Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 6/23/15


June 23, 2015

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And so then it was eventually off to the airport, for good-byes to the Andes, to the rainforest, to Peru, to each other. Read the final installment of Peru Travel notes below.




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Geography APG holds networking event
The Department of Geography Affiliate Program Group (APG) held a networking event and organizational meeting at The Penn Stater Conference Center on June 15, 2015, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania GIS Conference.


Zelinsky tribute published in the Annals
Wilbur Zelinsky was a prodigious scholar of immense influence on the discipline of geography. He was guided as geographers have always been guided: to explore the unknown, something he did in his own unique and exuberant way. He died quietly on May 4, 2013, in his ninety-second year, after practicing geography passionately for seven decades, starting as a map draftsman during World War II and writing books right up until his death. Not only was he intellectually gifted, Wilbur was also a fine musician and a person who cared deeply about relationships, literature, the arts, and social justice. He was colorful, quirky, romantic, genuine—salt of the earth, without pretense—and pretty funny, too.


Travel Note 5: Frontier towns, impacts, and good-byes
We said our good-byes to the rainforest after our last sampling event and a sunset trip to the canopy tower. The sampling was done after watching the harpy eagle chick, and occurred in a new wetland type for me, a sartenjales. It was basically the tropical version of a headwater stream; small channels lazily looping here and there, sitting on top of a layer of clay, dominated by a sub canopy palm (Bactris riparia) whose fronds reach only to eight or ten feet, with four-inch black, sharp spines along the trunk. A mini palm swamp, thick with vines and ground-level ferns, it was steamy and warm, and provided a great bookend to the wetland field work that the class had done, since they began in the high altitude peat bogs two weeks before. They ended up sampling three wetland types: the bofedales, the palm swamp, and the small stream area. They have gotten very competent at the methane samplings, as well as cheerily trying to get multiple sediment cores in unforgiving environments. The sediment-coring device consists of a long plexiglass tube to which you attached a rather substantial head with a handle and a water evacuation valve. The root density alone is enough to discourage mere mortals from pursuing cores, but at this site the clay provides a second challenge—the tube sticks and groans and refuses to budge. This is when you recruit the two largest students to each hang on one end of the handle, and watch them jump up while spinning and try to drill the coring tube further (it’s generally entertaining and effective). After multiple muddy attempts, they succeed. Read the rest of this travel note on the blog


Recently (or soon to be) published

DeBerry, D. A., S. J. Chamberlain, and J. W. Matthews. 2015. Trends in Floristic Quality Assessment for wetland evaluation. Wetland Science and Practice 32:12-22.
Over the past two decades, much has been written about the use of bioassessment tools to evaluate wetland condition. Interest in bioassessment has originated from a need to establish parameters for “biological integrity” in wetland ecosystems, whether for scientific research, natural areas assessment, inventory and monitoring, or in response to regulatory mandate.


Barrett A. Lee, Stephen A. Matthews, John Iceland, and Glenn Firebaugh. “Residential Inequality: Orientation and Overview” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science July 2015 660: 8-16, doi:10.1177/0002716215579832
Where people live reflects and affects their position in society. This tenet is implicit in the American Dream, which promises access to desirable homes, neighborhoods, and communities for those willing to work hard enough. As recent events remind us, however, effort alone does not guarantee fulfillment of the dream.