Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 6/9/15

June 9, 2015


Hotel Señorial

The GEOG 493: Sustainability Issues Across the Americas course participants with leaders Denice Wardrop and Joe Bishop, and Karl Zimmerer after his meeting and guest lecture to the course on May 15, 2015, at the facilities of the Hotel Señorial in Lima, Peru.



Geography Alumni Program Group Reception at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel
The Geography Alumni Program Group will meet on Monday, June 15, 2015 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. EDT. We invite alumni of all Penn State geography programs …


Travel Note 3 – Jaguars, bot flies, rain, and gold mining
The final 24 hours at Los Amigos is worth reporting on, since it was full of the adrenaline rushes and challenges of a field station on the Madre de Dios. It all started innocently enough, with field sampling in a palm swamp that is defined by the particular species of palm, Mauritius flexuosa, locally known as “aguaje.” It is a magnificent tree, bearing fruits that are highly prized by us for their plant estrogens and vitamin D content, and by blue and gold macaws as nesting sites. This particular palm swamp is a bit more famous after the rather ridiculous Discovery Channel program where a man in a special suit tries to get himself swallowed by an anaconda. While a 20-foot anaconda does indeed live in this palm swamp, they couldn’t manage to convince it to eat the guy in the suit, and they couldn’t quite persuade the “actor” anaconda to do the same. So much for reality TV. Read more on the blog and catch-up on previous travel notes.


Penn State mapping tool could help save seabirds
Spotting a scarlet tanager perched delicately on a nearby branch, David Wiedenfeld peers through his binoculars to get a closer look at the small bird’s ruby plumes. Wiedenfeld, a long-time birder, often stops at a favorite wooded area near his home just west of Washington D.C. for an early-morning songbird sighting. He also appreciates the beauty of the seabirds he observes just a few dozen miles down the road at the Chesapeake Bay.


Fracking book chosen for program
The 2015-16 Penn State Reads common book, which is being given to all incoming freshmen this summer, is The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World published in 2014 and written by Russell Gold


Is Pittsburgh’s Bad Air Putting Cyclists at Risk?
It’s pretty much taken for granted that riding a bike is good for you. Studies have shown that biking not only benefits your physical health,  it’s good for your mental health too. But cycling also carries some potential health risks—and not just the ones that come from a car door opening into your bike lane or riding without a helmet. Air pollution can also be a big problem for cyclists when they share the road with motorists.


The previous dog was Lucy, a 3-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and part of Rachel Passmore’s (B.S. ’14) family. Send a photo of your dog to for our mystery dog of the week!