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Monday, January 26, 2015

Notre Dame Academy, Hingham -- January 23

42° 11' 05" N
70° 53' 01" W

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We began a new EarthView season with a wonderful visit to Notre Dame Academy, where climate change and its implications have been a particular focus this year. NDA's Susan Pratt had seen EarthView at a climate-change workshop for teachers last year, and knew that it would be the perfect complement to the curriculum she developed.
Throughout the day, we used EarthView to explore ideas that have been discussed in science and geography classes this year. It was especially useful for understanding the scale of the oceans and atmosphere -- resources that are seemingly vast but also quite thin compared to the planet itself.

We also used the Academy's smart cart to share a number of online resources that Ms. Pratt and the other teachers could explore in coming days. These include a climate-change overview, the geography of coffee, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's explorations of Rondônia Brazil, and the wedding of the waters, where the Rio Solimões and Rio Negro come together to form the Amazon River.

In some groups, we also spoke a bit about the geography of chocolate, which is made from cacao. We mentioned that although coffee originated in Africa, about half of it is now produced in Latin America and although chocolate originated in Central America (or perhaps Peru), the vast majority of it is produced in western Africa. In fact, Ivory Coast is the major producer, and most people there have never had chocolate. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan promised to share this video, of cacao farmers tasting chocolate for the first time!

Dr. Hayes-Bohanan maintains an environmental geography blog that is primarily for university students and other adult learners, but it has many articles on climate change in general and climate justice in particular that may be of interest to NDA students.

We look forward to many more visits to Notre Dame Academy.