The end of November is not just about turkeys and pilgrims; it’s also about getting the word out about Geography. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan designated the third week in November as Geography Awareness Week (GAW). Once again this year, the faculty, staff, and students of the UCSB Geography Department prepare to go forth and get the word out about the amazing world of Geography and its importance to us all. On campus, we’ll be celebrating with the GAW Mega-Event on Wednesday. On Thursday, we have a very special GAW Colloquium Speaker, graduate student Jeff Hemphill, who will speak on his work consulting on the La Conchita slide and other land use issues in the Santa Barbara area, such as how a few feet of disputed property can add up to huge money in property value (and consulting fees!). Classroom presentations in local K-12 schools will also help get the word out about the meaning of geography to local students. Grad students Keely Roth and Matt Niblett, for example, will be presenting to 6th graders at Marymount on remotely sensed imagery and interpretation, hoping to pass on their enthusiasm for the subject to the students. And Grad student Park Williams will be presenting on the biogeography of forests to students at Santa Barbara Junior High because, in his own words, “It is important that children learn that there are real reasons for why the physical world is organized the way that it is. Very little happens randomly. As kids who understand this grow up and watch their physical world change, they are likely to recognize many of those changes as effects of human actions and not of coincidental randomness.” Additionally, he adds, “it gives me a second chance at being cool in junior high.” Luckily, chances are he won’t fit in a locker any more.
So please join the UCSB Department of Geography in celebrating this year’s GAW, and help us get the word out to both the UCSB and the greater Santa Barbara community on what makes this field of research and education so spectacular.
Article contributed by graduate student Laurel SuterGeography Awareness Week (GAW), Nov. 12-18