Developing Geographical MindsLessons from World Regional and Vermont Geography Cheryl Morse University of Vermont Geography Department Center for Research on Vermont
Two Minute Writes A. Please make a list of “global issues”.
Two Minute Writes B. Please describe what comes to your mind when you think of “Vermont Agriculture”. Note: you are writing to a Martian, so be descriptive.
THE QUIZ(from Geography Hell?) • Please take this quiz • You will not be asked to share your answers or your score with anyone • This is not challenge by choice!
Why Do I Ask My UVM Students to Take This Quiz? Because I was clueless… Total Number of Quiz Responses: 626 Taken in 4 Semesters Spring 2008-Fall 2010 About 1/3 of students went to HS in Vermont
Quiz Results Overall Quiz Average: 43.53 Quiz Average Did Not Increase Over Time Students are NOT becoming more geographically literate over time
Student Scores Do Not Increase: • By year at UVM (eg., seniors do not score significantly higher than first-year students) • If the student took a Geography Course in High School • If the student took another Geography Course in College • According to where the student attended high school(in VT or out-of-state) • What I Do Not Know, because I didn’t ask: • Results by gender • Results by travel experience • Results by race/ethnicity
What do students’ incorrect answers tell us? Name the capital of Iraq: Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait, “it’s not Baghdad”, “Televeve?”, Islamabad; Istanbul; Kuwait Name one non-native or exotic species that has impacted Australia: “British Prisoners”; Zebra Mussels (from VT student); Americans; Switchback Mountain Goat; “huge mice things/rodents”; “Nemo/clownfish” Name the capital of Canada: “WHO CARES!!!”, “there isn’t one”, “doesn’t each province have its own capital”, “which region of Canada?”, Ontario, Montreal, Calgary, Halifax, Vancouver, Quebec, Quebec City, Edmonton, Toronto, “A friend of mine would know that…I’m not sure.”; “O…something that starts with an ‘O’”; Vancouver; “Ottawa, eh?” Latitude: “are you joking?!”, “10,000,000”, 500 ft, 200 ft above sea level, 90 N, 100, 32 NW, 80, 70, 30, 23N, “200 feet above sea level”; 120, “up there”; 350 ft; “90 (a little south of)” OPEC- Name one member country that is not in the Middle East: Venezuela, George Bush, Texas, Exxon/Mobil, Russia, Britain, Chile, US, Egypt, Peru, Congo, Bulgaria, Turkey, American, Canada, Morocco, Argentina
How do the UVM results compare to: Indiana Tests, 1987 and 2002 National Geographic – Roper Survey, 2006 The Nation’s Report Card – Geography 2010 ?
Why Don’t Young Americans Know More Geography?And,Does it Matter That They Don’t Know Geography?
the importance of a “geographical mind” Doreen Massey
Developing Geographical Minds: Vermont’s Agriculture and the Production of Place
Geographical Imagination Our mental maps of places; and the ways we render spaces and places “a lot of geography is in the mind” Doreen Massey What we expect of a place, even before we experience it for ourselves. what we expect of other social groups within specific spaces.
Some Thoughts About the Importance of Descriptive Writing and Field Work
“The renaissance in Vermont agriculture…” Governor Peter Shumlin, Inaugural Address, Jan 6, 2011 Recent Comments about Vermont Agriculture “…[VT’s] wonderful marketshed from Montreal to Boston to Providence to Hartford to NY and Philadelphia…” [We need to] “maintain this incredible landscape that makes Vermont such a special place" and “the culture we create by having working landscapes of farmers and foresters in our communities" Chuck Ross, Sec. of Agriculture, Food and Markets, VPR, Jan 24, 2011 “…Vermont's farmers, right now, are in a constant economic struggle. Every year they have to figure out ways to work and survive so that we can all benefit: these are the folks who maintain a great piece of the landscape, jobs, and culture that is part of the fabric of what makes Vermont, Vermont.” Dan Kirk, “My Turn” BFP “We need to ensure that Vermont is the milk-bowl and breadbasket of New England…” Working Landscape Partnership, VT Council on Rural Development
The Endangered Working Landscapes of Vermont “Place in the Country” “Green pastures, bales of hay, and mountainous backdrop provide a pastoral setting for this landscape photograph.” Orwell, VT photo: John David Geery http://johndavidgeery.com
A Brief Environmental History of Vermont’s Landscape (in Crisis) ‘great swarming time’, chartering of towns sheep craze dairy farming outmigration tourism and agriculture work as leisure (Blake Harrison, 2006)
The Co-Dependence of Rurality and Tourism in Vermont photo and logo: VermontVacation.com
Sabra Field Woody Jackson Phyllis Chase Contemporary Representations of Vermont Landscapes – How Media Reproduces Constructs
What Do These Maple Landscapes Produce, How, and For Whom? Vermont Department of Tourism ad in Spring 2011 Vermont Life
What Do These Maple Landscapes Produce, How, and For Whom? Jordan’s Sugaring Operation, Essex
Vermont’s physiographic regions align closely with its geologic regions.
Vermont County Population, 2010 Two Vermonts? GRAND ISLE 6,970 FRANKLIN 47,746 ORLEANS One of every four Vermonters lives in Chittenden County ESSEX 6,306 LAMOILLE 24,575 CHITTENDEN 156,545 CALEDONIA WASHINGTON Chitt. County’s population is 2.5 times larger than the next most populated county, Rutland ADDISON 36,821 ORANGE WINDSOR RUTLAND 61,642 POPULATION 6,000-7,000 24,000-62,000 BENNINGTON 156, 545 loss of pop since 2000 WINDHAM Data: US Census, 2010
Rural – Urban Differences in Vermont Data: USDA Economic Research Service
Vermont Farm Data Number of farms (2009): 7,000 Dairy farms (2010): 1,010 Organic dairy farms : 205 Conventional dairy farms: 805 Organic dairy farms make up 20% of the state total; They produce about 5-7% of the state's milk Data: National Agricultural Statistics Service
Vermont’s Top Five Counties in Agricultural Sales, 2007 How Many Agricultural Vermonts? Together, Addison and Franklin counties constitute nearly half of VT’s agricultural production The county in third place produces half that of the counties in first and second place 2 3 FRANKLIN $160,619,000 ORLEANS $82,348,000 1 4 ADDISON $161,417,000 ORANGE $43,292,000 5 RUTLAND $35,286,000 23.5-24 12.2 5.2-6.4 PERCENT OF VT’S STATE AGRICULTURAL SALES
Addison County Total number of farms: 773 # farms w/ $500,000 + in sales: 79 Milk is 78% of ag sales Cattle and calves are 8% of sales Franklin County Total number of farms: 740 # farms w/ $500,000 + in sales: 80 Milk is 81% of ag sales Cattle and calves are 11% of sales Orleans County Total number of farms: 635 # of farms w/ $500,000 + in sales: 25 Milk is 85% of ag sales Cattle and calves are 8% of sales
Questions that Can be Pursued: Now that we know something of the environmental history, landscape change, and social dynamics of Vermont, what can we predict its landscape in the future? What will the landscape look like? Who will live here? How will people make a living? How does your community compare to Vermont’s statistics? Is your town the same or different? How and why? Why are rural areas of Vermont “poorer” than urban areas and why are some losing population? What crops and agricultural products were produced in VT over time, and which crops and products will support the state in the future? Where do our agricultural products go? Can we map them? Which ‘global’ problems or issues can we study here in Vermont?
Data Sources • US Census data • Center for Rural Studies at UVM • VCGI maps of VT • State of Vermont Dept of Ag, Food and Markets • National Agricultural Statistics Service • Landscape Change website, UVM Geology Dept