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Essential Resources for Geographic and Environmental Educators

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Issue Vol. 63, No. 4

Publication Date: January, 2013

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President's Message  

Page: 2

Author(s): Lowry, Mark

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience
is a form of exploration.” – Ansel Adams

Well, this is my last missive as President of O.A.G.E.E. It has been a great deal of fun and what a learning curve over the last few years. Certainly the successes of being the President of any organization are directly related to the strength of the Organization and O.A.G.E.E. is no exception. We have seen dramatic and some glacial changes to Geography and geo-spatial teachings during my tenure. Some have been exciting and some have certainly been frustrating but I guess that is the definition of Change. We have been through two revisions of the curriculum, as we have moved through “capes and bays” and content-heavy Geography to the very exciting days of hands-on Geography. 

We have also moved through a very restrictive education system (Ah! the Harris days) to a more open Geography classroom that includes much more experiential, and field activity-based Geography. Geography has been able to bring environmental studies back into the fold and we are working closely with our Science compatriots to instill true environmental and sustainability stewardship into our students. 

Certainly, the infusion, albeit slowly, of geo-spatial technologies into the curricula has greatly enhanced the cachet of geographical studies in many schools across the province. However, it is still very much a mind scratcher that even as Geography and the roll of geo-spatial technology is constantly gaining in importance societally, it is still a back water subject in too many schools. This is a conundrum that we need to address. As Nick Keeley, director of the Careers Service at Newcastle University in the UK, states from his study:

“Studying geography arms graduates with a mix of skills employers want to see: Geography students generally do well in terms of their relatively low unemployment rates. You could attribute this to the fact that the degree helps develop a whole range of employability skills including numeracy, teamwork through regular field trips, analytical skills in the lab and a certain technical savviness through using various specialist computing applications. Also, the subject area in itself cultivates a world view and a certain cultural sensitivity. These all potentially help a geographer to stand out in the labour market.” 

– Alison White, Thursday 18 November 2010


It is imperative that we make our administrators and guidance folk understand, and support the need to encourage, geographic skills and thinking as important and positive parts of a career choice.

How geo-spatial technologies have changed during my tenure from the early ArcView 3 platform, with little data and our ongoing fight to get access to computers and labs, to the situation of today where we have unlimited access to ArcGIS 10 on every student computer in Ontario. Throughout the entire progression we have had the ongoing support of ESRI Canada with the data packs, lessons, and tutelage at conferences, in schools, and in faculties of education throughout the province. Along with this, we are now experiencing the advent of web-based applications, like ArcGIS online and Google Earth, that are allowing our students to connect the “what” and “where” to any and all geographical questions and issues. We are allowing our students the greatest of all freedoms through the use of geo-spatial technologies; that is to be curious and critical explorers. I would love to know how many of our students and teachers have been following the fabulous tweets of Chris Hatfield from the international space station. However it now behooves us, the teachers and instructors, to make sure we are not the weak links in this process.

We are so lucky in Ontario to have the breadth of courses that we do in Geography and Environmental Studies. But we need to broaden the course offerings in all schools. How do we do this? Our focus needs to be on engaging students to think and do Geography in grade 7, 8, and 9. I am very excited about how we have started to include our elementary teachers, especially those from grades 7 and 8, in our conferences and support documents. That is an involvement that should and must continue.

It has been very exciting to see the success of the conferences we have had over the last few years. I feel O.A.G.E.E. has been true to its mandate by holding conferences throughout Ontario. It is this geographical imperative that allows O.A.G.E.E. to have an ever expanding and constantly increasing membership. This year will be no exception, with our spring conference in Kenora and the fall conference in Waterloo. This pattern of geographical inclusiveness is no different with our executive and regional and special interest councillors. We have representation from all corners of Ontario, as well as at the elementary level, with the Faculties of Education, and independent schools. O.A.G.E.E. has also kept up with the times as we constantly are communicating and sharing through such social media as Facebook:, Twitter, @geogmark and, of course, the O.A.G.E.E. website Please check out the O.A.G.E.E. website over the next couple of months for a vast array of exciting and informative changes. 

Finally as I move from the role of President to Past President, I must thank all of the O.A.G.E.E. Executive, and councillors for the support I received during my tenure. I look forward to the continued growth of the best Geography and environment association on this continent and to continued involvement at various conferences and activities.

CGC1D: My Canadian Map Story  

Page: 5-8

Author(s): Hughes, Joanna


  • describe the characteristics of natural systems;
  • describe the characteristics of human systems;
  • use different types of maps to interpret geographic relationships, including changes over time in a specific location;
  • communicate the results of geographic inquiries, for different audiences and purposes, using a variety of forms and including geographic visual supports,

Grade 7: Being a Theme Player  

Page: 9-13

Author(s): Willie, Denise

Grade 7 Geography: Five Themes of Geography

Length: 3 classes (approximately 120 minutes)

Overall Expectations

  • identify and explain the themes of geographic inquiry: location/place, environment, region, interaction, and movement;
  •  use a variety of geographic resources and tools to gather, process, and communicate geographic information;
  • analyze current environmental issues or events from the perspective ofone or more of the themes of geographic inquiry. 

CGG3O: Travel & Tourism: Introduction to the 9th Edition Canadian Oxford School Atlas  

Page: 14

Author(s): Heltner, Irene

This exercise is designed to help students become familiar with the Canadian Oxford School Atlas, 9th Edition and its usefulness in the study of Regional Geography: Travel and Tourism. Students should keep these pages at the front of their notebooks for later reference. Students will use the atlas as a resource to answer the following questions.

CGC1P: Canada's Landform Regions: A Culminating Activity  

Page: 18-21

Author(s): Fisher, Tom


Canada is made up of many diverse landscapes. These landscapes can be grouped in various ways. One way to group regions is by similar landforms. 

Lesson Overview

In this assignment, students will identify, describe and explain the processes that created Canada’s Landform Regions. Students will choose one landform region of Canada to research and present their findings through a creative poster. Students will work in groups of 2 or 3 to complete the assignment.

Curriculum Design Series CGW4U: Current & Future State of Fresh Water  

Page: 22-17

Author(s): Armstrong, Erica; Ackroyd, Steven; Dontas, Kris; McCroy, Kim; Ducroix, Daniel

Big Question Overview

  • Big Question What is the current and future state of fresh water in Ontario?
  • Cast Lesson Topics and Little Big Question
  • 1 Dan Ducroix - Physical systems of fresh water and human impacts, “How can the hydrologic cycle be affected by human and physical systems?”
  • 2 Kris Dontas - Borrowing water: difficulties with ownership, governance and regulation, “What are the difficulties in managing Ontario’s water?
  • 3 Kim McCrory - Water privatization - “Does water privatization pose a threat to Ontario’s water future?”
  • 4 Steven Ackroyd - Aboriginal issues dealing with fresh water in Canada - “What issues are Aboriginal people faced with when it conies to a lack of available fresh water?”
  • 5 Erica Armstrong - Daily uses of water

Book Review: The Beaver Manifesto  

Page: 31

Author(s): Childs, J.

The Beaver Manifesto: An RMB Manifesto

Glynnis Hood

Rocky Mountain Books, Vancouver, British Columbia 
Hardcover, 144 pages, $16.95; ISBN 978-1-926855585