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October 28, 2014 | News

Geography Graduate student Adriana Rincón meets head of the ICC

Geography Grad student Adriana Rincón met the head prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, this morning at the Law School's Children and International Criminal Justice Conference. The prosecutor personally answered Adriana's question about the ICC's role and understanding of transitional justice mechanisms in Colombia.

September 30, 2014 | News

Dr. Andrew Grundstein: Study finds thunderstorms worsen asthma, allergy symptoms

In one of the first studies of its kind done in the United States, a University of Georgia professor teamed up with faculty at Emory University to research the effect thunderstorms can have on people with asthma and allergies.

Andrew Grundstein, a professor in the Department of Geography at UGA and the lead author of the study entitled “Thunderstorm-associated asthma in Atlanta, Georgia,” said people generally think of rain as a good thing for pollen allergies and asthma, and normally they would be right. But research showed that when rain escalates to a thunderstorm, it can actually exacerbate symptoms.

“Certain kinds of pollen, like grass pollens, will get pulled into the thunderstorm clouds, the pollen greens will rupture and produce very tiny ones,” he said. “People who inhale those small particles, they can get deep into your lungs.”

According to the study, this phenomenon is possible because thunderstorms have an updraft, causing allergens to be transported off the ground and into the air.

“Our findings corroborate previous reports of an association of thunderstorm activity with asthma exacerbation,” the study reads. “Furthermore, our results provide preliminary evidence in support of rainfall and wind gusts playing important roles in this association.”

The link between thunderstorms and an increase in asthma symptoms may pose a problem for asthmatics and allergy sufferers in Georgia. According to the National Weather Service, thunderstorms are most common in spring and summer months in north Georgia. Additionally, WeatherSpark found thunderstorms occur on an average of 31 percent of days that rain in Atlanta.

Grundstein, who has a research specialty in climatology, said he first came across an article about thunderstorm asthma in foreign countries when teaching a graduate seminar years ago. Since then, he has worked with a group of health scientists at Emory to test the theory in metro Atlanta.

“We helped with the information on the weather conditions,” Grundstein said. “They had a big data set of people seeking medical attention in emergency rooms, so we combined our information with their information.”
He said they basically looked at emergency room data in Atlanta to see how it corresponded with thunderstorms in the area. What they found was a three percent influx in people going to emergency rooms with asthma symptoms after thunderstorms. Grundstein said that represents a low estimate, as there are likely those who suffer from thunderstorm asthma who treat themselves without going to a hospital.

But in places such as England, where three percent of the population is still a large part of the population, that can cause problems, Grundstein said.

“One of the things that’s really important is in a lot of the states in England where you have these big outbreaks, all these people have asthma attacks and they rush to the emergency rooms and get overloaded,” he said. “Being aware in thunderstorms [that] these things could happen, you might help them prepare better.”

Grundstein said the people who run into trouble are usually not those with severe asthma, but those with mild asthma paired with pollen allergies because those with frequent asthma attacks have and know how to use medication.

Grundstein said he recommends people with asthma, especially those with pollen allergies, stay informed about symptoms and treatments.

“Talk to your doctor about an appropriate kind of regiment to control it and what to do if you do have an asthma attack,” he said. “It might be helpful to stay indoors during the thunderstorm.”

August 12, 2014 | News


Landscape Ecology and Bio-Cultural Heritage: The New Geographies of Conservation

This course engages students in geographical literacy of nature conservation by deconstructing contemporary narratives of cultural landscapes as they relate to Landscape Ecology. The main goal is to expose graduate students to the current literature on cultural landscape conservation and train them in biocultural heritage studies, geospatial tools, with challenges to political-ecology theory and critical biogeography. The study of place, power relations of culture/nature binaries will help us to reconstruct appropriate narratives with four major pillars:
a) cultural reactions, perceptions and conceptions of nature, and protected areas
b) natural restoration cycles of the forest environment and its appropriation by society
c) ecological footprint, human impacts and ethno-landscape ecology
d) environmental forecasting of geographical scenarios of sustainability.

We will theorize the process of conservation territories in a global economy and analyze the metageography of continents to frame conservation scenarios in a North-South vector with spatialities of sustainability and transfrontier conservation, as well as commodification of plants, animals and environmental services. We will also identify constraints of managing cultural landscapes with the paradigm of biocultural heritage in either farmscape/ seascape/ cityscape and other foci of centralized protection schemes. We then will construct our narrative for the human dimension of a place worth conserving, namely a cultural landscape. The discussions will be based on students' presentations, and videoconference(s) with the main actors of political ecology, cultural landscape research and conservation science available to us.

• Heckler, S. (Ed). 2012. Landscape, Power and Processes. Reevaluating TEK. Berghahn
• Sarmiento, F. (2012). Critical Biogeography of the Northern Andean Higlands. Kona Publishers.
• Peet, R., P. Robbins & M.J. Watts. 2011. Global Political Ecology. Routledge
• Johnson, L & E.S. Hunt (Eds). 2013. Landscape Ethnoecology: Berghahn.
• Roe, M. and K. Taylor. 2014. New Cultural Landscapes. Routledge, New York.
• Taylor, K. and J. Lennon (Eds). 2012. Managing Cultural Landscapes. Routledge.
• Goldman, M., P. Nadasdy & M. D. Turner. (Eds) 2011. Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies. U. Chicago Press.
• Taylor, K., N. Mitchell & A. St.Clair (eds). 2015. Conserving Cultural Landscapes: Challenges and New Directions. Routledge.

Graduate Students Readings:
As customary in Geography, we will develop the reading seminar list to match students’ interest. You should expect to read and analyze about five articles per week from Landscape Ecology, Environmental Conservation, world Heritage, Landscape, Human Ecology, Nature and Culture, Conservation Biology, Geographical Review, AAG Annals, Biodiversity letters, Biogeography, Ambio, BioScience and other journals of the student’s chosen field. A final list of papers will be developed during the first two weeks with everyone’s input. A final Symposium presentation will be held at the Center for Integrative Conservation and Research, CICR, open to campus and the public.

August 12, 2014 | News


The graduate segment of this, the longest running course on Latin America at the UGA campus, will help students to land appropriate local contacts and target meaningful question to prepare grad students to do research with a purpose. Latin America’s multitude of options for field research will help students of many disciplines to define their own target questions but also to immerse themselves into transdisciplinary research for sustainable development.

Extensive and intensive knowledge will be afforded by taking a class with a leading scholar on mountain ecology, born in Latin America and considered at the forefront of academic engagement in the region. Dr. Sarmiento was co-director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Director of International Education at UGA, thus, his mentoring could help facilitate prospective research projects in the region. Besides, students’ comments refer to this course as a highlight on the Wow Factor.

This course will explore identity principles in today’s Latin American landscapes, analyzing the underlying factors of environmental sustainability and forecasting its likelihood of success. Current debates on development models associated with conservation of biocultural heritage in the region, as well as with economic/ecological imperatives for current global trends, will be held as survey of the incoming influence of the so-called third-world countries. As geographic instruction, the fate of Latin American nations will be untangled from the scientific interpretation of balanced, documented discussions on drivers of regional change that foster both USA and Latin America’s well-being and/or hemispheric degradation. Graduate students will develop their research skills as well as their coordination and moderation abilities by introducing discussions, moderating debates, presenting speakers, preparing a paper or organizing a conference-type final.

• Kent, Robert B. 2006. Latin America: Regions and People. The Guilford Press. New York.
• Helferich, Gerard. 2005. Humboldt’s Cosmos: Alexander Von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey that Changed the Way we See the World. Gotham Books-Penguin Group. New York.
• De Grave, Analisa. Eva Santos-Phillips and Jeff DeGrave. 2007. Taking Sides: Clashing views on Latin American Issues. McGraw Hill. Dubuque, Iowa.
• Sarmiento, Fausto. 2003. Montañas del Mundo: Una Prioridad Global con Perspectivas Latinoamericanas. Editorial Abya Yala. Quito.

Graduate Students Readings:
As customary in Geography, we will develop inform or readings from current articles from the Journal of Latin America Geography, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Perspectives on Latin America, Journal of Caribbean Geography, Journal for Latin American Cultural Studies, LASA online, Latin America Research Review and other journals of the student’s chosen field.
A term paper will be developed during the semester. A final Symposium presentation will be held at the Institute of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, open to campus and the public.

August 12, 2014 | News

2014 Georgia URISA & Midsouth ASPRS Student Award & Career Day

October 8, 2014, 8:30am-3:00pm
Classic Center-Athena Room J
200 North Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601

If you are currently an enrolled college student in Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Kentucky and have applied geospatial solutions to your coursework, you may be eligible to win $$$ by presenting your hard work in front of our select judges of Past Presidents and GIS and Remote Sensing Professionals!!! Submit abstracts to compete for prize money in separate undergraduate and graduate competitions. To register visit http://www.geospatialconferencega.com/student-day

Mapping your way into a GIS Career
Ever wonder what it takes to get into a GIS Consulting Firm or a government position? Maybe Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing is your bag? Come join us for the Student Panel, “Mapping Your Way into a GIS Career” and learn just how you can navigate your way to success.

Map Gallery
Showcase a map, poster, or plat at the 2014 Georgia Geospatial Conference Map Gallery for another opportunity to demonstrate your cartographic abilities in front of potential employers, earn points towards professional certification and possibly win Best Map/Poster Cartographic Design in the Student category. For further information visit: www.geospatialconferencega.com/participate-2/map-gallery.

Our Student Award & Career Day luncheon will observe the following agenda:
 8:30-10:00- Undergraduate Student Presentations
 10:30 -12:00- Graduate Student Presentations
 12:00-1:00- Lunch/networking and Award Presentation
 1:00-3:30- Mapping Your Way Into a GIS Career

Additional Information or Questions
For further information please visit http://www.geospatialconferencega.com/student-day or contact Wendy Peloquin, Georgia URISA Conference Chair at events@gaurisa.org and John Hudler, Georgia URISA Education Chair at education@gaurisa.org.

Awards and Benefits
 Graduate and Undergraduate divisions with cash rewards for each division
 $500 for 1st, $250 for 2nd, and $125 for 3rd.
 Award Certificate and recognition on the Georgia URISA and Midsouth ASPRS Website
 All awards come with a free year membership to GAURISA and Midsouth ASPRS
 Presentations will be featured in the URISA Journal “The GIS Profesional” and the GAURISA newsletter

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