Felicity Aston

Felicity is doing a series of talks in the Spring Term for the RGS lecture series.
She's coming to King's Lynn on the 13th of March, and I will be there with some students.

Jon Snow speaking to David Attenborough

An important interview, with some clear thinking on our shared future.

Coastal Erosion in Happisburgh

Which areas of coastline are most at risk from erosion?

The Environment Agency has created these maps which allow you to zoom into areas of coastline and see to what extent they have been defended.

The insurance company Confused.com has been busy producing assessments of which communities around the coast are most at risk of erosion. Click on one to see a simple map, some data about the settlement, along with an animation of the rate of erosion over the next few decades.

At number one is Happisburgh.
An interesting article in the i paper today, on the Norfolk village of Happisburgh.

SAGT Conference 2019 #2 - Lorna Dawson keynote

Apologies for delay - a busy half term so far...
SAGT Conference was held at Dollar Academy near Stirling once again, at the end of October - nearly a month ago now. This meant a long train journey up to Stirling, via Ely. I arrived in Stirling just as the SAGT folks were checking in, so ended up heading for the Allan Park Hotel in Stirling for a meal and chat with friends old and new, and Doug Allan, the wildlife cameraman who has worked with David Attenborough.
After breakfast, it was over to Dollar, with a crisp start next to the Tay.
I helped with the Geographical Association stand, which was being looked after by Steve Rawlinson, and Gill Miller, this year's President was also in attendance.
The first keynote of SAGT 2019 was by Lorna Dawson.
It was sponsored by esri UK

Here are my notes, any errors in meaning are mine. This was a really enjoyable session.

Lorna Dawson is a Forensic soil scientist, and works for the James Hutton Institute.
Her twitter feed is @soilfit and is well worth following.
She described how Forensic Science is not new. Romans looked at the soil in hooves of their enemies to trace where they had been.
On the Prussian railway, people were stealing gold, and substituting it with sand to put weight in.
They looked at the sand and compared it with that in the barrels and excluded all but one station where people were stealing the gold and caught people.
Evidence is about linking trace material with a place.

She has worked on a number of programmes including Silent Witness and Countryfile. On the 'One Show', she was given a soil sample from somewhere in Scotland and was able to get within 700m
A good quote:
“Without GIS tools, we geographers couldn’t do the work that we do”

Lorna described hereself as "a geographer specialising in soil science".

“Geographers are particularly good at communicating the science and are safe knowledge brokers”

Liaising with police, farmers, politicans and lawyers, who speak different languauges
“Geographers are particularly good at translating knowledge into expertise and understanding”

Conan Doyle - used the idea of soils in crime novels - London clay was seen on people's clothing - spatial information about where it had come from was all important.
Every contact leaves a trace.
Everyone here will leave something behind that will tell that you have been in this room - forensically.
The link between person and place is important.

Filter in a washing machine - in one case, soil was found in the filter and mineral component could be checked, as the criminal had washed their jeans, and connected them with the place

Soil is complex - a microcosm of
Biology / Chemistry / Physics
Geology / Organic matter
It has a signature: DNA - can be extracted from soil

Spatial resolution of the data - James Hutton Institute -database of soil information.

There are apparently only 4 soils which Scottish students need to know about, including:

Brown earths - productive crops
Podsols - uplands
Gleys - lovely grass for livestock
Peatlands - sequestering carbon - value of soils

Gas chromatography is one scientific technique being used to identify elements of the soil.
Working out the scenario of what could have happened - crime reconstruction.
GPR - "ground penetrating radar" also being used.
Volatile organic compounds from a decomposing body can be identified using these scientific methods as well as fibres from clothing.
Sand is not just sand....
2nd case example was this one.

She talked about crime writers she had worked with.
Ann Cleeves work

Ian Rankin
Val MacDermid quote was excellent.

"I think people sometimes underestimate the power of setting, in particular with the crime novel, because everybody knows murders are not solved the way we write about them in our books, it’s not how it happens. If we wrote about the reality it would be so boring no one would read it, so what we have to do is to persuade the reader to come with us on this journey of suspension of disbelief, and anything you can do to make your book feel more plausible helps you with that.

So if you write about place in a way that for someone who knows that place, that absolutely they’re there with you and you’ve got it right – the way people will read and think I know that café, I know that park, I’ve waited at that bus stop – if you get those details right then they trust you about everything else you’re telling them…

In order to take people on that journey of setting, you make your setting vivid, you make it rich, you make it part of the world of the book, and you use all the five senses as well, sight, sound, smell, touch, hearing, and taste."

This is an excellent quote for geographers and sense of place.

An excellent conference keynote.

Image: Ian Crisp

'A' Level Data Analysis StoryMap

Guildford - what would you investigate?

One of the things I will be doing in Guildford at the GA Conference in April next year is leading a fieldtrip for colleagues to explore some ideas developed in the book that I co-wrote with John Widdowson called 'Fieldwork through Enquiry', which is coming out in a 2nd edition in a few month's time I understand. 

It's been trailed in the latest GA Magazine and will hopefully be available to order soon from the GA Shop.

If you were taking some students to Guildford, what would you do with them? 

GCSE or NEA level, or perhaps at KS3

The RGS has a Clone Town resource based in Guildford.

What particular aspects of fieldwork would you like to trial if you were taking part in some CPD?

Population Pyramids made in Google Sheets

May be of interest to some as a technique to use.

Slow Ways Hack Day

Another initiative by Daniel Raven Ellison which we can get behind.

Free tickets available from Eventbrite.

More details here:

100 volunteers needed! Help create a network of 1,000+ walking routes connecting all of Great Britain's towns and cities - in just one day.


I'm a geographer, walker and campaigner. You can read more about my work and collaborations here. A few years ago, when planning a route between Salisbury and Winchester, I started to wonder...

What if there was a network of walking routes connecting all of Great Britain's towns and cities? And... why doesn't that exist already?

While there are thousands of miles of paths linking places across the country, there isn't a comprehensive network designed to help people walk off-road between all towns and cities. A breakthrough is needed.

Using existing footpaths, Slow Ways is a bold collaborative project to design a network of over 1,000 routes that can be used to inspire and guide walking between towns, cities and villages. People will be able to use it to walk between neighbouring settlements or to combine multiple Slow Way routes for long-distance journeys.

This is an important, positive and timely project. Walking can improve health and wellbeing, tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, save people money, improve our environment and bring joy to people's lives.

I've teamed up with Ordnance Survey who I collaborate with as a GetOutside Champion

The entire Slow Ways network will be published and made freely available via Ordnance Survey.

100 Volunteers, 1 Day, 1000+ routes!

I'm looking for 100 volunteers to create the first draft of a "Slow Ways" network, on one day, in just 10 hours.

Are you up for it? You'll need to:
  • be up for collaborating and sharing your efforts
  • aged 14+
  • be free from 10am to 8pm on February 1st
  • get yourself to Geovation in central London
  • be confident reading and using OS maps
  • use the OS maps platform (with guidance) and be OK with their terms and conditions
  • have a laptop you can work on

The Slow Ways hack day is being organised with support from the Kestrelman Trust. It is being held at Geovation (Ordnance Survey's innovation centre) and you'll be given lunch, dinner, snacks, tea, coffee and we'll have some drinks to celebrate at the end of the day too.

Everything we make will be made freely available online via OS maps . Whilst you'll own everything you create on the day, all volunteers need to be willing to share what’s created with the Slow Ways project too.

This is a unique opportunity to collaboratively create a beautiful, free and important new walking network for Great Britain. 

Who knows who or what it will inspire?

I do hope that you're inspired by this idea and ready to help bring it to life.

See you on February 1st for the #slowways hack day?

Dan Raven-Ellison

See you there!

The EU has declared a Climate Emergency

Report in 'The Guardian'

Young People's Climate and Nature Emergencies Poll

If you teach, or parent young people - or you are one yourself, please fill in this survey - the more respondents the better. Thanks in advance.

See the previous post for our new Geographers for Life @Geo4Life Twitter feed too, where we will be releasing the results of our work.

Climate and Nature Emergencies

Tonight, the Channel 4 News team have a special Climate Leaders Debate at 7pm.

Not all the leaders are quite as concerned about the climate emergency it seems, but our young people are.
What are their thoughts on the growing climate and nature emergencies facing our planet, not by the end of the century, but within the next few decades.
The UN report yesterday made it clear that warming is irreversible. 

I'm part of a group of Geographers who have come together under the name Geographers for Life. 
We have put together a poll which we would like to reach as many people as possible.

Follow us on our new Twitter feed @Geo4Life and share the link to the poll.

Please facilitate your students having the chance to answer it if possible over the next week. It only takes a couple of minutes.

#YouthClimatePoll #ClimateDebate

Google Earth Creative Tools

I posted about the new Google Earth Creation Tools earlier in the week.

These have been launched after extensive beta testing.

Three tutorial videos have been added to YouTube for those who want to take a look at how to make a tour before getting stuck in. Also here's another tip

Geography Fieldwork Unlocked - fresh from Australia

I follow a lot of Australian geography educators and organisations on social media.

There have been lots of connections betwen UK and Australian geographers over the years, with the work of the GA influencing the work of curriculum development. Our work on 'a different view' and colleagues such as Simon Catling and Professor David Lambert have spoken at the conferences of the teacher associations over the years, including AGTA and the GTAV. I've also used a number of resources in my teaching which originated there, including themes of flooding, wildfires and coastal management.
One of the teachers I worked with at the GA on projects: Paula Cooper also moved out there, as have quite a few former colleagues.
The AGTA website has details of recent conferences with downloads of sessions and keynotes which are excellent free resources. Their GeogSpace resource is worth exploring too.
ACARA curriculum reforms were also worth a look at the time and resources are still available to view.
AGTA have also been part of a group which put together a decadal plan for geography which is worth taking a look at for itsscope and conceptualisation of the subject's importance. (PDF download)

There is also an Institute of Australian Geographers Incorporated.

The Geography Teacher's Association of Victoria (GTAV) is another website worth looking at.
Their resources include a 3 module resource, freely available on the theme of Bushfires for the Primary phase.

One of the Australian educators I follow is Susan Caldis, who has held a number of roles, including the Vice President of the Australian Geography Teachers' Association.  
She was also a former President of the Geography Teachers' Association of New South Wales - their journals can be read online.
Susan is currently completing a PhD and has also visited Singapore recently on their Outstanding Educator programme.
Geography Fieldwork UnlockedCheck out the Twitter feed @Austgeog for more too.

Sue has very kindly agreed a book swap.
In return for a copy of the 2nd edition of Fieldwork through Enquiry, which should be available from the GA Shop before Christmas (the ideal stocking filler perhaps), she posted me a copy of a new book published by AGTA and written by a group of educators, coordinated by Grant Kleeman, and released earlier this year.

It was written to connect with the Australian Geography curriculum, from Primary up to Year 10, giving ideas for fieldwork and is called 'Geography Fieldwork Unlocked'. Grant Kleeman is the coordinating author, but there are contributions from a number of other geographers, including Susan.

Copies can be ordered from the AGTA website using a Google Form.

Here's a description of the book from the AGTA website

Geography Fieldwork Unlocked features 34 inquiry-based fieldwork activities developed by a team of experienced Geography educators.
Key features:
  • Section 1 of the book introduces the reader to inquiry-based fieldwork. It provides guidance in developing fieldwork action plans, research methodologies, and data collection tools and approaches as well as guidance on the presentation and communication of fieldwork findings.
  • Section 2 features nine fieldwork activities for primary students (Years F/K–6). Each of these activities has been designed to develop students’ conceptual understanding and the skills associated with inquiry-based learning.
  • Section 3 showcases 25 fieldwork activities aligned to the topics studied by students in Years 7–10.
  • Each fieldwork activity is framed by one or more inquiry questions. They also feature: a statement of expected learning; a list of the equipment needed to successfully complete each fieldwork activity; a short introduction; background information that contextualises student learning; pre-fieldwork activities; and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to complete each fieldwork task.
Cost: $59.95

Alongside the Fieldwork book, there are two others in the UNLOCKED series, as shown here.

The book arrived earlier in the week, and is already providing some ideas for a forthcoming couple of events: one with the ITE colleagues at Homerton College, Cambridge and one at the GA Conference in April next year.
Each chapter provides a context and ideas for exploring a particular theme, with early sections introducing an enquiry plan structure, action planning and methodologies. It is up to date, with ideas on using apps and drones.

The main body of the book provides ideas for different age groups, and includes a range of strategies and tools, including Google Earth, pictorial maps,

New and interesting ideas include explorations of Healthy Habitats, Urban waterways, place liveability and shared space. I liked the coastal ideas, which moved on from familiar wave investigations towards an investigation into the beach as a social space - this could work equally well in urban situations. I learned about the previous rivalries between the 'Rockers' and the 'Surfies' in the 1960s (similar to Mods and Rockers at Brighton I guess). A look at Food Waste is not something I had thought of previously, but would make sense as a possible NEA title as well, perhaps connecting with an interesting chapter on investigating restaurant cultures. There's also a look at homelessness, something I've discussed as a possible future project.

Some of the contexts have an Australian focus of course, most of which would translate into the UK, although others like the Aboriginal sense of space, or the bushfire enquiry might be more difficult. However, the bushfire enquiry includes images and ideas for further research which mean that with the aid of BOM: the Australian Bureau of Metorology site, an interesting project for students to track bushfire outbreaks could be developed.
Some useful resources can be seen on BOM here.

A final Australian connection would be with Tony Binns, a former GA President, whose entry on the GA Presidents blog I've started writing with his help.
He is apparently planning to be at the GA Conference next year to do a session, so will be good to meet up in person.

Australia has also been in the news today in my feed for a number of stories which relate to the climate emergency.

A shortage of drinkable water is becoming evident with changing rainfall patterns no longer replenishing groundwater in the same way, and demand increasing.

The bushfires are affecting air quality in Sydney and this piece in the Sydney Morning Herald makes it clear that they are being made worse by climate change.

Weapons of Reason - Volume 7

I've been using my copies of Weapons of Reason since Volume 1 came out around 5 years ago, on the theme of the Arctic. I was using it today, to prepare for some work on Superpowers in the Arctic.

Image result for weapons of reason arctic

The previous issues can be read on Medium.

Link to Issue 1 on the Arctic is here for example.

Links to the other issues while I'm at it.

Issue 2: Megacities
Issue 3: The Ageing Issue
Issue 4: The Power Issue
Issue 5: The Food Issue - an excellent one this one in particular
Issue 6: The AI Issue

And finally, in just over a week it's time for Volume 7 to be published.
Here's the front cover, which is on the theme of Inequality

GeoCapabilities - Richard Bustin's book is now down in price

... and for a bargain price, saving £55....

I already had access to an e-version of the booklet, but have ordered my own copy of the book in hardback, so it can join my CPD library and inspiration shelf....

Digimap for Schools v2.0

This video explores some of the new features in version 2 of the essential Digimap for Schools service. Take a look and see what's changed.
New subscribers will have access to this version of the service, and any subscriptions that end will be automatically renewed onto the new service from now on.

I had a chance to have a sneak peek and play and the new additions really add an extra dimension to the service including basic mapping of the whole globe, a new Postcodes option and changed tool interface which works nicely.

I will be sharing some new resources and ideas in the coming months as we move into 2020, and producing a few of them for adding to the EDINA website. It may be worth revisiting some of the existing resources to see how they might now be enhanced with the new functionality.

Prisoners of Geography

I've had a delivery of new books: the 'expurgated' version of 'Prisoners of Geography'.

It takes some of the big ideas from the original best-selling book and turns them into stories and illustrations which are more accessible for younger readers. More to come on how I use them as they get used by students.

Some notes are available from the link.

Gaia Vince - Anthropocene Stories

Danny Dorling Podcast

Essential listening - get hold of a copy of 'The 32 Stops' as well...

The challenge is real... help us get to 1000 followers

In addition to my usual @GeoBlogs Twitter feed, I also help run the feed for the Geographical Association's Secondary Phase Committee, which I served on for many years, latterly as Secretary. This can be found at @GA_SPC

This feed has just under 950 followers at the moment.

Another GA Committee also has a Twitter feed: it's the Early Years and Primary Phase Committe @EYPPC_GA

This has around 920 followers at the moment.

Earlier today, the Early Years colleagues asked for help reaching 1000 followers and I suggested we could race them.

The challenge is on!

Of course if you don't follow either of those accounts you know what to do....

Floating House

Extinction Rebellion staged an art work intervention a few weekends ago in London.

What sort of similar events might students be able to think of to reflect other growing issues with the climate crisis?

Climate Change Curriculum from ThoughtBox

ThoughtBox has produced a whole series of resources, which are shared on a subscription basis.

Yesterday they launched their free Climate Crisis Curriculum for the climate-strike generation. Register details and you get the link and password to access the materials.

LESSON 1 | IMMERSE | Our Changing Climate
Engaging with some of the realities of climate change, introducing the science and exploring ‘Deep Time’

LESSON 2 | UNDERSTAND | Cause and Effect
Exploring cause & effect of climate change and understanding the influence of human activities.

LESSON 3 | PERSPECTIVES | The Ripple Effects
Empathising with the impact of climate change in different communities, contexts and environments.

LESSON 4 | EMPOWER | Be the Change
Connecting with global changemakers and exploring emotional responses to climate change, learning to move from anxiety to empowerment.

There are 4 modules, each with resources and supporting materials as well as lesson plans.

I haven't had a close look at them yet, but will be doing so shortly, as there are other Climate Change related activities planned for 2020.


Thanks to Derek Robertson for the tipoff to this Radio 4 site.
It features explorations of 6 things we are running out of.


Stillicide is a 12 part story about a future of water scarcity, and is connected with the project.

ANPR and littering

Came across this idea earlier tonight and now it's made it into the papers.
Interesting idea for cutting down on littering. There's a narrow country road I take on the way to and from work, and there are often brown McDonalds bags dumped there (along with other fly tipped waste sadly).

Classics from NJ

I've been downloading some of the classic work from Noel Jenkins as it's unlikely, having left teaching for a more exciting life, that any more will be added, and eventually the site will disappear inevitably.

The Web Archive will have captured it, but some of the resources will disappear.

They are awesome.
There may well be a whole generation who will not know the work that Noel did, so here is a link for you.
Check out Wellington Stories for a flavour of the work. One of my favourite ever geography interventions.

Climate Emergency - word of the year

The word of 2019

Defined as 

“a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it”

Shackleton Online

A new area of the Scott Polar Research Institute site. One of the places I always try to pop into when in Cambridge.

Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) participated in four expeditions to the Antarctic during the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration, leading three of them. He was an impressive leader, known for his bravery and ability to build camaraderie in his crews.
The Shackleton Online resource is a space where you can find out more about Shackleton’s expeditions, crew mates, the places they travelled to, and the exceptional collections of papers, photographs and objects related to Shackleton held by the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Shackleton Online features

New poetry prize announced by SImon Armitage

Image result for all points north armitage"I’ve always written poems about the area where I live, and my interests in things like the Antarctic and the Arctic and geography generally, all those subject matters are shaded now by the environmental situation." 

Simon Armitage is a geographer, and the Poet Laureate. He grew up near Huddersfield, where I studied for my degree.
His job carries a salary of £5000, and he has announced a new Poetry prize called the Laurel Prize for works on the theme of the environment and climate change.

He has a lot of geographical credentials.

  • He produced an excellent book around a visit to Iceland with Glyn Maxwell, following an early journey by W H Auden.
  • He created some excellent radio programmes with a geographical theme, including one on the volcanic island of Surtsey
  • His book 'All Points North' explored conceptions of the north.
  • He has produced two books describing long distance footpaths and his experiences of the Pennine Way and the SW Coastal Path.
  • He recently published a poem 'Ark' for the launch of the research ship Sir David Attenborough
The first prize, which will be awarded on 23 May 2020 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, somewhere I know well, will be judged by Armitage, nature writer Robert Macfarlane and the poet Moniza Alvi.

Google Earth Creative Tools - now live!

For some months now, thanks to an invite from Richard Allaway, I've been part of a group of beta testers for some new creative tools on Google Earth on Chrome.

The announcement is here.

Today is launch day and we have been given the news to share that these tools exist, and also some stories that we may have been working on.

Google wants Earth to become a “storytelling canvas” that lets you “create a map or story about the places that matter to you.” These creation tools are accessed by clicking the new “Projects” tab in the sidebar and creating one.
After adding a location by search or dragging a pin, you can attach images, text, videos, and customize other properties, including colors, pins, and choosing the right 3D view to frame. In addition to places, you can draw lines, shapes, and Street View.
All work is saved to Google Drive and supports standard collaboration. Once complete, there is a “Present” view that flies you from location-to-location while displaying all your notes on top. In addition to the web, the final project is available on mobile and tablet devices with the Google Earth app for Android or iOS.

I have started to produce a story on South Georgia for my first attempt, as part of a resource that I am producing for the South Georgia Heritage Trust. This has been blogged about elsewhere.

Here's the link to the story so far.

The tools produce a similar outcome to that produced with ESRI StoryMaps, but with variations in imagery and functionality of course. The two tools aren't necessarily in competition and it remains to you to consider.

Check Richard Allaway's examples here: revising extreme environments.

Cities Skyline: the Board Game

Cities Skylines has already existed as a computer game for some time - I was fortunate enough to win a copy of the game in a competition held by the Royal Geographical Society.
It requires a very fast processor and lots of memory, and my iMac struggled to play it smoothly.

It is now a board game. 
A review of it is here. May be of interest to those who like board games, and collaborative play.

GeogEd Conference at UWE - a reminder

Geography Education Conference takes place on the 16th of December.
I would very much like to have attended this, but have a previous event which I will be involved in.
Click the link in the tweet to see the excellent programme, featuring some of my favourite geographers.

Tickets are very cheap.

The Makara Beach project

An interesting beach project in New Zealand passed to me by Simon Hathaway.

What do you think about the approaches to dealing with sea level rise and climate change?
Are they all appropriate?

PGCE 1986-7

I completed my PGCE at Hull University in 1986-7. I passed with distinction, but I don't like to mention it...

My tutor was Vincent Tidswell, in his final year as tutor before retiring.
There will be more about this in due course on the GA Presidents blog.

Here's a resource from my recent trawl through my Main Method folder...

Severn - source to mouth

This is an excellent drone video made over a period of time by Mr. Bowater.

Impressive for those doing AQA GCSE, but also useful for others using this river as their Case Study, or for comparison with another UK river they may be studying e.g. the Wye also starts from the same summit: Plynlimon.

Paul Turner's Climate Breakdown Scheme

Paul has now shared a video explaining his thinking behind his unit on Climate Breakdown, which can be accessed here.
Wonderful work as always from Paul.

Consumption in the Digital Age

An excellent piece on Fashion Revolution's site.

It describes an MA thesis by Bronwyn Seier on the nature of social media and consumption, particularly with regards to how Identities are created, and the role of fashion in this, particularly with Instagram.

I've been exploring a number of similar themes for years with students since my earlier work with Ian Cook and Eeva K from Follow the Things.

We buy more when we go online. I can 100% say that I have bought lots of additional books having seen them described by people on Twitter.

I'd love to read more of this work.

Ordnance Survey Champions - applications now open

Just over two years ago, I put in an application to be an
  Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion as part of the second batch of applications.
There were around 500 people who wanted to take part in the scheme.
Here's my post from January 2018, when I was able to announce the news ahead of a first meeting with my fellow Champions which included a lot of outdoorsy folks who did a great deal of travelling, alongside athletes and authors, Instagram influencers, and Ben Fogle.

My friend and Mission:Explore colleague Dan Raven Ellison was also selected to be part of the group, as he had also applied, without me knowing.

The latest round of applications is now OPEN and I would anticipate a record number of applications, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't apply as you have to be in it to win it. You'll need to show a commitment to time spent outside, and encouraging others to spend time outside, and in return you can be part of a rapidly growing campaign which has had numerous awards and join a supportive community of OS brand ambassadors who love maps and feeling the elements on their face - come rain or shine.

More to come later as the deadline approaches. Have a think about whether you would like to challenge yourself and get plenty of additional benefits in return. 

Pat Metheny - new music

Very much looking forward to this, having seen Pat play live with these musicians... out in 2020, and the cover is excellent.

Here's the first track that's been released.

We will remember them...

Image Over to Ely Cathedral yesterday for another poignant Remembrance service. A reminder of my Great Grandfather's name on Tyne Cot, as taken for me by Paul Berry.


OS GetOutside Champions - a chance to join the initiative

Keep an eye out in the next few days for a chance for you to be part of the next group of people who will be championing the outdoors along with the Ordnance Survey.

I've really enjoyed my two years being part of the Champions group, and am debating whether I should apply to continue (which I'd really enjoy) or step down to allow a new face to join the GetOutside team. There will no doubt be a record number of applications for this oppportunity.

I'll share the details when they are launched.

Image result for getoutside champions

The Great Flood

If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water
Philip Larkin

This week, communities in South Yorkshire have once again been hit by flooding after torrential rainfall led to rivers overflowing and rainfall entering homes in Rotherham, Sheffield, Doncaster and other places.
I've been exploring images and stories from many familiar places in those towns and cities.

This book by Edward Platt explores our relationship with flooding. 
I started reading it the day before the flooding happened.

I've been storing some images from the most recent flood onto my Pinterest account in a folder.

A review from the New Statesman.

Some details of the book are here.

You can listen to five extracts from the book on the Radio 4 website, as it has been a recent Book of the Week.

Some thoughts from an interview with the author.

GA and DEFRA - new resources

A new set of resources produced by the GA in association with DEFRA is now available.

It's good to see that the GA and the DEFRA are still working together. One of the many jobs I had when I was with the GA was to attend meetings of a group of organisations, brought together by, and hosted at DEFRA HQ along from Tate Bankside

Here's a description of the resources for you.

Our natural environment is something we often take for granted, and its intrinsic and subtle values are often overlooked. The way we treat our environment has become a ‘hot topic’, especially amongst young people, who are rising up to have their voices heard and take action to secure the  environment’s future protection. To improve the natural environment at scale, many more people need to understand it and help protect it. As such, it is critical that the natural environment, and the way that humans interact with it, is studied across all key stages.
Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP), published in January 2018, sets out the ambition to hand over our environment to the next generation in a better condition than when we inherited it. The 25YEP announced 2019 as a Year of Green Action to  make it easier for people to get involved in improving the natural world and spread the word about environmental issues. This is providing a focal point for organisations, individuals, communities and businesses to learn more about their environmental impact and take action to reduce it. The Year of Green Action is ‘an opportunity for everyone to get involved and enthused about restoring nature…with all having a part to play’.
The 25YEP put children and young people at the heart of the Year of Green Action, to help them play an active part in decision-making for their future. The #iwill campaign, of which government is a partner is encouraging more young people to take social action for the environment.
Schools and geography teaching play a vital role in engaging children and young people with the natural environment. At Key Stages 1-3, students are expected to make observations and experience fieldwork in human and physical environments in order to understand features, and how human activity is both reliant upon natural systems and influences these systems, processes and resources. Each of the reformed GCSE specifications have an expectation that students consider environmental services and ecosystem functioning, how resources are consumed, how humans change ecosystems, and sustainability. At Key Stage 5, students are required to understand how human activity influences landforms over time, changing places, environmental management, geopolitics of resources and global governance, and how natural cycles influence resource security.
The Resources
These GA resources, produced with support from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), aim to encourage young people to explore, understand and spend time in the natural environment, both locally and further afield.

More Geography Teachers wanted...

We need more folks to consider joining the profession, partly as old folks like me come towards retirement but also as there are more young geographers who need inspiring. One option is to apply for the RGS-IBG Scholarship programme.

Details here:

Jersey SMP

Going to take a closer look at this. 

Useful as a nice little self-contained case study of coastal management on an island, which is a self contained unit - often we consider cells which are impacted by those updrift or downdrift of them, or where sea defences impact on the processes along a particular stretch.

Flooding in South Yorkshire

There were memories here of previous flooding that has affected these cities, such as in 2007.
Familiar locations flooded and water collecting in well known spots.
Been collecting images and stories this morning and filing them away on Pinterest and other places.

As it happens, I've also started reading this book this week.
Image result for platt flooding

Uncovering new lands

One phenomenon which was always going to happen as the ice retreated from the Arctic, was that areas that were assumed to be either all land or all sea were going to turn out to be ice covered archipelagos and new islands.

The Russians have announced the 'discovery' of five new islands in the Arctic.

There will be many more to come.
CNN has more on this story.

Image: Val Vannet - Greenland 'Iceberg Alley'