Vernacular Region of “Up North,” Wisconsin

Since moving to Wisconsin over a year ago, I’ve been trying to learn as much about the local topynymy and places of interest. One place that’s come up repeatedly when talking to students is “Up North,” referring to the relatively sparsely settled northern portion of the state. This “Up North” area is important to Wisconsin’s tourist economy and cultural identity. Many Wisconsin residents own property in the region, specifically to support their recreational pursuits. Continue reading “Vernacular Region of “Up North,” Wisconsin”

Promoting UWFox Geography, Fall 2011: An Active Geo-Adventurers Club

The Geo-Adventurers Club is a group that’s assembled as a bit of a hybrid of folks that are interested in geology and geography and folks that are interested in outdoors activities like camping and canoeing.  Like our academic department, this group has been largely dormant for a few years, so we’ve started from scratch here as well.

Our main goal with the Geo-Adventurers is to get students active in extra-curricular activities. In the case of this club, most of those activities involve getting down and dirty with the earth, which provides a natural link to the geoscience curriculum at UWFox. But again, first goal is involvement, and anything that happens after that is icing on the cake. Continue reading “Promoting UWFox Geography, Fall 2011: An Active Geo-Adventurers Club”

GIS Day 2011 at UWFox: Publicity

So, as I’ve already written, we’ve been working on putting together a GIS Day at UWFox for the past couple of months. We’ve encountered certain challenges, which we’ve tried to stem by using a variety of strategies. Check out my entry on our preparation of this event for more on how we’ve designed our event for 2011. Continue reading “GIS Day 2011 at UWFox: Publicity”

GIS Day 2011 at UWFox: Preparation

I never knew I would coordinate and host a GIS Day event.

As you may know, this is my first year as a tenure-track faculty at UW-Fox Valley. UWFox is part of the UW-Colleges system, which is a set of 13 two-year liberal arts institutions geared toward preparing students for a four-year school in the UW System. The Colleges have a shared department of around 20 geographers and geologists. Two of them are at this campus, and I’m the only geographer. That means I’m basically a “stand-alone” geographer who’s responsible for, well, everything geography on campus. Continue reading “GIS Day 2011 at UWFox: Preparation”

Japan’s Triple Disaster – A Lecture

Remember that earlier entry about an interview that I gave through compressed video that included a lecture on the Great Plains? Well, it turns out that this university in Wisconsin liked me enough to grant an in-person interview. They requested a lecture on Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Continue reading “Japan’s Triple Disaster – A Lecture”

Push & Pull Factors Assignment, Spring 2011

Every semester in my introductory classes, I do an assignment on push and pull factors, and how they relate to migration.  Of course, push and pull factors are a relatively easy concept to understand, in that push factors are those ideas about a place that “push” people away from living there, while “pull” factors are those perceptions which attract people.  It’s (really) old news for population geographers, and there have been plenty of critiques on the conceptualization, but it’s nice and tidy for getting intro-level undergrads interested in migration.

Continue reading “Push & Pull Factors Assignment, Spring 2011”

Human-Environment Interactions in the Great Plains – A Lecture

I was asked last week to give a lecture through Compressed Video, a technology used to teach non-online distance education classes. The reason? A preliminary job interview with a university in Wisconsin. It was about as nervous and awkward of an experience as you could expect. I don’t really give myself much chance of making it to the next stage. We’ll see, I guess. Continue reading “Human-Environment Interactions in the Great Plains – A Lecture”

Video: I Need an A

So, I’ve been snowed in a while, and it’s right at the end of the semester, when the weeping comes from underachieving students via e-mail. And that, plus XtraNormal, equals my venting response. For all teachers everywhere….

Continue reading “Video: I Need an A”

Geographic Literacy: Our Job Isn’t Finished

This week is Geography Awareness Week, a designation that started in 1987 via presidential proclamation to promote geographic literacy in education and in the general public.  Each GAW has a theme; this year’s is freshwater, which isn’t a terribly interesting topic to me personally.  But, as an educator and a geographer, geographic literacy is something I find to be quite important. Continue reading “Geographic Literacy: Our Job Isn’t Finished”