GEEO Helps Educators Make International Travel Part of Professional Development!

At the CGA, we see geographic knowledge and skills and global citizenship as intertwined and mutually supportive. Therefore, we encourage educators to use travel as part of an individualized professional development strategy. We are happy to share the following information from GEEO, a unique non-profit organization designed to serve educators and offering a fabulous range of travel experiences at reasonable cost.

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 will talk about these trips all year in my classes. For so many of my students, my description of my travels will be the only exposure they will have to other countries and other ways of life.” -Teacher Michael Baldwin, who’s first time traveling abroad was with GEEO.

Travel the world, earn professional development credit, and bring global understanding into your classroom!

Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has sent over 1600 teachers abroad on adventurous travel programs. With GEEO educators can earn professional development credits and optional graduate credit while seeing the world. GEEO’s trips are 7 to 21 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to amazing tour leaders, many of the programs are accompanied by university faculty that are experts on the destination. GEEO also provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators’ guests. The deposit is $250 for each program and then the final payment is due 60 days before departure.

GEEO is offering the following travel programs for 2017: Bali/Lombok, Bangkok to Hanoi, China, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe, The Galapagos Islands, Greece, Iceland, India/Nepal, Bhutan, Ireland, Armenia/Georgia, Italy, Multi-Stan, Antarctica, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Peruvian Amazon, Peruvian Andes, Southern Africa, Vietnam/Cambodia, Balkans and, a Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at www.geeo.org. GEEO can be reached 7 days a week, toll-free at 1-877-600-0105 between 9 AM-9 PM EST.

Support the AAG’s Proposal for a New Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science & Technology

CGA members who are US high school teachers, here is a chance to help connect high school educational programs to real-world work skills and career opportunities in a new way…

Support the AAG’s Proposal for a New Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science & Technology

With support from the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP), the American Association of Geographers (AAG) has developed a proposal for a new Advanced Placement course inGeographic Information Science and Technology (AP GIS&T).

All U.S. high schools, colleges, and universities are invited to review the proposal by visiting www.apgist.org.

AP GIS&T is designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of geographic information science and applications of powerful geospatial technologies for spatial analysis and problem solving. Together with AP Human Geography, AP GIS&T offers an opportunity to engage students in outstanding geographic learning experiences and promote awareness of the many college and career opportunities available in the discipline.

The AP GIS&T course proposal has attracted broad support from prominent scientific and educational organizations, as well as major technology employers such as Google.

For AP GIS&T to become a reality, the AAG needs to collect attestations from 250 U.S. high schools that confirm they have the interest and capacity to offer the course. Similar assurances are needed from 100 colleges and universities that they would be willing to offer some form of credit to students who demonstrate proficiency on the AP GIS&T exam.

The AAG invites high school principals and academic department chairpersons to consider adding their institution to the list of AP GIS&T supporters by completing the brief attestation form at www.apgist.org. The AAG’s goal is to complete the attestation process by October 1, 2016.

Have questions about AP GIS&T? Contact the AAG at ap_gist@aag.org.

Superintendent Torlakson Announces Approval of History–Social Science Framework

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on July 14 that the State Board of Education voted to approve the History–Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, which will update and upgrade history and social science instruction in California.  This is great news that has been a long-time in coming.  It is important to note that NO CHANGE has been made to the state’s History-Social Science Standards.  Our friends at the California History-Social Science Project explain that and other important points about the new framework and what it means here:

What You Need to Know About California’s New History-Social Science Framework

And while a properly formatted and printed version of the framework is not yet available, you can access the full contents of the document here:

2016 History-Social Science Framework

We are excited about building our PD programs around the framework and look forward to a future revision of the standards.

CGA brings 250 children to Cabrillo National Monument BioBlitz

As a key sponsor of the Cabrillo Urban Island BioBlitz in San Diego, the CGA helped bring 250 High Tech High elementary school children to the park for a 24-hour BioBlitz on May 21st. This very successful event was organized in coordination with National Geographic, the National Parks Service and 119 other participating parks across the United States.

Kids had a wonderful time at the event. There were 68 exhibitors set up at the BioBlitz headquarters, offering an array of hands-on activities for kids. At the CGA exhibit, children had the opportunity to go on a BioBlitz scavenger hunt to help them with their map reading skills. Thanks to our SDSU Department of Geography cartographer, Harry Johnson, visitors were also able to examine an amazing air photograph and topographical map of Cabrillo National Park.

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Cabrillo National Monument BioBlitz

Participants in the Cabrillo BioBlitz collected an incredible array of species observations. In fact, over the park’s 166 acres, citizen scientists logged 1,551 observations of 405 different species. This placed the Cabrillo BioBlitz as #3 in the nation for iNaturalist BioBlitz observations!

To see these observations, please visit the Cabrillo BioBlitz iNaturalist site: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/6824/stats_slideshow

240 Students Participate in Sacramento Capitol Park BioBlitz

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Photo by TC Clark

On April 12th the CGA co-hosted a BioBlitz on the Sacramento Capitol grounds with 240 elementary school children from Bowling Green Elementary School. At this event, educators, naturalists, and students came together to learn about, and celebrate biodiversity in one of California’s most recognizable urban parks. The CGA collaborated with the Education and the Environment Initiative of CalRecyle to organize this hugely successful day. We all had a wonderful time, and students came to appreciate the importance of geographic, environmental, and outdoor education.

A BioBlitz is an intensive study of biodiversity carried out in a specific area over the course of a day. At our event, students from 3rd through 6th grade at Bowling Green Elementary observed and documented as many plants, birds, insects, mammals, fungi, and other organisms as possible. This gave them a great opportunity to become citizen scientists in their own backyard. They learned how scientists collect observational data, explored the diversity of life that exists even in an urban environment, and came to appreciate how humans influence biodiversity. Experienced naturalists were also on hand to help students identify local plants and animals. Additionally, the event hosted information booths on biodiversity, agriculture, recycling.

The Capitol Park BioBlitz is one of over 150 BioBlitz events being held around the country this year as part of a National Geographic Initiative marking the National Park Service Centennial. The California Geographic Alliance has joined with a wide range of partners in the California Outdoor Engagement Coalition to support over 25 BioBlitzes in California parks and schoolyards.

“Outdoor learning is an incredible opportunity available to any student,” said Tom Herman, Director of the California Geographic Alliance. “Geography education is about connecting students to the world and helping them understand their place in it, and engage in a meaningful way. Examining what is happening right outside your home or school is a great place to start, and biodiversity is an important issue.”

The media attended the event as well. Our Sacramento BioBlitz was featured on Sacramento’s Fox 40 news, as well as KCRA’s Channel 3. Watch our BioBlitz in action and watch CGA’s Director, Tom Herman, speak about the importance of geography education.

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Photo by TC Clark

For more information on BioBlitzes being conducted across the state this year, visit the California BioBlitz website and National Geographic.  To see some of the species students found at the Sacramento Capitol Park BioBlitz, see our iNaturalist data page.

California State Geographic Bee to be Held Friday April 1 at Fresno State University

It is that time of year again!  Hundreds of school level bees occurred throughout the state from November to January, with a winner being crowned at each school.  Now the top 105 school winners have been selected by the National Geographic Society and invited to take their talents to Fresno to see if they can emerge on top of a very intense competition.

The competition will begin at 8 am on Friday, April 1 at the Satellite Student Union on the Fresno State campus.  Once the preliminary rounds have been completed, the general public is welcome to come and watch the final and championship rounds, which will begin around 11 am.

State Bee Coordinator Sean Boyd, of the Fresno State Geography Department, was recently interviewed on the Central Valley Today television news program, and you can view that segment here:

Sean Boyd from CVT 2016

And a group of Mass Communication/Journalism students at Fresno State created a theatrical trailer for the Bee, which you can also view:

GeoBee Trailer

Good luck to all 105 competitors and congratulations to the thousands of students who participated in bees held at their school sites.

Team from Clark Magnet High in La Crescenta Use ArcGIS Online to Highlight Possible Solution to Global Crisis

Millions of people on Earth depend on fish as a source of protein along with beef and chicken. However, the growing population’s demand for fish has resulted in over fishing. Fish that are large in size are usually the targets for fishers and these species are usually what humans consume. For example, “of the 465 shark species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 74 are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered” (Wild Seafood).

The Cricket Busters, a group of ten students from Clark Magnet High School, have identified a solution to this problem. Eating insects such as crickets and worms are a much better protein source because they do not require land like cows and chickens do and they

are not endangered like fish. Cows are also bad for the environment because they release methane gas into the environment and they don’t give as much protein per gram than crickets.

Check out their Story Map here: http://arcg.is/1jovu1e

Professional Development Opportunity: Biodiversity in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Sat., March 19

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Join our BioBlitz partners at the King Gillette Ranch for this FREE workshop to investigate biodiversity in the Santa Monica Mountains and life’s enabling substance, water. By blending EEI and Project WET activities together the workshop will illustrate the three dimensional learning cycle that is integral to the Next Generation Science Standards. Educators get research-based planning tools that, when implemented with integrity, will bring immediate benefits to students. Ample time for collegial co-planning is built into the workshop as we explore biodiversity in the parks. This workshop is designed to support teachers planning to visit a National Park area with their class or participate in Bio-Blitzes in the park or at their own school sites – but all are invited to attend this training and get outside with us!

 

Cal State Fullerton Geography Department Welcomes AP Human Geography Students and Teachers

The CGA’s goal of creating a geographically competent workforce depends on increasing the quality of geography education in K-12 and making sure students see geography as a viable college major and career field.  Professor Zia Salim at CSU Fullerton is helping to build the bridge between high school and college-level geography.

Dr. Salim (far right of the photo) and the CSUF Geography Department hosted 100 students from La Habra High School on Dec. 4, 2015 as part of an outreach program to Advanced Placement Human Geography classes. The program included an exercise utilizing geographic information systems and presentations on a variety of geographic topics.  AP Human Geography is the fastest growing AP course nationwide, and we are excited to see high school students being exposed to what is happening at the university level so that they can give full consideration to geography as a field of study.

Creating links between geographers at the college and university level and geography and social studies teachers in their local area is one strategy that the CGA is looking to expand.  If you are a geographer that would like to connect with K-12 teachers and students, or a K-12 teacher looking to make a connection to a college or university in your area, please let us know!

Kimball Elementary in National City: Biodiversity Hotspot?

Under the direction of teacher Stephanie Buttell-Maxin, students in two 3rd grade Spanish immersion classes took to “the field” to study biodiversity firsthand as part of a schoolyard BioBlitz.   “The field,” in this case, is an area immediately adjacent to the school campus that includes a tidal creek.  While the area is far from pristine, it provides valuable habitat within an area that is heavily impacted by high density and industrial land uses.  Paradise Creek has provided a focal point for environmental education and community activism at Kimball, with students participating in water quality monitoring and site clean ups over the years.  BioBlitzing has also been a regular activity.

Kimball Study Area

Before even starting the BioBlitz, Mrs. Maxin oriented the students in a thoughtful way by posing two compelling questions about biodiversity and plant and animal adaptations.  For the activity, we prepared materials to aide the students in making field observations.  Each was given a worksheet and a site map for taking notes, plus magnifiers and cameras that were shared among the students.  Mrs. Maxin keeps a wonderful collection of photos and plant samples so the students could use those as resources when trying to determine what they were observing.  Prior to heading out into the field, students were provided with some instruction on what naturalists do and coached in using all of their senses to examine the natural world closely. Each small group of 3-5 students was led by an adult, but students decided what to document and collected all of the data on their own.

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The students really enjoyed taking a closer look at a place they already knew well, and they were able to uncover new information.  They realized how many different kinds of plants occupied this small space, and they also experienced how challenging it can be to get a good photo of a moving target.  Their knowledge of the site also proved useful in guiding their investigations.  Students referred to their site maps and used map reading skills to mark the locations of their observations on that map.  While being naturalists, students also commented on how the trash left behind by people (and washed in by the tides) presented a challenge to the health of the plants and animals, and therefore to the well-being of the students themselves.  Civic involvement often means taking care of the place where you live, and they were motivated to make improvements to this place.

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Classroom activities reinforced the field activities.  Students reflected on their experiences in the field and responded to the questions about biodiversity and adaptations.  They made presentations about what they had learned.  A table top-sized reproduction of that site map was used in the classroom to transfer all of the observations onto a single map, reinforcing map reading skills and providing extra help for those students who struggled to relate the site map to the real space that they had just explored.  Finally, their best observations – those that included good photos and definitive locational information – were entered into iNaturalist, where a project had been set up specifically for the Kimball BioBlitz. With assistance from other users on iNaturalist, the group’s 28 observations yielded 17 confirmed species identifications within 24 hours of completing the project.  Another exciting development is that 13 of the observations have been certified as “Research Grade,” which means the students are contributing to scientific knowledge through “crowdsourcing” or “citizen science.”

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Congratulations to Mrs. Maxin and the 3rd graders at Kimball Elementary for a job well done.  And thank you to the volunteers who helped make this a great experience for the students: Patricia Simpson, Christopher Maxin, Emanuel Delgado, and T Herman.