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Geography Education
Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography students and teachers. http://geographyeducation.org
Curated by Seth Dixon
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The World's Largest Trees

"The world's second-largest known tree, the President, in Sequoia National Park is photographed by National Geographic magazine photographer Michael 'Nick' Nichols for the December 2012 issue."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There is a beauty and magnificent in nature, both is the microscopic and delicate as well as the grand and powerful.  The biosphere's diversity is a great part of it's allure that keeps geographers exploring for to understand the mysteries on our planet.  The incredible image at the end of this project really is truly stunning.  


Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, California.

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The world's oldest living tree

The world's oldest living tree | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At 4,841 years old, this ancient bristlecone pine is the oldest known non-clonal organism on Earth. Located in the White Mountains of California, in Inyo National Forest, Methuselah's exact location is kept a close secret in order to protect it from the public. (An older specimen named Prometheus, which was about 4,900 years old, was cut down by a researcher in 1964 with the U.S. Forest Service's permission.) Today you can visit the grove where Methuselah hides, but you'll have to guess at which tree it is. Could this one be it?
Seth Dixon's insight:

I freely admit that I have a strange fascination with the twists and turns in a majestic tree; I find that they are great reminders of the wonders and beauty to be found on Earth. 


Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, historical, California.

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Beatrice Do's curator insight, January 31, 12:40 PM

the exact location is kept a close secret O_O

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, February 5, 4:17 PM

After reading this article, I am pleased to know that the world oldest non-clonal organism is located in California. It is amazing that a tree could still stand after almost 5,000 years. Hopefully, people do not destroy this tree, as it is fascinating. 

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GPS Astray: Lost in Death Valley

GPS Astray: Lost in Death Valley | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Three women’s Death Valley day trip soured after their GPS led them to the edge of survival."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a extreme example, but this video serves as a cautionary tale.  The harsh and unforgiving physical geography of Death Valley does not tolerate a lack of preparation.  Here is part 2 of the video.  Garmin the GPS manufacturer's statement on these videos is quite telling "GPS's shouldn't be followed blindly...it is incumbent on users to obtain and update their GPS devices with the most recent map updates." 


Technology is designed to guide and assist our decision-making process--that does NOT mean we should turn over thinking functions to the device.  Spatial thinking is just like a muscle that will atrophy if it is never used.  So consult a map and think for yourself; newer technologies aren't always better or more reliable.   


Tagsmapping, GPS, geospatial, location, California.

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Mike Carney's curator insight, September 30, 2013 1:48 PM

GPS devices are very useful tools, but if you don't know how to use them properly they can be very frustrating and sometimes can get you into trouble. On the surface a GPS seems like a pretty fool-proof navigation device, but that's giving people way too much credit. A lot of (older) people can have a hard time following them. Take my mother-in-law for example, she once got lost for a half hour on the ten minute drive from my house to the highway. Somehow she missed the ONE turn and apparently didn't understand how to make a U-turn. People generally go astray if they fail to update their GPS, don't know how to configure their settings properly, or follow the GPS blindly. People often forget that they can just use the GPS as a map and figure out their own routes when the GPS is being wonky. Its also a good idea to keep real maps in your car so you don't have to rely soly on the GPS. The women from the video were dealing with a GPS that was following inaccurate and outdated information. At a time like this its a good idea to pull over and get out the map rather than drive in circles until you run out of gas.

 

Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, October 12, 2013 12:43 PM

       Is not always the best idea to only rely on you GPS when traveling, best thing to do is to get and updated maps.  Is always good to get information on where you are going, how long are you going to be there? So you can get enough supplies like food, water, clothes etc.  Also are you making other stops along the road? Let someone know where you going therefore; if something happened to you they know where to look for you, once again don’t always trust on electronic. Prepared AHEAD!!

Justin McCullough's curator insight, December 12, 2013 10:21 AM

Although I have grown up around technology, I've always been a little skeptical about its reliability. It is a good thing to have a GPS, but we should not rely solely upon it. Relying solely upon technolgy is not as good as it sounds. In some cases the GPS could be wrong and in instances such as these we need to be able to think for ourselves. Not having this ability is a dangerous situation. 

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California's biggest dam removal project in history begins in Carmel Valley

California's biggest dam removal project in history begins in Carmel Valley | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In a project that will be watched by engineers and biologists across the nation, construction crews today will begin a three-year, $84 million project to tear down the hulking San Clemente Dam in Californias largest dam-removal project ever.
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Zhanat Shanbatyrova's curator insight, June 24, 2013 3:14 PM

'...public-private partnerships do work'

John Blunnie's curator insight, July 12, 2013 8:29 AM

So much money and time needed to tear down something that was most likely a marvel of its time. Also another sign the the industrial era is way behind us.

Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria Inc. (GTAV)'s curator insight, August 7, 2013 4:45 PM

CD - The nature of water scarcity and ways of overcoming it, including studies drawn from Australia and West Asia and/or North Africa.

 

This example is in the USA but too interesting to not include!

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Yosemite’s Iconic El Capitan Mapped in High-Resolution 3D

Yosemite’s Iconic El Capitan Mapped in High-Resolution 3D | Geography Education | Scoop.it
New geologic map helps scientists understand ancient volcano’s roots and contemporary rock falls.
Seth Dixon's insight:

On a personal note, my very first globe and National Geographic magazines were given to me by my grandparents who noticed I had an affinity for all things geographic.  They lived just outside Yosemite Park and they made sure I explored it frequently while I was growing up so I have a soft spot for this particular national park.  My grandmother informed me that El Capitan was the largest single piece of granite on Earth and my skeptical 3rd grade mind replied, "Is that a fact or an opinion?"  Informal geographic education had a greater impact on my educational path than the formal K-12 curriculum.  Without those simple nudges, I doubt I would be a geographer today.  


Tags: Californiaphysical, geomorphology, erosion, landforms.

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Successful Implosion of South Bay Power Plant on Saturday morning

Successful Implosion of South Bay Power Plant on Saturday morning | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The South Bay Power Plant was imploded Saturday Feb 2, 2013
to clear the way for development along Chula Vista's bayfront.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This powerplant was demolished primarily because of location (watch the cool videos of the implosion).  The electrical powerplant provided energy for the region, but it's location right on the San Diego Bay doesn't line up with current land uses.  When the area's economy was focused more on manufacturing, this was seen an ideal way to use the wetlands on the bay.  Today our city planning priorites has shifted.  First, how we view wetlands has changed and we no longer see them as "wasted" space.  Second, an attractive waterfront that can be used to generate tourism is seen as a greater economic priority today than it was 50 years ago.  

 

Tags: location, planning, economic, space, industry, California


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Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 20, 2013 12:59 PM

 


It seems that getting rid of this power plant was a great step for the city of San Diego. This plant was doing no good for them because it was taking space that could have been used to attract people from all over the world they could have added a many stores and other cool things that would create hundreds of jobs for local people who are struggling to make ends meet. The explosions were cool it was amazing how they feel in a line back to back. The explosion was a success for the city of San Diego. With all this new space available more people are going to invest in the city in which it will become much more popular than what it is now. 

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Boontling: A Lost American Language

Boontling: A Lost American Language | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Watch the video Boontling: A Lost American Language on Yahoo! Screen
Seth Dixon's insight:

In Booneville, CA, local residents literally created their own language over 150 years ago and had it was locally accepted enough to be taught within the school district.  This language of Boontling (Boont Lingo) but one that the younger generation has not fully adopted, but is still spoken by the older residents. 


Tags: folk culture, language, culture, rural, unit 3 culture, California.

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California's Deadlocked Delta

California's Deadlocked Delta | Geography Education | Scoop.it
What did the Delta look like 200 years ago? See an interactive map of the historical habitat and present day landscape, as well as the old photos, maps and journals used by historical ecologists to answer that question.

 

This interactive module has over 20 different maps and perspectives to show both the physical and human geography of a particular environment.  As the delta's ecosystem has been failing, the importance of understanding the interconnections between people, places and our environment becomes all the more critical.

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California’s Economic Split Pits West vs. East

California’s Economic Split Pits West vs. East | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Along the coast, communities have largely bounced back from the recession, but inland areas are still struggling with high unemployment and a persistent housing crisis.

 

For those that have lived in California, northern California and southern California are oftentimes how people conceptually regionalize the state, and rightfully so based on cultural patterns.  Economically the more useful distinct might be coastal vs. interior.  "Many counties along the state’s western coastline have median household incomes well above some inland communities like Sacramento, Fresno and Riverside. The Bay Area counties of Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco have the state’s lowest jobless rates, while nearby inland counties like Merced and San Benito have among the highest.  San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, with their many vacant homes, and parts of the Central Valley near Sacramento have among the highest foreclosure rates."

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NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory - Santa Ana Winds Pummel Southern California

NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory - Santa Ana Winds Pummel Southern California | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The high winds that are funneled through the mountain passes of Southern California, commonly called the Santa Anas, were especially intense this last week.  These winds are even more frequent and intense during the La Niña fall and winters due to the dry air that sits over the Southwest. This image uses the NOAA’s North America Model (from December 1, 2011 at 0600z) to visualize wind speed and direction. The lightest blue to white colors represent the strongest winds – up to 80 mph. The flow vectors show the direction the winds are blowing. The highest winds can be seen blowing in between the San Gabriel Mountains.

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California's Drought

California's Drought | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"California has had three consecutive years of below average rainfall and most reservoirs are far below their designed capacity; for a state with a growing population with limited water resources this is alarming news that has many politicians, officials and residents worried. This winter was especially mild; nice for bragging to friend back East about how gorgeous the weather is during a polar vortex spell, but horrible for the snow pack and accumulation."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Most of California’s water originates for the snow pack in Western mountains ranges so this drought is expected to get worse this summer. The major urban areas have limited local water resources so they draw water from large area to bring in sufficient water for these burgeoning metropolitan regions.


Questions to Consider: What are some reasons human and physical geographic for this severe drought? What can be done in the short-term to lessen the problem? What can be done to make California’s water situation better for the next 50 years?


Tags: physical, weather and climate, consumptionCaliforniaLos Angeles, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.

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MOOC on Water

"Water is an essential theme in social studies, science, and geography. Whether teaching about natural or human systems, water is part of the story. This course, framed around California's Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI), focuses on ocean and freshwater topics and strategies for teaching environmental topics in Grades 4-8. Resources and support are provided for how to use EEI to implement Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This new MOOC on water resources in California is project supported by National Geographic Education and Annenberg Learner.  This is a course is designed to span the disciplines and create an awareness in students about environmental issues that impact them. 


Tags: consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment depend.

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Top Free Classes's curator insight, September 9, 2013 9:45 PM

Starts in October.

Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, October 12, 2013 3:53 PM

I find this video very informative because I didn’t know, that they have this type of course. I feel this course should be teach in every classroom around the United States, because is not only the adult that needs to learn how to protect the environment. We also need to educate our children because they are the future of America.  I think that by taking this class people will learn which places have the more environmental problem, and by becoming more aware of the issue , we all together will find the solution.

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Out of nowhere: U football player comes from dusty California outpost

Out of nowhere: U football player comes from dusty California outpost | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Cedric Thompson retraced some of the steps that led him from L.A. to a dusty California outpost to, finally, the Gophers football team.

Seth Dixon's insight:

A young man for the tough streets of South Central Los Angeles found refuge from from gang troubles out in the desert in a community on the Salton Sea.  His family believes this unconventional move was key to him becoming a successful football player at the University of Minnesota.  His personal geographies follows uncommon migrational patterns, but it demonstrates that personal geographies can show some of the great diversity that is a part of the human mosaic.      


Tags: Los Angeles, sport, migration.

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, September 19, 2013 2:20 PM

It is amazing how much the location of where you live can influence your life. Thompson traveled all over the place and each place had a huge impact on his life. His whole life could have been different if he had lived elsewhere. For example if he stayed in L.A who knows if he would have ended up getting involved in gangs or even been killed like some of his family members. Then again if he hadn't lived in Bombay would he ever have found that motivation to work hard. He didn't think so. His area even had an impact on him being recruited, because not many people thought to recruit a kid from Bombay. The area you live in really can have a huge role in who you become. Fortunately Thompson was able to use his experience to change his life and even his families future for the better. Such an amazing story and it is all due to where a person lived. 

Shelby Porter's curator insight, September 26, 2013 6:13 AM

This is such an inspiring story, and it's crazy to think that everything he has become is due to where he grew up. If this man had not gone to Bombay Beach his life would be very different. He probably would have gotten involved with gangs and never seen his full potential. Attending high school in such a remote area encouraged him to better his life so he could get out of there. Being bored all the time, he became a workout fiend and his father made him become a better student. Being from such a remote area also intrigued the Minnesota college scout. The choices Cedric made in his life as to where he would live, whether in Bombay Beach or the Minnesota college campus have drastically changed his life forever. 

megan b clement's comment, December 15, 2013 9:20 PM
Cedric wanted more for himself and his life. He commuted hours away from home in order to stay away from the gangs and violence that surrounded him back home. So he endured the long travel inorder to better his life. He also was an exceptional football player. He felt he had no choice and it pushed him even harder because he wanted an out from that life he had at home. He wanted better for him and his family.
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Mapping Your Trips

Mapping Your Trips | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The following pictures are all embedded in this ArcGIS Online map that I created as a part of the T3G institute in Redlands CA on the ESRI campus."

Seth Dixon's insight:

For me exploring the neighborhoods of Redlands was incredibly nostalgic since it reminds me so much of the part of Burbank that I grew up in, but haven’t had much opportunity to visit since.  I left  Burbank, CA when I 11 and the next year the city’s landscapes became the set for the TV show “The Wonder Years.”  I was 12 just like Kevin Arnold was, and despite a serious lack of Winnie Cooper in my youth, the show still resonates with me as does the Southern California landscape.

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Downtown LA: Always Changing

Downtown LA: Always Changing | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Los Angeles of America’s imagination is rarely downtown Los Angeles. When we envision L.A., we think of the beach, 15 miles away, or the starred sidewalk of Hollywood, or the sprawling suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. While not the center of our Los Angeles, downtown Los Angeles is nonetheless visible —it is a backdrop to films and television shows set in L.A., and, just as frequently, serves as Any City, U.S.A., easily transformed into New York City, Washington, D.C., and the generic cities of car, cell phone, or drug store commercials."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This AAG annual meeting will be in Los Angeles this year, and geographer Jennifer Mapes gives readers a virtual walking tour of downtown LA before thousands of geographers converge on the city.


Tags: Los Angeles, AAG, urban, landscape.

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California-Mexico Border: Dreams of a Transnational Metropolis

California-Mexico Border: Dreams of a Transnational Metropolis | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A basic truth about the cultural geography of the California border [is this]—two very different city-building traditions come crashing into each other at one of the most contentious international boundary lines on the planet. In this collision, in the shocking contrast of landscapes, lies one critical ingredient of the border’s place identity."

Seth Dixon's insight:

As a geographer native to the San Diego region (with family on both sides of the border), I found this article very compelling.  Relations across the border are economic, cultural and political in nature, and the merger of those varied interests have led to an uneven history of both cooperation and separation.  Herzog analyses three distinct factors that have shape the landscape of the California-Mexico border zone: urbanization, NAFTA, and global interruptions (9/11).    


Tags: borders, AAG, political, landscape, California, unit 4 political, Mexico.

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Ann-Laure Liéval's curator insight, January 27, 2013 3:29 AM

Les territoires de la mondialisation: les frontières. Une frontière qui se ferme et pourtant, une urbanisation continue mais contrastée. 

Emma Lafleur's curator insight, February 7, 2013 2:45 PM

It is interesting to see how this border has transformed from a fence to a guideline and back over time. Researchers of these two cities can learn a lot about how the events of one country affect the other country, such as in the case of 9/11. This place is also a great place to study culture because it is here where researchers can study a melding of two cultures in action. Overall, this area gives great insight into how two bordering countries affect each other politically, economically, socially, and culturally.

Al Picozzi's curator insight, September 23, 2013 6:46 AM

Also have heard stories of Tijuana...you know what happens there stays there.  Much like the Kennedy's in the US, Tijuana got its initial fame and wealth from the alcohol trade when the US started prohibition in the 1920, albeit the Kennedy family did it illegally with bootlegging.  Interesting contrast of building styles and cutures.  The space on the map makes this area what it is.  Without San Diego, Tijuana wouldn't be the same and San Diego wouldn't be the same without Tijuana.  This area also shows a contrast with the Canadian border.  Little or no fences on that border, but here, there are two in some spots, an old onecand a new post 9/11 one.  Why here then are there fences?  Culture too different?  Is it for racial reasons?  Is it just the drug trade and cartels that are all over the area the reason?  Is it US drug policy that makes the fence necessary?  Is it the US policy on immigration that the the fence a necessity?  Is it the worse economic conditions in Mexico or the violence that is forcing the people to run across the border?  Lots of questions and right now it looks like nobody has any real answers.   

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Visualizing Seismic Waves

Movie showing ground motion of four earthquakes propagating across a high density seismic array in Long Beach, California. Data was recorded by NodalSeismic,...
Seth Dixon's insight:

Seismic activity is to be expected in the Los Angeles region as the major hazard threat in the area.  This area has a great number of sensors which now allows us to visualize seismic waves better than ever before.  This video show 4 earthquakes (starting at 0:45, 2:20, 6:00, and 8:35).  For more information on the science behind this clip, read the adptly named blog, The Trembling Earth.


Tags: visualization, disasters, physical, Los Angeles.

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California Declares War on Suburbia

California Declares War on Suburbia | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In The Wall Street Journal, Wendell Cox writes that government planners intend to herd millions of new state residents into densely packed urban corridors. It won't save the planet but will make traffic even worse.

 

This is a article/video against many of the regulations that embody the 'Smart Growth' movement that would serve as a good ideological counterweight to many of the other sources that are available.  Would more dense neighborhoods create transit problems?

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California Geographical Survey: Mapping Resources

California Geographical Survey: Mapping Resources | Geography Education | Scoop.it

This is a fabulous collection of geospatial resources to “explore the world, one map at a time.” There are high-resolution digital wall maps, animated fly-over maps, thematic census data maps, aerial photography and other mapping tools. The focus of many of these resources is the Western portion of the United States, but there are many on the national scale as well (see the ‘Electronic Map Library’ and select ‘Unites States Atlas’ for census maps on dozens of variables).

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Southern California hit by major power failure: An (UN)Natural Disaster

Southern California hit by major power failure: An (UN)Natural Disaster | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Failure of a major transmission line in Southern California has cut power to millions of people in the U.S. and Mexico, and electricity could be out into Friday, utility officials say.

 

I'm thinking of my family in San Diego, but after experiencing some electrical failures in Rhode Island due to Hurricane Irene, it got me thinking of a new geographic reality.  The way modern Americans live is entirely dependent on electrical energy that to experience a disruption is essentially the equivalent of a natural disaster.  This speaks to the human-environmental interaction "theme" of geography since most Americans can't sustain their lives for more than 72 hours without electricity.  We urbanites have detached ourselves from the land and "low-tech" to an alarming degree.  We've created a sitatuation that leads to (un)natural disasters without our technological gadgets that have become our necessities.  

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