Events promote Geography Awareness Week

By Ray McDermott

NIU’s Geography Awareness Week will run Nov. 16 through 20, with the theme of “Geography: Reflections on Water.”

“This is a national week, it is not only happening at NIU,” said Daniel Dillman, a professor in NIU’s geography department. “It is to inform people on the importance of geography and what geography is.”

On Monday, William Fash of the department of anthropology presented a public lecture in Davis Hall 121. The topic of the lecture was “Cultural Ecology of the Classic Maya Civilization.”

Dillman said each year they try to include a speaker from some other discipline, from the physical or social sciences.

“Last year we had a chemist talk about the air pollution in the Middle East from the oil fires set by Saddam Hussein,” he said. “This year we have an anthropologist who is an internationally known scholar for his research on the Maya civilization in MesoAmerica.”

“Edge Cities” and Land-use Change will be the topics of today’s lecture. Richard Greene and Dennis Pederson of NIU’s department of geography will present these programs in Davis Hall 116 at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday at 8 p.m., students can test their geographic literacy in Grant Towers North C-Formal Lounge, in a game of “Geography Jeopardy.” Prizes provided by Rand McNally Inc. will be awarded.

“We’re putting together a program of our own,” said Sandy Hurth, president of the NIU geography club. “In Geography Jeopardy, teams of three will compete, answering questions about geography, physical, locational and cultural. This is a contest that we encourage all students to participate in.”

Hurth said their ultimate goal is to get people to understand geography.

On Thursday, Davis Hall 116 will be the site of a public lecture by Michael Fortune of NIU’s geography department. Fortune’s topic will be “Forecasting Freezes in Brazil with the Aid of Satellite Imagery,” and will be held at 7 p.m.

On Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. “Geography Career Day” will be held in Davis Hall rooms 103, 116, 119 and 217.

Dillman said the actual positions held by NIU geography graduates helps to demonstrate geography’s diversity.

He said soil scientist, air pollution meteorologist, city planner, forest ecologist, national weather service forecaster, cartographer, TV meteorologist, retail site selector and transportation systems planner are some of the possible occupations that are available with a geography degree.

“We want to show that geography is involved in many different areas,” Dillman said. “We are interested in many of the same phenomena that other scientists are, we just ask different questions.”