ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF THE 2022 MY CALIFORNIA GIS MAPPING COMPETITION

The California Geographic Alliance is proud to announce the winners of the 6th Annual My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition.

This exciting statewide opportunity encourages middle (4th-8th grade) and high school (9th-12th grade) students to harness the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and get connected with their state by producing a StoryMap that focuses on stories, issues, or ideas that are important to them. The state competition is part of a national competition sponsored by Esri, creators of ArcGIS Online software and educational resources that are freely available to K-12 schools. $1,000 in prize money is distributed to the students producing the top five projects in each division. The first place project in each division will also be advanced to the national competition.

The mapping contest is coordinated by Dr. Waverly Ray, Associate Professor of Geography at San Diego Mesa College. A panel of academic and industry experts, all of whom serve as volunteers, serve as competition judges (and sometimes mentors, too). This year, we were fortunate to have the involvement of Bryan Ferri, Nancy Ferris, and Robert Kraft. Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou, Professor of Geography at San Diego State University, has served as head judge for the competition since its inception. The CGA is grateful for this support and for the advocacy of these individuals to support GIS in K-12 education!

The CGA also sincerely thanks all of the educators across the state who, despite all the challenges of this year, gave their students the great experience of using GIS to create their own maps and projects. Beyond those teachers who register and submit projects for this competition, we know there are many, many more who are creating meaningful learning experiences and helping their students learn about the world around them. Teachers are the best, and we appreciate your help in bringing the power of geographic thinking and geospatial technologies to your students.

And now the real stars of the show…

The first place prize in the 9th-12th grade division is awarded to Daniel Bet Sarghez and Matthew Keshishian of Clark Magnet High School in La Crescenta (L.A. County) for a project entitled “CTE Mission: CubeSat.” This StoryMap highlights the work of the school’s GIS and Remote Sensing team. The group entered a national competition and ended up implementing the project they designed to map homeless encampments in high-risk fire zones in Los Angeles. They collected their own data using remote sensing techniques.

The first place prize in the 4th-8th grade division is awarded to Olivia Shekou of Ross School in Ross (Marin County) for a project entitled “Rising Sea Levels.” This StoryMap goes beyond describing the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels to inspire action.  The author applies documentary film-making concepts and calls it a “mapumentary.”

Other students recognized in the 9th-12th grade division include:

Other students recognized in the 4th-8th grade division include:

Congratulations to all fourteen students who received awards in our two divisions! Congratulations also to the teachers who supported them:  Robert Holland and Kelly Leon at Bonita Vista High School; Dominique Evans-Bye at Clark Magnet High School; Rafael Cruz at Hollenbeck Middle School, and; Blake Schmidt at Ross School.

Environmental Justice for California Communities: An Interdisciplinary Workshop Series for Secondary Teachers

This is an exciting Professional Learning program presented by the California Environmental Literacy Initiative, several California Subject Matter Projects, and the California Geographic Alliance. We are excited to support a cohort of teachers to become leaders in using an exciting new resource for place-based environmental learning and action.

In the 3-part series, teachers will get experience with classroom-ready resources and will learn how they and their students can use geospatial tools to develop their own inquiries. The CHELA (California’s Hub for Environmental Learning and Action) website helps educators, students, and collaborators:

  • use powerful GIS mapping tools to access current data and visualize, understand, and analyze important issues in a way that centers their own communities and concerns, wherever in the state they may live;
  • follow their interests and hone their own questions across a broad range of topics related to the environment, sustainability, and environmental justice; and
  • share their stories of environmental learning, action, and advocacy.

We are using an application process to ensure access to this program for teachers from multiple subject areas and different regions of the state. We hope to be able to accept all applicants, but we will be giving priority to teams (working within or across disciplines) who are prepared to work together on implementation during and after the program. Please complete the form to provide information about yourself.

Apply early to claim your spot. We will be conducting our first round of application reviews on May 16 but will keep the application open until all space in the workshop is filled.

Successful applicants will be expected to attend three 1.5 hour workshops held virtually on Saturday mornings (9:30-11:00 on 8/27, 9/24, and 10/22) and will be paid a stipend of $200 upon completion.

My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition

Image including CGA logo and title of contest: "My California GIS Mapping SHowcase and Competition for 4th-12th grades"

Registration for the 2021-22 competition is OPEN!

The 2021-22 edition of the “My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition” is the 6th running of this annual event. This exciting statewide opportunity encourages middle (4th-8th grade) and high school (9th-12th grade) students to harness the power of Geographic Information Systems (using free Esri ArcGIS Online software) and get connected with their state by producing an online map that focuses on stories, issues, or ideas that are important to them. Cash prizes of $100 are awarded to the students submitting the top 5 projects in each category, and one project in each category will be advanced to the national competition.

Learn more about the competition.

Celebrate California Biodiversity Day by Documenting Biodiversity in Your Spaces, Sept. 4-12

To recognize California Biodiversity Day , the California Geographic Alliance is organizing students across the state to become Biodiversity Explorers and Mappers. In the interest of developing environmental literacy and stewardship in all young people, this will be an opportunity for close observation and appreciation of the amazing diversity of organisms present in our state, which is a global biodiversity hotspot.

The BioBlitz starts September 4 and ends on September 12. Using the citizen science platform iNaturalist, students will document wild plants, animals, insects, and other organisms that they observe in their yards, school grounds, or local parks and open spaces. In addition to the individual observations contributing to science, the collective efforts of students will be shared in a unique map using online mapping software (ArcGIS Online) that is freely available to all schools.

Teachers and student leaders are invited to attend an optional informational webinar on 9/2/2021 at 3:45 p.m. ZOOM LINK – Passcode is 618478 (Slides from webinar are available here).

Project links:
Media release
Instructions for participating 
Flyer for project and 9/2 webinar
California biodiversity collage

iNaturalist project page

 

Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Student GIS Mapping Competition

Image including CGA logo and title of contest: "My California GIS Mapping SHowcase and Competition for 4th-12th grades"On May 12, the California Geographic Alliance announced the winners of the 5th Annual My California GIS Mapping Showcase and Competition. This exciting statewide opportunity encourages middle (4th-8th grade) and high school (9th-12th grade) students to harness the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and get connected with their state by producing a StoryMap that focuses on stories, issues, or ideas that are important to them. The state competition is part of a national competition sponsored by Esri, creators of industry-leading ArcGIS Online software that is freely available to K-12 schools. $1,000 in prize money will be distributed to the students producing the top five projects in each division. The first place project in each division will also be advanced to the national competition.

The My California contest is coordinated by Dr. Waverly Ray, Associate Professor of Geography at San Diego Mesa College. A panel of academic and industry experts, all of whom serve as volunteers, serve as competition judges. Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou, Professor of Geography at San Diego State University, has served as head judge for the competition since its inception. The CGA is grateful for this support!

The CGA also sincerely thanks all of the superhero educators across the state who, despite all the challenges of this year, gave their students the great experience of using GIS to create their own maps and projects. Teachers are the best, and we appreciate your help in bringing the power of geographic thinking and geospatial technologies to your students.

And now the real stars of the show… Continue reading Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Student GIS Mapping Competition

SDSU Geography Class Examines Impact of COVID-19 on Campus Community

Students in San Diego State University’s Geography Department‘s course on Qualitative Methods in Geography (taught by Dr. Kate Swanson) worked together to produce this excellent StoryMap that examines the impact of COVID-19 on the SDSU community.

This is information and perspective that you won’t get anywhere else, and geography helps pull it all together. Congrats to Dr. Swanson and the whole team!

From Dr. Swanson: “Overall, our findings pull from 458 student surveys, 131 faculty surveys, as well as 24 interviews with students and faculty. The StoryMap integrates graphics, recordings, maps, office space photos, and compelling first-hand testimony to uncover how students and faculty are coping. Key sections include: student financial report; housing, food security and education impacts; impacts of online learning on student well-being; and impacts of online learning on faculty well-being. We conclude with a series of recommendations. I’ve attached a few figures to highlight some of our findings.

Please share widely! My students are really excited to share their impressive work. We hope that these findings help uncover further ways to support students and faculty during these difficult times.

A special shout-out to Ana-Felix Ibarra who put the StoryMap together! It’s beautiful!

This image shows the professor and students in the Qualitative Methods in Geography course at SDSU while engaged in a Zoom call.

Geography Awareness Week Daily Webinars

During this year’s Geography Awareness Week, the CGA hosted daily live webinars (Mon-Fri, Nov. 16-20) to connect educators and students with the discipline in a variety of different contexts and demonstrate how geographic perspectives can deepen our understanding of the world we live in and contribute to more sustainable and equitable communities and a better global future. Special thanks to Candice Mays of Mapping Black California/Black Voice News; Nicole Goggin of Global Nomads Group; the California EcoBlitz team of Dr. Anna Antoniou, Jessica Lura, and Kimi Waite; and amazing geography graduate students from SDSU – Jasmine Arpagian, Corrie Monteverde, Sam Orndorff, Thomas Smith, and Krista West.

Webinar recordings:  MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Image lists daily topics for webinars to be held Nov. 16-20, 2020.

Student Atlas of California Completely Updated and Available Now Online

We are happy to announce the availability of a completely updated and improved second edition of our popular student atlas of California!

Image shows front cover of student atlas titled California: A Changing State, second edition. Cover shows map of California with icons representing recognizable features of the state.
Image shows front cover of student atlas titled California: A Changing State, second edition. Cover shows map of California with icons representing recognizable features of the state.

Continue reading Student Atlas of California Completely Updated and Available Now Online

Encountering California Biodiversity Close to Home

California has pledged to make all students environmentally and climate change literate. Outdoor education, fieldwork, and deeper connections with place need to be built into K-12 education to make that happen.

As part of this year’s recognition of California Biodiversity Day (September 7, 2020), the California Geographic Alliance is organizing students across the state to become Biodiversity Explorers and Mappers. In the interest of developing environmental literacy and stewardship in all young people, this will be an opportunity for close observation and appreciation of the amazing diversity of organisms present in our state, which is a global biodiversity hotspot. Using the citizen science platform iNaturalist, students will document plants, animals, insects, and other organisms that they observe in their yards, school grounds, or local parks and open spaces. In addition to the individual observations contributing to science, the collective efforts of students will be shared in a unique map using online mapping software (ArcGIS Online) that is freely available to all schools.

Optional informational webinar on 9/3 at 3:45 p.m.

Project links:
iNaturalist project page (and umbrella project for California Biodiversity Day 2020)
Media release
Instructions for participating
Flyer for project and 9/3 webinar
California biodiversity collage