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Thursday, October 2, 2014

North Andover -- October 2-3

42° 41' 36" N
71° 07' 15" W
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The EarthView team is delighted to return to North Andover Middle School for the sixth annual Family Geography Night. Our daytime program complements the NAMS geography program, which is among the strongest in the state. During the evening, EarthView is just one part of a rich variety of geography experiences for NAMS students to enjoy with their families. See previous North Andover blog posts for much more about the geography of this community and about this award-winning annual event.

As with all of our EarthView visits, we talked about a lot of different aspects of physical and human geography. We invite students and families to search or browse this blog to find additional resources on many of them. We also invite questions, using the "comments" link below.

One thing we pointed out to many of the visitors was recent news about the shrinking of the Aral Sea. Once the fourth-largest lake in the world, it was dramatically depleted for cotton production, so that cargo ships along its former shorelines now lay on their side in the desert. 

The original shoreline of the Aral Sea is outlined on the now mostly-dry lakebed in this 2013 satellite image. Note the bar scale in the southeast corner of the image: 50km = 31 miles.
From the NASA Earth Observatory Shrinking Aral Sea essay and image collection.
Among the special guests this year were several members of the North Andover School Committee and State Representative Diana DiZoglio, who has attended in previous years and who is one of many sponsors of a bill to promote geography education throughout the state. We also had a special visit from WBZ news anchor Paula Ebben, who takes a special interest in education. After her report on Family Geography Night airs on Tuesday, October 7, we will update this post to include a link to the web version.

News anchor Paula Ebben with Family Geography Night leader Robert Poirier.
On the second day of our visit, Michelle LeBlanc visited from the Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library. She is the education director for the center, which houses one of New England's most extraordinary map collections. It is a place every student of geography should visit!


During our visit, part of the team was at a nearby cafe, where our dramatically geographic flag ties drew the attention of a fellow diner. For his benefit and those of the many students who asked, we are reposting a link to our online tie puzzles, which includes information on purchasing one of the ties. Lately, Dr. Domingo has also added some very spiffy globe socks to his wardrobe.

That fellow diner said something very meaningful as we discussed the importance of geographic education:

If we don't have a global view, all we can do is yell and scream at each other.

With a bit more understanding of the world around us -- near and far -- we can do much better than that!

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