News and Events

SEDAAG Coming to Athens in November

The annual meeting of the Southeast Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG) will be in Athens in November 2014 for the first time since 1995. The meeting will be hosted by the department of geography and held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on November 21–23. An opening address by Dr. Craig Colten of Louisiana State University will be given in the new Special Collections Library on the evening of November 21, followed by a reception in memory of UGA geographer Louis De Vorsey.

SEDAAG is a regional subdivision of the Association of American Geographers, representing over 550 members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Established in 1947, SEDAAG exists to advance investigations in geography and to encourage the application of geographic findings in education, government, and business. The division supports these objectives by organizing an annual academic conference; distributing an electronic newsletter; publishing a quarterly peer-reviewed journal (Southeastern Geographer); granting honors to faculty in recognition of excellence in teaching, service, and research; hosting educational and professional development workshops; and supporting a student paper and poster awards and a World Geography Bowl competition.

We look forward to seeing many alumni and friends at the SEDAAG meeting in November!

Up on the Roof

by Amy Trauger

This past year has been big for geography’s roof top garden. The Athens Urban Food Collective class (AUFC) was held this spring with four undergraduates and three graduate students, many of whom are in geography, landscape architecture and horticulture and also involved UGArden and landscape architecture. They included Rob Packer, Emily Smith, Kaela Horne, Zach Ennis, Josh Podvin, Brian Williams and Richard Vercoe. It was the perfect group to pitch a project on transitioning the roof from an annual to a perennial garden. For their midterm project they produced a management and design plan using permaculture principles and presented it to decision-makers in the department of geography, Physical Plant and the Office of Sustainability. The primary result of this presentation was an agreement between geography and the Office of Sustainability to provide support for an intern to maintain and manage the garden.

We have selected geography senior Ellen Ziesenhene to fill this position for fall 2014. She will be primarily in charge of taking care of the newly installed perennial plants – asparagus, strawberries, onions, greens and sunchokes – which were donated by UGArden and urban farmers in Athens. She will also take on the implementation and maintenance of a composting system in the Geography/Geology building that will benefit the long-term soil health on the roof. Give her a warm welcome and a high five as she takes care of our living classroom on the roof and helps us to become more sustainable within our building. Future plans for the roof include a rain water collection system and some shade structures so that more of us can enjoy the scenic peace of a well-tended garden. Until then, visit the garden whenever you can, and stay tuned for more developments!

NASA DEVELOP Program Completes Successful First Year

by Steve Padgett-Vasquez

The NASA DEVELOP National Program fosters an interdisciplinary research environment where applied science research projects are conducted under the guidance of NASA and partner science advisors. DEVELOP is unique in that young professionals lead research projects that focus on utilizing NASA Earth observations to address community concerns and public policy issues.

It has been a good year for DEVELOP at UGA. In the past year we have had nine projects. Apart from domestic research, some projects have focused on Costa Rica, Brazil, and South Africa. This summer term there will be 17 participants working on three projects. All projects are showcased in a virtual poster session hosted by Earthzine.org, which consists of a video highlighting the projects, students, and partners. For the fall term, UGA had the best video of the term. UGA has a strong presence in the virtual poster session, winning at least in one “best in category" in each in term.

Below are links to the project abstract and videos:

Summer 2013

Keeping bearded monkeys cracking nuts
Fire burning: Birmingham’s lung decay?
Stopping the spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid
Stopping wetland dieback, a journey through the muck

Fall 2013

Making the connection: Reforestation in the bellbird corridor of Costa Rica
Getting dirty to understand salt marsh dieback

Spring 2014

Can we talk about the elephant in the park?
Finding the greenest way: A sustainable coexistence between Miami and the Everglades
Bug off! Woolly adelgid-induced hemlock decline in the Great Smoky Mountains

Students Team with WUGA-TV to Forecast Weather

by Matt Chambers, UGA News Service

Professors tuning in to WUGA-TV at night may start recognizing some faces during the weather portion of the news. That's because the Atmospheric Sciences Program in the department of geography, the UGA chapter of the American Meteorological Society, and the television station have teamed up with students to produce on-air weather forecasts.

WUGA-TV, the public television station owned and operated by the university, is available in 1.55 million homes in 55 counties in north Georgia and can be watched locally on Charter cable channel 6 and channel 32 of DishNetwork, AT&T Uverse and DirecTV. The station is on university cable channel 8.1.

The 12 students, who are developing the forecast under the guidance of Jeff Dantre, director of news and content for WUGA-TV, videotape the weather segment each weekday. During the process, a group of two to four students looks at weather models to determine the forecast for the area, creates the slides and images to be shown and records the presentation for airing.

"We have until 2 o'clock to record everything," said Matt Daniel, president of the student AMS chapter, who is providing the student leadership for the collaboration. "It's been a really good learning experience, especially for those looking to get into the broadcast side of the field."

Jimmy Sanders, director of WUGA-TV and WUGA-FM, said the students are relying on the National Weather Service, which provides its information free for their maps. He said they also are forecasting some on their own for the Athens area, a region that often isn't the focus of Atlanta weather broadcasts.

"This is the only station that does local weather for this area," he said, "and this collaboration brings even more value to the television station, which in turn provides a service to the public."

Daniel said one of the biggest challenges is translating the extensive weather models into information to be aired for WUGA-TV's large coverage area.

"When we present to ourselves about weather we go technical, but when you're doing TV, you've got to make sure everyone watching understands it," he said. "So we try to figure out what viewers need to know and highlight it since we can't go into too many details."

Daniel said the practice of presenting the weather will be invaluable to his and other students' futures.

"One of the hardest things that comes with going into broadcast is that you have to get up there and practice-that's really vital," he said. "It's great exposure for us personally and as a group."

Dantre said he's glad the students have a chance to build their portfolios using tools the station already had. He also said working with the students has been great.

"They are professional; they meet their deadlines; they are serious about what they do," he said.

"It's been impressive to watch and see them grow throughout this process."