EarthView team bios, guidelines, and more.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Citizens for Citizens After School Program, BSU- April 24th

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Citizens for Citizens

Today the EarthView team is pleased to welcome the Citizens for Citizens Inc, after school program from Fall River, MA to Bridgewater State University!

Citizens for Citizens Inc. provides a safe environment and educational after school care to the children of the greater Fall River area who are in grades K-8. 

Celebrate Earth Day!
Today's visit falls upon the Friday after Earth Day! Earth day is a day when the people of 192 countries come together to participate in worldwide events that promote environmental protection. Earth day was first celebrated on April 22nd, 1970 and has been celebrated on that day ever since. Currently, it is coordinated by the Earth Day Network.

For Earth Day this year, the NSA (National Security Administration) debuted a new Mascot, a friendly recycling bin named Dunk. While, Dunk was specifically created for the school children in Maryland, we can all look to Dunk for tips on recycling! 

While looking for some fun Earth Day activities, we discovered an interactive Footprint Calculator run by the Earth Day Network that shows you what ecological impact that you have on the world. EarthView wrangler, Eva, was surprised by the impact that she has on the Earth when she tries her hardest to recycle and live sustainably, these were her results:

Ecological Footprint by the Earth Day Network

If you would like to learn what your ecological footprint is, you can go here.

Just in time for our journey inside the earth, National Geographic has shared a lesson about what the inside of the Earth is really like!

Some other fun activities for Earth Day can be found on the following websites:
Teacher Vision:
Earth Day Network:

We hope that the Citizens for Citizens after school program students enjoyed their visit to Bridgewater State University and for seeing our EarthView globe! Happy Earth Day! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Arlington, Virginia- April 20th

38° 52' 10" N
77° 05' 51" W
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The Earthview team is happy to be returning to Arlington Public Schools to start off Earth Week! Our visit this year is to Thomas Jefferson Middle School on South Old Glebe Road. The road passes through this historic city, and is actually named for the Glebe House, where Dr. Hayes-Bohanan remembers visiting his great-aunt as a child.

The Jefferson School is an ideal location for an EarthView visit. Not only is it sponsoring a variety of exciting events for Earth Week, it is a school that has dedicated itself to global education through the adoption of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program.

Our previous visit was in April of 2010 when Dr. Hayes-Bohanan and Dr. Domingo visited Long Branch Elementary School, which is located at 38° 52' 28" N, 77° 05' 23" W. Knowing the absolute location of each school allows us to compare their relative locations. Which is farther north and which is farther west? By how much?

Our previous visit coincided with the national meeting of the Association of American Geographers, which is headquartered in nearby Washington, DC and which was meeting in the nation's capital that year. This year's visit also coincides with the annual meeting of the AAG, which is being held in Chicago, Illinois this year. Aside from the EarthView team, many faculty members and students from Bridgewater State University are in Chicago with thousands of other geographers this week.

Dr. James Minor
At today's visit, we will have a special guest visiting us, Dr. James T. Minor, The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education of the US Department of Education. Before working for the DOE, Dr. Minor worked as the Senior Program Officer and Director of Higher Education Programs for  the Southern Education Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia.

We are thankful to Sarah Beaton of the U.S. Department of Education and Patrick Murphy, superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, for their enthusiasm for geography as a 21st-century field of study, and for arranging this visit. We are also grateful to Jefferson Middle School leaders Keisha Boggan and Ellen Smith for hosting this event.

While we are near to the Nation's Capital, we invite friends of geography to support the "Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act" that National Geographic, AAG, and affiliated Alliances throughout the United States have been working on for years. Our nation has no dedicated federal funding to advance geography education. As a result of this, we are facing a crisis in geographic literacy which is jeopardizing our global competitiveness, our position of diplomatic leadership and much more. This act would authorize grants to universities and nonprofit organizations for programs to expand geographic literacy among American students and improve the teaching of geography at the K-12 level.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blanchard Memorial School, Boxboro- April 17th

42° 28' 56" N
71° 30' 21" W
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The EarthView team is excited to be visiting Blanchard Memorial School in Boxboro for the first time today! Our visit today is a long way from home, about 62 miles from BSU but we have traveled much farther before into Middlesex County, like our visit to Tewksbury back in March. 

While the town name is officially spelled Boxborough, it is spelled 'Boxboro' on many highway signs and on official documents, making both spellings of the word correct. This is much like quite a few towns in Massachusetts that end in the word "borough", which means, "an incorporated municipality smaller then a city", including Foxborough (Foxboro), Middleborough (Middleboro) and Marlborough (Marlboro). 

Some fun facts about Boxboro are that as of the 2010 census, only 4,996 people lived in town. In comparison, that is roughly half of the enrolled undergraduates at Bridgewater State University! Boxboro is home to only one elementary school, the one that we are visiting today! Blanchard Memorial is now a part of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District and students who enter the 7th grade and beyond attend school in nearby Acton. The town is also home to a glacial esker that is over 1 mile in length and is located at the Beaver Valley Preserve

Over the weekend, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan was listening to NPR and he happened to hear of something that we would all be interested in! He heard a story of the island, Zanzibar, and the spices that are produced there. 

Zanzibar Island

Zanzibar island is also known as "Spice Island" because it sits in the crosswind of the ancient Eastern Trade Route between Asia and Europe and became a plantation for the growing of spices. Today, it is a large producer of Vanilla, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. 

Vanilla Orchid

When listening to the report on Zanzibar, we learned some interesting thing such as how finicky the Vanilla Orchid is! The Orchid only flowers once a year and the farmers have to pollinate each flower by hand. If the flower is not pollinated by noon that same day then it dies. This is why pure vanilla is so expensive because it takes a lot of work to make, so we are more apt to find the synthetic (artificial) variety in our local stores. 

Cinnamon Tree

Another interesting thing to note is that the laurel tree that Cinnamon grows on has multiple uses! Not only does it produce the cinnamon that we love to put on our toast, the roots are good for colds as they offer a taste that has hints of eucalyptus, sweet basil and menthol. All things that are good ways to treat the common cold and flu!

We hope you enjoyed learning about these things as much as we did and we hope that the students of Blanchard Memorial enjoyed EarthView's visit! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School, Johnston, RI- April 10th

41° 49' 47" N
71° 30' 07" W
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The EarthView team is pleased to be visiting Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School in Johnston, Rhode Island for the very first time! Our visit today is a long way from our visit on Wednesday which was in Winchester, Massachusetts, some 65 miles North of Johnston, RI. While we have taken EarthView to Rhode Island College in Providence for an event, we have never visited a middle school in the area and we are excited that this is our first! 

Some fun facts about Johnston are that it was once part of Providence until it separated in 1758 and became incorporated on March 6th, 1759. The town was named after the colonial Attorney General, Augustus Johnston  and about 28,800 people currently reside there. 

In preparation for today's visit, we learned that the Social Studies classes are currently focusing on the geography of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. We have decided to include some maps and handy websites if you are interested to learn more about these places!
Ancient Egypt Maps

On the Discovering Egypt website, we found a very nifty hieroglyph typewriter where you can write just about anything in hieroglyphs, the ancient form of Egyptian writing.  

                                                   Can you figure out what this says? 
                                                                            (It says EarthView)

If you would like to discover the art of hieroglyphic writing, visit here!

Ancient Greece

                   A lot of information on Ancient Greece to be found at this website here!

Ancient Rome
What sea is in the middle of these lands? Hint: its name means "in the middle of the land."

And last but certainly not least, there is a lot of fun information to be found here on Ancient Rome! 

We hope that you enjoy learning more about these historic, ancient places! 


On a very different part of the planet, President Barack Obama has been traveling this week. Yesterday, he visited a meeting of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community, in Jamaica. This is a group of 20 countries in and near the Caribbean Sea. Because each country has a small economy, they are part of a common market to buy and sell goods more easily.

Today he is in Panama for a much bigger meeting known as the Summit of the Americas. For the first time in 50 years, the president of the United States will be in the same room as the president of Cuba. Look for plenty of photographs of President Obama and President Raul Castro in the news this weekend.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Winchester Geography Night- April 8th

42° 27' 01" N
71° 08' 05" W
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The EarthView team is pleased to be in Winchester for McCall Middle School's Family Geography Night! While this is our first ever time at the Geography Night, we have been to McCall Middle, exactly 4 years ago on April 8th, 2011. 

When we first visited the school, Bridgewater State University was known as Bridgewater State College and our first blog post about the school can be found in our archive on our old web address. 

Tonight's event will be an exciting one with many activities for the students of McCall and their families! While it is an informal move up night where the seventh grade Geography students host the incoming sixth graders, (current fifth graders), it is open to the public. 

Tonight's event will feature geography games where you can test your knowledge, the National Geographic Floor Map of Africa, a performance by the Japanese Taiko Drummers Genki Spark and of course our very own EarthView Globe!

We hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Howe Manning Elementary, Middleton- April 3rd

42° 35' 47" N
71° 00' 51" W 
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The Earthview team is happy to be back visiting Howe Manning Elementary School in Middleton for the third year in a row! The blog post for our first visit to the school back in 2012 described a little about the town and you can find that by going here

In case you missed the update from last week's post on the Geography Bee, Massachusetts finally has a female to represent our state in the National Geography Bee. Lucy Chae, a 7th grader from Charles E. Brown School in Newton, was the winner of last week's Bee and the first female winner from our state in the Bee's 27 years! 

The runners up were Michael Izdal of Wilson Middle School in Natick and Markus Elbert of Oak Hill Middle School  in Newton. It seems that Newton is doing something right in regards to  Geography Education -- the winner and a runner up reside and attend school there. The EarthView Team wishes Lucy Chae good luck at the National Competition . It will take place in Washington, D.C. from May 11th through the 13th and we are hoping for her to bring back a win much like Plainville native Sarthwick Karnick did at the 2013 competition. 

Today's visit brings us on Good Friday, the Chrstian holiday which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and is part of the holiest week in the Christian faith which ends with the celebration of Easter on Sunday. Today is also the start of Passover in the Jewish faith. Passover is an-eight day festival that commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. 

Today's visit also marks the anniversary of many geographically significant events in  history, such as:
In 1860: The Pony Express debuts giving way to the modern era of mail delivery
In 1865: The Confederate capital Richmond was captured by the Union in the Civil War
In 1948: President Harry Truman signed the Foreign Assistance Act, aka the Marshall Plan, that provided $12 million in aid to the countries in Western Europe to assist in their economic recovery after World War II
In 1974: 148 tornadoes hit the heartland of the United States within a 16 hour period, affecting 11 states and Ontario, Canada

If you would like to learn more about the events of April 3rd and any other day in history, fun facts can be found on the History Channel's Website, "This Day in History". April 3rd certainly is a busy day in history! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Academic WorldQuest, BSU- March 28th

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Usually EarthView travels to destinations outside the realm of Bridgewater State University but today's event happens to bring us to Kelly Gymnasium right next door to the Science & Mathematics Center where EarthView is stored when not in use. 

Today we welcome the high school students who are competing in WorldQuest's Boston Regional Competition as part of the journey to compete in the National Academic WorldQuest. 

Academic WorldQuest, a global knowledge competition that has become a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America, is a fun, friendly and powerful way for high school students to learn about international affairs.  Teams comprising four students typically prepare in an after-school setting over the course of several months. 

At today's Boston regional competition, teams view a PowerPoint presentation of 100 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as people in the news, world geography, elections, international organizations and current events.  The event is open to parents, friends and the general public, who also are given answer sheets and enjoy playing along.  The winning high school team travels to Washington, D.C., in April to compete in the National Academic WorldQuest, virtually all expenses paid.

We wish good luck to everyone competing today and we here at EarthView continue to be impressed by the amount of knowledge students have on the subject of Geography!

Atlantic Questions

During our visit to Tenney Grammar School in Methuen, students asked a couple of interesting questions about the Atlantic Ocean. Because we were not exactly certain of the answers, we promised to add a couple of maps to the blog, to benefit them and any other curious readers.

The first question was about the location of the Bermuda Triangle, the purported "spooky" area of the northeast Atlantic. We could point out the British dependency of Bermuda -- which is a popular destination for cruises from Boston -- but we were uncertain of the orientation of the triangle. We found this map on the Bermuda Triangle page of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency of the U.S. Government. The page includes a link that explains the US Coast Guard's opinion about the Triangle. During our visit, we mentioned the smaller and less famous Bridgewater Triangle, named for EarthView's home town.

While Bermuda is in a warm part of the North Atlantic, the other question students had for us was about a tragedy in the colder far north. The question is about the 1912 sinking of the "unsinkable" Titanic as it voyaged from England to New York.
Astronomers at Texas State University show the location of the sinking, along with a possible path of the iceberg that was carried into the ship's path. This study was done by astronomers because of the possible role of the moon in the unexpected movement of the iceberg. In looking for such maps, we also found an interesting use of Geographic Information Systems in mapping the home locations of all of the ship's passengers.

The passenger list exhibits a concept geographers call a "distance-decay" function, meaning that the greatest number of passengers if found near the ports of origin and destination and decline with distance. Viewers of the ESRI Titanic Passengers map can explore these patterns in detail and can also separate the passengers according to economic class because tickets were sold in three very distinct classes.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tenney Grammar School, Methuen- March 27th

42° 43' 55" N
71° 10' 40" W 
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The EarthView team is pleased to be back at Tenney Grammar School In Methuen for the third year in a row! 

If you have seen our team in previous years while visiting Tenney Grammar, we might look a little different. Today just so happens to be the Massachusetts Round of the National Geographic Geography Bee.  Our very own Dr. Domingo is a judge and Ms. Rosalie, aka. the Globe Lady, is the moderator at today's event! 

As you may or may not know, the National Geographic Geography Bee is a competition that is open to all schools that  teach students in grades 4-8. Each school holds its own Geography Bee competition and typically there is a winner from each grade level. The winners of each grade level then compete against each other to determine the winner of the school. The winning student then has to take a 1 hour written test about Geography. If he or she scores high enough on the test, he/she is eligible to compete at the state level. Only the top 100 students in each state are allowed to compete at the state level. 

Today's event takes place at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Ma. Worcester Academy is a co-ed boarding school for students in grades 6-12 and postgraduates. The school is very much into the concept of Sustainability (which we had talked about in a previous blog post) and is involved in other Geography related activities, such as being the host of today's event.

The winner of the Massachusetts Geography Bee today will head to Washington, D.C. to compete against the other state level winners in the National Geography Bee that will take place May 11th-13th.

Good luck to all of the competitors in today's competition! Maybe even Tenney Grammar's own representative student will make it to the National competition, we will have to wait and see! Let's hope that the winner of the National Bee comes from Massachusetts just like in 2013 when Sathwick Karnik from Plainville won. Another interesting thing to note is that Earthview Wrangler, Eva Ratcliffe participated in her middle school's Geography Bee back in the 2006-2007 school year when she was a 6th grader. She placed first for her 6th grade team but did not win when competing against the other winning team members. Little did she know that she would later become a Geography Major at Bridgewater State University and be here working for EarthView!  

The National Geographic Geography Bee is a wonderful event and competition where the students always amazing us with their deep knowledge of geography. We here at Earthview hope that today's competition opens the minds of our young students to become more actively involved in Geography as it is everywhere. 

UPDATE: The 2015 Massachusetts Geography Bee winner is Lucy Chae, a 7th grader from Charles E. Brown School in Newton. This is the first time in its 27 year Geography Bee participation that Massachusetts has had a female student win the right to represent Massachusetts at the National Geography Bee in Washington DC May 11th -13th. Congratulations to Lucy and to all the many students across the state who participated in the Geography Bee.
Runners up were; Michael Izdal of Wilson Middle School in Natick and Markus Elbert of Oak Hill Middle School  in Newton.

If you would like to learn more about the event you can watch the local news clip here or you can read the article posted in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette here

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Captain Samuel Brown Elementary, Peabody- March 20th

42° 30' 25" N
70° 57' 02" W
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The EarthView team is excited to be visiting Captain Samuel Brown Elementary in Peabody for the very first time! 

Our visit this week happens to fall upon the Vernal Equinox and as the weather forecast predicts, we are in for a bit of accumulating unusual! This winter has even broken the record for the snowiest winter in Boston. Last Sunday's storm brought the 2014-2015 winter snow total to 108.6 inches, just over 9 feet! The last record was set during the 1995-1996 winter which saw 107.6 inches of snow. 


As for Friday's Vernal Equinox, we are in for a bit of a snowy start to our Spring season. As seen in the National Weather Service graphic below, there is a chance that Peabody and Bridgewater could see upwards of 4 inches of snow...potentially more. 

And if you have noticed the increasing amount of potholes on the road this time of the year it is due to the fluctuating temperatures dipping below 32°F and above, even reaching 57°F as it did on Wednesday, March 11th when we visited Tewksbury. When ice forms, it expands, pushing apart small cracks in pavement. When the ice melts, it makes room for new ice to form a day or two later, widening each crack a bit more. This can cause both potholes and frost heaves in the pavement. 

Boston's March Forecast-Accuweather

As reported on WGBH, don't expect these potholes to go away anytime soon as it is hard for the town to repair them all when their budget is almost completely used up due to the unexpected massive snowfall this winter. As March came in like a lion and hopefully goes out like a lamb, we hope that the roads become more smooth as we transition into the much needed warmer Spring months!

There is a geography to just about everything ... even potholes!

We at EarthView hope that the rest of our Spring does not call for anymore snow but with the weather in New England, you never really know!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

John W. Wynn Middle School, Tewksbury- March 9th & 11th

42º 37' 48" N
71º 18' 08" W
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The EarthView team is pleased to make our first ever visit to Wynn Middle School in Tewksbury! We will be visiting on both Monday, March 9th and Wednesday, March 11th. 

Some interesting facts about Tewksbury!
-It was incorporated as a town in 1734 and was named after Tewkesbury, England
-On July 24th, 1857 a tornado swept through the town destroying many fields, orchards, and barns, but luckily no one was killed
-The Merrimack River serves as the northern boundary while the Shawsheen River runs through the southern end of town
-It is located about 19 miles from Boston and about 53 miles from BSU

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sharon Middle School- March 6th

42° 06' 24" N
71° 09' 58" W
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The EarthView team is happy to be back in Sharon for another exciting visit! While in town for last week's visit, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan  pointed out to us that there was once a whaling museum in Sharon; a strange place for a whaling museum considering it is a landlocked community and about 30 miles from the coast of Massachusetts.

 After a bit of research, we discovered that Sharon was once site to the Kendall Whaling Museum that was established in 1956.
Kendall Whaling Museum: 27 Everett Street, Sharon, Ma
Henry Plimpton Kendall a local celebrity of sorts was the one who founded the museum.

While Kendall grew up in Walpole, Ma, he lived in Sharon on Moose Hill Farm for much of his adult life. Kendall was able to grow the failing Lewis Batting Company of Walpole, Ma into the large textile company named The Kendall Company that expanded throughout the United States before merging with the Colgate Palmolive Company in 1972. Not only was Henry Kendall a business owner, he was also an avid collector of historical artifacts from the whaling industry. He arranged his collection and established the Kendall Whaling Museum. Unfortunately the small museum closed in 2001 but the collection remains intact at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.


If you are a teacher and would like to include more about whaling into your Geography lessons, please go visit the Geography Lesson Plans page to learn about the book, "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" by Nathaniel Philbrick. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Edmund Hatch Bennett School, Taunton -- Feb. 24

41° 54' 08" N
71° 08' 20" W
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EarthView is visiting third- and fourth-grade classes at the Bennett School in Taunton with Dr. Hayes-Bohanan and Ms. Hart, a local teacher who worked with EarthView when she was a student of geography and education at BSU.

She had spent part of her childhood in Fairbanks, Alaska and found Taunton to be cold enough Tuesday night that she decided to make some comparisons. The weather report from her phone shows which place was warmer. (To be fair, it was still mid-afternoon in Fairbanks and the sun was already down in Taunton.)

She also looked up some details about winters in the two places.

1674 miles Boston to Arctic Circle
Average temperature in February 39
Average snow fall in February 10 in
This year 99 inches of snow and 27 degrees
198 miles Fairbanks to Arctic Circle
Average temperature in February -3.6
Average snow fall in February 9 in
Temp today 30 degrees
This year since Dec 1 snowfall totals 19.9 inches in February .1 inches. Average temp for Feb this year 28 degrees. 
So if she discusses going back to her former Alaska home to warm up, students will now understand why!

The EarthView team were not the only people making Massachusetts-Alaska comparisons today. After our visit to Bennett School, we found this image making the rounds on social media. It is a great example of what geographers call "sense of place" because it uses the ubiquitous Massachusetts town-boundary signs. And it captures perfectly what a lot of Bay Staters are thinking about recent weather. Moreover, the star of this image bears a slight resemblance to Dr. Hayes-Bohanan.

Sharon Middle School- February 27th

42° 06' 24" N
71° 09' 58" W
Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

The EarthView team is happy to be back at Sharon Middle School for the third year in a row. We will be visiting this Friday, February 28th and next Friday, March 6th. The blog post from our visit in April of 2012 describes the geographic characteristics of Sharon in terms of site and situation.

While looking for things to discuss in today's post, we came across an article from National Geographic describing the top ten most sustainable cities in the world. If you are unsure of what sustainability is, it is the balance between the environment, society and the economy that helps to ensure that we will be able to keep our planet alive and thriving for future generations. It is about more than just the initiative to go green by recycling and reusing but by adopting a new way of thinking about life in order to treat the world and its people the way they should be treated, respectfully and appropriately.

While no cities in the United States made the top ten list, Boston did come in at number fifteen. Knowing that Boston is recognized as the most sustainable city in the United States says a lot about where we live. Although we have a long way to go in sustainability, it is hoped that we will one day make it into the top ten cities. Or perhaps one day lists like these won't be necessary because the human population around the globe will have changed by adopting the ways of sustainability thus creating a less polluted and more ecologically conscious world.