my dissertation research in 1996 is almost unfindable on some early maps. The area is shown as "unexplored" on a ca. 1885 map in my office; on this earlier map, it is "little known." Rondonia, in fact, is little known and even less understood, even today!

It is nice to have a cartography course back in our department, and to see how enthusiastic our students have become on the subject. In addition to many grown-up tomes on the subject, we found an excellent children's book about a librarian who made the most profound contribution of all time to the field of cartography. The library liaison to geography at BSU, Pam Hayes-Bohanan, has written a nice review of the children's biography of Eratosthenes, The Librarian Who Measured the Earth.

When we first started Project EarthView, we got a call from the Mapparium about possible collaborations. That staff person left the organization soon after and we have not yet reconnected, but we see a lot of potential for collaboration, as these two giant globes complement each other beautifully. One is stained glass and the other is fabric; one is fixed in place and the other highly portable; one is political and the other physical. Even more interesting, the political geography of the Mapparium is frozen in time in the 1930s, so it provides rich lessons in historical geography and the geographies of colonialism.

In addition, each globe has interesting acoustics, though the effects are much more impressive -- and better documented -- in the Mapparium than in EarthView.

PHOTO: John Nordell, Christian Science Monitor
The main advantage of EarthView is that it can be taken to audiences anywhere that a tall ceiling can be found, so it might contribute to a traveling counterpart of the Mapparium program. It may also be possible, though, to set up EarthView in the beautiful and thought-provoking Hall of Ideas, which serves as a lobby for the Mapparium. The room is certainly large enough; the question is whether EarthView will fit around its hanging celestial spheres and the fountain in the center.

The "Ideas" in this hall are quotes and aphorisms projected onto the walls and floor, but only after appear to coalesce in the fountain.

Only a small contingent from the Geography Department was able to go on last Friday's outing. We look forward to many returns to both of these geographic treasures, and are starting to promote them as destinations for the university's many visiting scholars and dignitaries from around the world.


What is wrong with this picture? What is SUFG? Is it supposed to be obscene?
This map shows students who have registered in the Speak Up For Geography campaign, which is sponsored by National Geographic and the Association of American Geographers, among others. Federal law currently lists geography as one of eleven critical disciplines, but not one of the ten critical disciplines with funding.

A number of political leaders in Washington recognize this as a serious problem, undermining our economy and national security, as well as making us look dumb compared to other countries. Unfortunately, not enough leaders understand this. Only two Massachusetts representatives (and neither Massachusetts senator) are among the sponsors of the Teaching Geography if Fundamental (TGIF) Act, nor has Governor Deval Patrick endorsed it, even though he does understand the value of geography.

SUFG is not obscene, of course, but it is obscure. A google search on the acronym brings up some unrelated stuff about electricity. We can use social media to fix this by spreading the good word about SUFG.

Friends of geography -- especially from BSU -- can fix the map by enrolling in the campaign and -- more importantly -- by urging legislators to support TGIF.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bridgewater at AAG

Several members of the BSU Geography Department were among the 8,000 geographers attending the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in New York City. New York is among relatively few cities with the capacity to host this meeting, which has steadily increased in size. Not all of the BSU participants were even able to see each other at the meeting, which included 5,000 presentations over a period of five days. See the first day of the meeting calendar for some idea of the scale of this gathering!

As most of us know, Dr. Hellström is a leader in research about really cold places -- his dissertation work at the South Pole means that the whole rest of the planet is relatively mild by his standards. For this meeting, he organized a cryosphere poster session and paper contest, with participants describing research from high-latitude and high-altitude regions throughout the world.

Dr. Domingo and Warren Sutcliffe also attended the meetings, Warren to represent the NESTVAL region in the World Geography Bowl. Our department has done very well in recent years in the regional competitions in NESTVAL. One reason -- in addition to our very enthusiastic geography learners from the United States -- has been that our department attracted students from Brazil and South Africa who have studied geography every year from a young age, getting a bit of a head start!

Dr. Hayes-Bohanan participated on a panel that discussed geography as a diversity discipline and learned about the innovative TwiST geotechnology outreach program near Syracuse, which in some ways could be replicated at BSU.

Drs. Hellström and Hayes-Bohanan were able to hear highlight of the program on Saturday night, when former Irish President Mary Robinson challenged geographers to champion the cause of climate justice. She concluded her address as the second recipient of the prestigious AAG Atlas Award, with a compliment and an admonition. "You understand how our planet works," she said, so we have an obligation to work not only on the problem as whole, but on the highly uneven and inequitable spatial distribution of its causes and consequence.