Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Geography Bee

The Massachusetts round of the National Geographic Geography Bee will be held Friday, April 2 in Chicopee. Congratulations to the 2016 qualifiers from throughout the state, including defending Massachusetts champion Inwook (Lucy) Chae of Newton Centre.

The winner will go on to the national championships in Washington, DC on May 22-25. Although Soledad O'Brien will be asking the questions in that final event, the Bee is the work of 10,000 geography educators throughout the United States who use the contest as a way to build enthusiasm for learning about the world through geography.

Bridgewater State University geography student Jason Covert has once again prepared a map of the Massachusetts participants -- 100 students from many parts of the Bay State.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Musical Themes

Just for fun this morning, two items that illustrate geography themes with popular music lyrics.

First is place:

©John Atkinson on Wrong Hands

Then movement:
 SIC: Georgia is spelled as pronounced in the song.
Activity: Add your own places and/or modes of transport.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Geography on Nightside: The Podcast

Thanks to all of the MassGEO members and friends who tuned in to the recent appearance of geographers Vernon Domingo and James Hayes-Bohanan on Nightside with Dan Rea last Monday night.

If you missed it, you can hear the entire program -- including some quizzes, banter, and serious discussion about the politics of geography education -- on Dan's podcast of the show.

Friends of geography who live in Massachusetts can do their part by contacting legislators in support of the bills we discussed on air.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Map Thief Author @ State House

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding
Thursday, January 21, 2016—Noon to 1:00 pm
State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House

The January Author Talk at the Massachusetts State Library should be of special interest to geographers. Award-winning investigative journalist and best-selling author Michael Blanding, who will be speaking about his recent book The Map Thief.

In this engrossing book, Blanding delves into the world of the antique map trade and tells the story of E. Forbes Smiley III, a map dealer who stole countless rare maps from libraries and universities around the world.  In addition to detailing the downfall of this once esteemed map dealer, The Map Thief also reveals the history of the explorers and mapmakers who created the priceless maps that Smiley stole, giving the reader an even better understanding of the great loss to society when such cultural heritage items go missing.

Mr. Blanding’s talk is free and open to the public, and copies of the book The Map Thief will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Please register online. (LINK REPAIRED 1/16)

The State Library is located near the top of the State House. In the same area, geographers will be interested to find the Commonwealth's official 50-foot scale -- made of wood installed along a hallway.

Arrive early to clear security as you enter the building.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Geography on Nightside

Monday Evening, January 11
9pm-10pm on AM1030 CBS Radio

Bridgewater State University geography professors James Hayes-Bohanan and Vernon Domingo will return to the airwaves with popular talk-radio host and geography enthusiast Dan Rea. This will be the fourth time in recent years that geography has been the focus of an hour-long discussion on Dan Rea's Nightside program.

The program is an opportunity to engage a call-in audience in a discussion of the importance of geographic education, whether it be to promote a better-informed citizenry or a better-prepared workforce.

We know that Dan and many of those who call in are very fond of maps, so despite the limitations of radio, we plan to bring in a few for discussion, and look forward to the calls from the program's vast and varied listening audience.

One example might be this early map of what came to be the International Dateline, which took quite a zig and zag around the Philippines.
Image: Atlas Obscura
The program is timely, as the Massachusetts Legislature considers -- for the third time -- an Act Relative to Geography Education that the MGA has been supporting for several years.

Geographers are especially encouraged to call during the Monday evening broadcast. If you are going to call, please dial early in the hour, as this hour goes by very quickly! The number is 617-254-1030.

Listen on 1030 AM in Massachusetts and throughout much of eastern North America, or listen live via WBZ streaming.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Geography on Nightside Radio -- Monday January 11, 9pm

Bridgewater State geographers Vernon Domingo and James Hayes-Bohanan have been invited back to the CBS radio program Nightside with Dan Rea to talk about geography education and our efforts to improve it in Massachusetts.
Broadcast throughout eastern U.S. and Canada on AM 1030.
This is a call-in show -- join us at (617) 254-1030!
We will be on-air from 9pm to 10pm on Monday, January 11, 2016.
FB users can get this must-hear radio on their events calendar as a reminder.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beacon Hill Update

Massachusetts Geographic Alliance continues to advocate for geography education on Beacon Hill. The Joint Committee on Education is currently considering two bills -- a Senate and a House version that are very similar and likely to be consolidated if the bill moves forward. The Joint Committee has advanced similar bills in two previous sessions, but both times the bills failed to reach votes on the floor, as they were allowed to die in technical committees.
EarthView has been a big part of our advocacy work on Beacon Hill. Shown here during an April 2014 visit.
It will return on Earth Day, April 20, 2016.
The bill calls for three measures in support of geography education. One would simply be to declare a Geography Day for the state, acknowledging the importance of this field of study. The second would be to ensure that a geographer is part of the governance infrastructure that oversees social studies in the curriculum statewide. Third and most importantly, the bill would create a commission -- comprising educators, government officials, and geography-related professionals -- to make recommendations regarding the status of geography education in the Commonwealth. The commission would have 12 to 18 months to hold hearings around the state, to gather information from other states, and to bring real rigor to the process of deciding how to improve geographic literacy in Massachusetts. It has the potential to make Massachusetts a national leader in geography education.

In its two versions -- S291 and H491 -- the bill currently enjoys support from both major parties, both chambers, and all regions of the state. If your legislators is among the sponsors, please thank them.

The chief sponsors are Sen. Anne Gobi and Rep. Todd Smola, who happens to be the only professional geographer in the Legislature. Other sponsors include (in no particular order):
S291: Joan B. Lovely, Marc R. Pacheco, Claire D. Cronin, Jennifer E. Benson, Angelo L. D'Emilia, James M. Murphy, Louis L. Kafka, James J. O'Day, Keiko M. Orrall, William F. Galvin, Harriette L. Chandler, Thomas P. Kennedy, Tom Sannicandro
H491: Michael D. Brady, Louis L. Kafka, Angelo L. D'Emilia, James M. Murphy, Ellen Story, James J. O'Day, William C. Galvin, Keiko M. Orrall
In any case, please ask your legislator to contact members of the Joint Committee on Education in support of the bills, and consider contacting members directly as well.