Category Archives: Uncategorized

2016 National “World Geography Bowl”

Congratulations to Geography BA student Tyler Maren and Geography MS student Julian Hartmann-Russell, who represented UMass on the New England-St. Lawrence Valley World Geography Bowl team at the national World Geography Bowl Competition, Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers in San Francisco on April 1, 2016.  Although Team New England did not win the national competition, they performed well.

2016 World Geography Bowl, April 1, San Francisco. UMass geographers Julian Hartmann-Russell and Tyler Maren 2nd from right and far right

2016 World Geography Bowl, April 1, San Francisco. UMass geographers Julian Hartmann-Russell and Tyler Maren 2nd from right and far right

AP Geography Credit at UMass

Notice for students interested in earning AP credit for geography at UMass.  YES!  We still offer AP credit.  This year we changed the designations of our introductory courses – Geosciences 100 and Geosciences 102 to Geograph 100 and Geograph 102.  The AP documentation still says “Geosciences,” which has led to some student concern that they will not receive AP credit.  Rest  assured that the AP Geography test is still accepted at UMass Amherst.

Take World Regional Geography Online!

world regionalUMass Amherst is offering Geography 220 – World Regional Geography online through Continuing Education.  UMass students can earn general education SB & G credit with this 4-unit course.  This is a great course for anyone interested in learning more about the world and the complex interplay of political, social, economic, cultural and environmental issues.  From religion to climate change, this course has it all!  The course is a survey of world physical and human geography, highlighting regional diversity and variation in globalization processes and outcomes. It introduces geographical theories, concepts, and methods while exploring nine major world regions.  The instructor, Dr. Toby Applegate has a wide range of experience in carrying out geographical research in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the U.S.  He has a lively, engaging and direct teaching style that resonates well with students.  For more information, see

UMass Geographers Win 2014 NESTVAL World Geography Bowl

On Friday, October 24, a team of 6 undergraduate UMass Amherst geography majors came home with the championship trophy from the 2014 NESTVAL (Association of American Geographer’s New England-St Lawrence Valley Division) World Geography Bowl.

left to right: Spencer Weintein, Vitya Romanov, Will Kostick, Tyler Maren, Steve Bailey, Ronan Lucey

left to right: Spencer Weintein, Vitya Romanov, Will Kostick, Tyler Maren, Steve Bailey, Ronan Lucey

The team members (Steve Bailey, Will Kostick, Ronan Lucey, Tyler Maren, Vitya Romanov and Spencer Weinstein), are all working toward the Geography BA, BA-Environmental Geography, or Geography BS degree, and are all members of the UMass Geography Club.

Although a number of the teams at the WGB combine undergraduate and graduate students, UMass sent an all-undergraduate team to the competition this year.  Geography club president Dan Riecker, though unable to attend, was instrumental in organizing the team and running practice sessions.

This year’s competition, held at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, involved 11 teams from universities such as the University of Connecticut, Clark University, the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire.  UMass entered the final round against Plymouth State University after winning four of six preliminary rounds.  The UMass team swept the final round with correct answers to questions on topics  — from erosion to ebola, Mars missions to migration — which demonstrated their command of the breadth of the field of geography as it spans from the natural sciences to the social sciences.

The World Geography Bowl began in 1987 in North Carolina, and became a fully-developed national competition in 1993.   Unlike primary and secondary school “geography bees,” which emphasize individual proficiency, the college-level World Geography Bowl emphasizes team competitions.  Half of the questions are answered through collaborations between all team members.  In 2006, the competition was revised to include not only verbally-read questions, but also visual questions involving satellite images and photographs.

The top six individual-scoring students from the 2014 NESTVAL competition will join together to form the NESTVAL team at the national World Geography Bowl, to be held in Chicago at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in April. The Association of American Geographers has 9 regional divisions, each of which sends a team to the national championship competition.

The UMass Geography program, which offers BA-Geography, BA-Environmental Geography, BS-Geography, MS-Geography and PhD-Geosciences degrees, is housed in the Department of Geosciences, College of Natural Sciences.

UMass Amherst Geographer’s New Book Calls for Expanded Role of Indigenous Peoples in Worldwide Conservation Planning

Stan Stevens‘ new book, Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas integrates wide-ranging, multidisciplinary intellectual perspectives with detailed analyses of new kinds of protected areas in diverse parts of the world.  It makes the case for a paradigm shift in conservation from exclusionary, uninhabited national parks and wilderness areas to new kinds of protected areas that recognize Indigenous peoples’ conservation contributions and rights.  Contributing authors include UMass Geography/Geosciences alum Brian Conz (PhD 2008).

Read more on the UMass Amherst news page  and on the University of Arizona Press webpage.

Now Hiring – Lecturer, Human Geography

University of Massachusetts Amherst – Lecturer, Department of Geosciences

Job Description: The Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst invites applications for a one year lecturer to teach two large lecture-based introductory courses each semester: an introductory course in human geography and world regional geography. The position begins on September 1, 2014 and ends on August 31, 2015. The introductory human geography course is taught for up to 200 students in a large lecture format (MWF) with discussion sections taught by graduate student teaching assistants. World Regional Geography is taught for up to 200 students in a large lecture format (Tu-Th) without discussion sections (with some T.A. grading support). World Regional Geography is a new course at UMass this fall. We hope to hire a dynamic and motivated geographer who can launch this course with skill and enthusiasm. We also invite the successful applicant to join in the academic and social life of the geography program through participation in program and department activities and events.



Required: MA/MS in Geography

Previous, well-regarded teaching experience

Ability to manage a large course with graduate student assistants

Strong oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills

Preferred: PhD or ABD in Geography

Experience teaching large lecture courses

Significant international research/travel experience


Additional Information: The geography program at UMass Amherst is part of the Department of Geosciences (College of Natural Sciences). The geography program contributes to campus-wide initiatives aimed at cross-disciplinary, innovative approaches to education at all levels. We offer B.A., B.A. with concentration in Environmental Geography, B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geography, and offer PhDs in Geosciences. See the geography program website,, for more geography-specific information.


About University of Massachusetts Amherst: UMass Amherst, the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system, is situated in the famous college town of Amherst in the scenic Pioneer of western Massachusetts, 8 miles from Northampton, 90 miles from Boston and 175 miles from New York City. The area is home to the Five Colleges (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts), with many opportunities for inter-institutional collaboration. UMass Amherst is ranked among the top 10 research universities nationwide for our commitment to leadership in sustainability, and is one of 16 U.S. universities to receive a gold from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment Rating System (STARS). Application Instructions: Interested candidates should apply online through Interview Exchange ( and include a letter of application, curriculum vita, unofficial transcripts. The letter of application should specifically address general qualifications, research experience, teaching philosophy, and teaching experience. Please email three letters of reference to Review of applications will begin on July 29th. We hope to complete the hiring process by mid August and ask that applicants consider referees’ summer schedules when requesting references as there is likely to be a short turn-around time for reference letters. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and encourages applications from these and other protected group members.

Geography Club competes in the Where in the World Challenge

In Spring 2014, UMass was one of seven universities competing in the nationwide “Where in the World Challenge.”  The challenge is designed to to develop anticipatory spatiotemporal analytic skills to create and report “from the future” on the five best and five worst places to live on earth in the year 2025.  University teams each chose one of the following criteria then :

Overall best and worst places for all combined factors

Overall best and worst places for Water Resources

Overall best and worst places for Energy Resources

Overall best and worst places for Food Security

Overall best and worst places for Health

Overall best and worst places for Risk for Natural Disaster

The UMass Geography club chose to analyze the best and worst places for water resources in the year 2025.  Members participating on the team included Spencer Weinstein, Stephen Bailey, Ronan Lucey, Chloe Meckaniuk, and Daniel Riecker.

The winners of the competition will be announced in July.

Congratulations! 2014 Assoc. of American Geographers * Tampa

Xin Li, Sainan Lin, Nicole Gillette, Noah Slovin

Xin Li, Sainan Lin, Nicole Gillette, Steven Bailey, Noah Slovin

Congratulations to Steven Bailey (2nd from right) who competed on behalf of New England at the 2014 World Geography Bowl at the Tampa AAG. UMass participants in the Association of American Geographers’ Annual Meeting included faculty members Piper Gaubatz, Anita Milman, Eve Vogel and Qian Yu; graduate students Nicole Gillette, Jim Macallister, Xin Li, Sainan Lin, Noah Slovin and Changjiang Ye; and undergraduate geography major Steven Bailey.

Steven Bailey (standing) and NESTVAL team mates

Steven Bailey (standing) and NESTVAL team mates. AAG 2014 World Geography Bowl Round 1

2013 Student Awards

(L-R) Xin Li, Sainan Lin, Changjiang Ye, Jiwei Li, Rachel Labrie, Marielys Velez

(L-R) Xin Li, Sainan Lin, Changjiang Ye, Jiwei Li, Rachel Labrie, Marielys Velez

Congratulations to the 2013 Geography student award recipients:

Outstanding TA: Xin Li and Changjiang Ye

Outstanding Seniors: Rachel Labrie and Marielys Velez

Research funding awards: Xin Li, Sainan Lin, Changjiang Ye, Jiwei Li








Geography Conference (NESTVAL)

The New England-St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society (NESTVAL) Conference will be held October 18-19, 2013, at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

The themes will be “Climate Justice,” “Economic and Financial Crisis,” and “Reimagining Mid-Sized Cities;” however, presentations on any topic of interest to the membership are encouraged.

Abstracts for papers and posters of no more than 200 words and proposals for sessions must be submitted by September 15, 2013 to be included in the program. Abstracts should be submitted in electronic format to

Download the Instructions for Organizing Sessions, Preparing Abstracts, and Submitting Information to the Committee.

Preliminary Conference Program

  • World Geography Bowl (3PM Friday)
  • Plenary session on climate justice with invited speaker Katherine L.Jacobs, Assistant Director for  Assessment and Adaptation for the Office of Science and Technology Policy at theWhite House
  • Joni Seager, Professor of Geography at Bentley University
  • Paper and poster sessions
  • Social hour and banquet
  • Local and regional field trips

Detailed conference information including the final program will be available October, 2013

The website for the conference is:

Estuaries: high resolution/large scale CDOM monitoring

Dr. Qian Yu and recent UMass geography graduate Dr. Weining Zhu recently published two papers in top remote sensing journals, Remote Sensing of Environment and ISPRS Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. They developed a semi-analytical method to retrieve colored dissolved organic matter from hyper spectral remote sensing and mapped the CDOM in global major rivers. The work provides the first high resolution and large scale CDOM monitoring in global major estuaries.

Beaver Island Research

Grad students Jiwei Li and Changjiang Ye are conducting summer research in Beaver Island, Michigan with Dr. Qian Yu. They are working on an NSF funded project to understand terrestrial carbon leaching from land to lake or ocean. The experiment uses aquatic mesocosms and green house incubation at Central Michigan University Biological Station to simulate litter leaching process. The result will provide different decomposition rates for dominant vegetation types and examine the bio-optical properties of dissolved organic carbon.

Geography Club!

There will be an organizational meeting for a new geography club on Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 5:30pm (Hasbrouck 236). Come and help us start up a new club devoted to fieldtrips and other geographical activities in the Pioneer Valley. Membership is open to all 5-College students.

UMass Geographers @ 2012 AAG Meeting

Eight UMass geographers will be participating in the 2012 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in New York City, February 24-28.  This conference will host more than 7,000 geographers from around the world and feature over 4,000 presentations.

UMass Geography participants include faculty members Piper Gaubatz, Stan Stevens, Eve Vogel and Qian Yu; and graduate students Cordelia Sand, Mingma Sherpa, Ted White, and Weining Zhu.  Their presentations are listed below, followed by a list of sessions organized by UMass geographers.

For more information on the meeting, see

Faculty Participation:

Piper Gaubatz – “Impacts of new environmental discourses on China’s urban development”

Piper Gaubatz – “China’s high-speed rail controversy”  (panelist)

Stan Stevens – “Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park governance and management: international perspectives on protected areas and social justice”

Eve Vogel – “Is there room for progressive political change, even in large technical systems? How to uncover hope, through a history of pacific northwest electrical transitions”

Qian Yu – “Understanding watershed DOC export based on a field and remote sensing integrated approach”

Graduate Student Participation:

Cordelia Sand – “Evolution and radical affects in an uncertain world”

Cordelia Sand – “Evolutionary geographies” (panelist)

Mingma Sherpa – “Conservation governance of the buffer zone community forests of Sagarmatha National Park Buffer Zone, Nepal”

Ted White – “A good enough utopia: following possibility in social movements past to present”

Weining Zhu — ““Terrestrial export and dynamic of dissolved organic carbon in estuarine and coastal regions – case study for global major rivers”

 Sessions organized by UMass geographers include:

“China: environmental discourses in transition” (Gaubatz)

“China Specialty Group: How to get an academic job” (Gaubatz)

“The Sherpa people and conservation in Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone, Nepal” (Stevens)

“Finding progressive possibility through historical research” (Vogel)

“GIS/RS application in aquatic and wetland environment (1)” (Yu)

“GIS/RS application in aquatic and wetland environment (2)” (Yu)


NESTVAL 2011 – Montreal Oct 14-16

The 2011 New England-St. Lawrence Valley (NESTVAL) Annual Geography Conference will be held at Concordia University, in Montreal, Canada, from Friday, October 14 to Saturday, October 15, with some additional field trips on Sunday, October 16.

Notre Dame Montreal

All interested participants (students and faculty) are invited to submit abstracts (no longer than 200 words), and proposals for sessions to  the relevant member of the conference co-ordinating committee, as specified below. Abstracts are due no later than September 15. The theme of the conference this year is the “Green City” – although, of course, abstracts, posters and sessions on any topic of interest to the membership are encouraged.

  • For topics that broadly relate to physical geography, GIS and environmental studies, please send your abstract to Dr. David Greene  at
  • For topics that broadly relate to human geography, urban studies or planning, please send your abstract to Dr. Alan Nash at


The conference will be made up of paper and poster sessions, the Geography Bowl, and banquet. Regarding field trips — on Saturday afternoon, the following is planned:

  1. Montreal’s food and produce markets;
  2. History of the Apparel Trade in Montreal’s Mile End district;
  3. The Radical Geography Walking Tour;
  4. A walking workshop activity “Mapping St.-Laurent Boulevard”;
  5. and – on Sunday –
    5. an examination of the old growth forest on Mont St. Hilaire.

Detailed conference information, and final program will be made available online in due course on the NESTVAL website


Registration and conference costs per member will be as follows:

(A) Registration costs (mandatory)

  • US $40 – NESTVAL (US$25 NESTVAL dues; US $15 subscription to the Northeastern Geographer)
  • $55 – Conference costs (pizza for the Geography Bowl; Room rentals etc)
  • Sub-Total mandatory items: $95
    • Note: reduced registration  rate for students and teachers of $15

(B) Optional conference items:

  • $40 Banquet
  • $25 NESTVAL Business lunch
  • Field trips: $10 to $20 depending on trip
  • Sub-total optional items (assume one$10  trip chosen): $75

(C) Examples of total costs (for guidance only)

  • Total (assuming regular member, participating in all events, inc. one $10 field trip) = $170
  • Total for students and teachers (assume participating in all events, inc. one $10 field trip) = $90

A list of hotels that offer discounts to Concordia visitors will be posted on the NESTVAL website.

Detailed registration costs and procedures will be made available online in due course on the NESTVAL website

On behalf of everyone here at Concordia University’s Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, we do hope that you and your students will join us for our annual regional meeting. It promises to be an exciting weekend!