EarthView team bios, guidelines, and more.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ahern Return

42° 4' 27" N
71° 14' 18" W

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The official postcards of Project EarthView feature a photograph that looks like we took students to outer space somewhere -- really is just the Ahern gym with some photo editing. Of the 30,000 students who have experience EarthView with us, we will have reached close to a thousand at this one school, which we visit for the fourth time this year.

Although we are usually not able to play videos during our school visits, we are going to start featuring on this blog a few videos that we find educational, entertaining and -- above all -- geographic. The first example is The Alphabet of Nations, a peppy song from They Might Be Giants, a rock band that has recorded many quirky educational songs. The song does not list all the countries of the word -- just 24 of them. W and X are left out, to the consternation of those who would include the West Bank.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Braintree East Middle School -- Sept 23

42º 13' 14" N
70º 59' 20" W

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The EarthView team is pleased to be returning to the town of Braintree, this time to East Middle School, after a wonderful visit to South Middle School last week.

Braintree is located south of Boston; the name is a bit puzzling, but even odder to newcomers in the region is the phrase "Braintree split," which is not a dessert item, but rather a very important division in the regional highway system. Coming south from Boston, drivers "split" toward Cape Cod or toward the rest of the country, at an often congested intersection in Braintree.

The town of Braintree gets its name from a town in England; we do not yet know the story of how that town got its name or what it means, exactly. Looking to the town seal for a clue, we are still more mystified. This summer, some controversy has surrounded the color of the seal and the shape of the "incorporated" ribbon, but we are still hoping to find out why an arm and sword are featured, and why it looks like someone is swimming with a sword. 

We are hoping that an East Middle School student can provide some clues for us....

Thank Catarina!

The EarthView team is fond of its coffee -- particulary fair-trade, organic coffee that is often brewed by team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan before a day's outing. In the Hayes-Bohanan household, we think about where our coffee comes from, and whenever someone thanks us for a cup of coffee, we say, "Thank the farmers!" In the case of the coffee the team is traveling on today, we can say, "Thank Catarina" because of a special coffee company called Coffee CSA, which is a coffee company in the United States that is owned cooperatively by coffee farmers all over the world.

Today's coffee was produced by Catarina Yac, a woman in southwest Guatemala who farms coffee on three acres in the region of Santa Clara Laguna. Her farm is located at 15.0848967º N and 91.9227488º W. Noting that these coordinates are in decimal (rather than degree-minute-second) form, we can use them to find out how far the coffee is from its farm today.

Try answering the following questions about Catarina's coffee:

1. How big is her farm, compared to the East Middle School campus?
2. How many degrees of latitude is East Middle from her farm? What direction?
3. How many degrees longitude is East Middle from her farm? What direction?
4. How many miles or kilometers away is the farm?
5. How far is the farm from the nearest road (see the Google Maps link on Catarina's web page)? The nearest city? The Pacific Ocean?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

EarthView on International Day of Peace

Thirty years ago, the nations of the world -- through the United Nations General Assembly -- voted to designate September 21 of each year as the International Day of Peace. For the past seven years, the day has been celebrated in EarthView's home base of Bridgewater. The recognition of the day has included religious and educational organizations in vigils, parades, concerts, and the annual rededication of a multi-lingual Peace Pole near the center of the town.

The pole is located between the First Parish Church (41° 59' 18" N; 70° 58' 26" W) and the University campus, and carries the message "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in about a dozen languages, each chosen because of particular connection to the community and region. Native speakers of the languages often assist in the ceremony.

Since the Geography Department at Bridgewater State University (then College) acquired EarthView in 2008, the giant globe has also been part of the festivities, being placed on a platform above the pews in the enormous and historic sanctuary of First Parish Church, Unitarian-Universalist. People marveled at the globe, which was a tremendous reminder of the importance of cooperation on a planet that all humans share and of the fact that the planet did not originally come with political boundaries. Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan were often on hand to answer questions about EarthView and the planet itself. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan even spent an entire night under EarthView's shadow!
Photo: Tony Esposito
Many visitors expressed a desire, however, to enter EarthView, which after all was designed specifically for this purpose. The entire EarthView Team therefore worked with the Peace Celebration Committee to set up EarthView as part of a five-day series of events. On Wednesday morning, therefore, the actual day designated by the United Nations, EarthView was set up in the Kelly Gym at BSU for the general public to view it, and even to enter it. Several university staff members who had not previously seen EarthView were delighted to have the opportunity, as were about a dozen students in a local home-schooling network.

Track the 50/50 team.
EarthView also had a very special visit from the three remarkable members of Project 50/50, who have dedicated themselves to a lives of full-time service to others. Each week, the team visits a different state of the U.S. to raise awareness of local human needs, and to assist directly in addressing those needs. In this way, Shay, Shane, Rob, and their border collie Zuzu are learning geography every day, and putting that learning to use in the service of others.

Friday, September 16, 2011

South Middle School, Braintree -- Sept 16

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EarthView seen through window in South Middle School gymnasium.
Photo credit: Ashley Costa.

The EarthView team was happy to be returning to South Middle School in Braintree to open the new season of programs. We look forward to an exciting new year with two new "EarthView Wranglers" -- BSU geography majors Ashley Costa and Brigitta Hart have volunteered occasionally with EarthView and are now going to be a regular part of the team.

We opened this year on the 16th of September, known for the "Grito de Dolores" -- a famous scream that declared the independence of Mexico from Spain in 1810.

Dr. Domingo discusses Africa with a class, while the
Globe Lady (not shown) teaches inside EarthView.
EarthView team members learn as much as we teach,
and we bring an atlas along!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

EarthView at WSU

The EarthView team -- with new EarthView Wrangler Ashley Costa -- is proud to be helping our sister university kick off a very exciting series of events. Globalization is the theme for the first "Themester" at Worcester State University, called Worcester in the World. Throughout the semester, courses, projects and special events will be organized around that theme. Dr. Robert Brooks, WSU Professor of Criminal Justice, learned of EarthView as he was planning the semester's programs, and decided it would be perfect for opening day. Of course, we agreed!

Team member James Hayes-Bohanan will be returning to WSU on October 12 to present The World in a Coffee Cup as part of the Themester.