Virginia Tech professors offers North America journey to area teachers

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 17, 2004 – The Virginia Geographic Alliance is sponsoring a month-long trip this summer that will help a group of Virginia educators understand different physical and cultural landscapes across the United States and Canada.

Bill Carstensen of Blacksburg, Va., a professor of geography in the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, will lead the group who will make stops in Minot, N.D.; Whitefish, Mont.; Vancouver, British Columbia; Sioux Lookout, Ontario; and Montreal, Quebec. As the group travels across the two nations by train, Carstensen will facilitate lessons on human-environment interaction, historical landscapes, application of geospatial technologies to landscape analysis, and exploration.

“While we cannot replicate the times, conditions, or the journeys of famous North American explorers such as Alexander Mackenzie or Lewis and Clark,” explained Carstensen, “our lives are enriched when we explore and learn by being where they traveled.”

The trip is geared for K-12 teachers of geography, social studies, earth science, and history. Participants must be from states or provinces served by the National Geographic Society’s alliances.

“This course,” added Carstensen, “will help teachers to understand better some of the diverse landscapes and peoples of North America.”

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities, and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.

Written by Shannon Tonks, Public Affairs Intern