Weaver named Outstanding | Geographers get IEE grants | New Purple Lizard map


Missy and Alyshia PSEOPMissy Weaver was named the 2018–19 Penn State University Park Office Professionals Outstanding Office Professional Award. Pictured: Weaver and her nominator Alyshia Dann by the Nittany Lion Shrine during the Penn State Educational Office Professionals Annual Recognition ceremony held on May 15, 2019.


  • Guido Cervone was promoted to Professor of Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Science.
  • Fritz C. Kessler and Sarah Battersby have published a new book, “Working with Map Projections: A Guide to their Selection” which will be published by CRC Press and out in print by May 31.
  • Corene Matyas (’05g) received a Teacher of the Year award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. Matyas is an associate professor of Geography at UF, where she began teaching in 2005. She has developed several courses for and coordinates an undergraduate certificate in Meteorology and Climatology and graduate certificate in Applied Atmospheric Science. She teaches both in the computer lab so that students gain skills in utilizing a GIS to analyze atmospheric data, and online to support UF’s online BA degree in Geography.


Institutes of Energy and the Environment announces seed grant recipients

Geographers Bronwen Powell, Alexander Klippel among awardees

The 2018–19 Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) seed grant recipients have been awarded to 18 groups of interdisciplinary researchers at Penn State.

IEE established a Seed Grant Program in 2013 to foster basic and applied research addressing IEE’s research themes. Over the previous rounds, IEE has awarded over $2.7 million to 104 interdisciplinary projects with investigators from at least 15 Penn State colleges and campuses.

From BLUE RIDGE outdoors

Why We Still Need Maps: Purple Lizard Charts Recreation in the Mid-Atlantic

Our group of four are spread across a grassy helicopter pad in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Ohiopyle State Park. We are at a familiar place for many of the one-and-a-half million annual visitors to Ohiopyle, the back of a parking area at the takeout of the Lower Youghiogheny River, known as Old Mitchell Place. Yet at the moment we are having a difficult time figuring out where we are supposed to go.

“So, that’s Sugar Run Trail there, and here at a right angle should be Mitchell,” says Michael Hermann, founder and lead cartographer of Purple Lizard Maps, as he points to our intended target on the state park trail map. It should be within our site. Yet on a sunny spring day, with young green just starting to sprout, our trailhead is nowhere to be seen. We wander further north along the parking area and eventually find the Mitchell Trail. Hermann makes a note of the discrepancy – a difference of roughly a hundred yards – then we continue on the trail.

Map reveals that lynching extended far beyond the deep South

An interactive map of lynchings that occurred in the United States from 1883 to 1941 reveals not just the extent of mob violence, but also underscores how the roles of economy, topography and law enforcement infrastructure paved the way for these brutal, violent outbursts, according to researchers.


Unraveling the Ethnoterritorial Fix in the Peruvian Amazon: Indigenous Livelihoods and Resource Management after Communal Land Titling (1980s-2016)

Tubbeh, R. & Zimmerer, K.
Journal of Latin American Geography
During the past several decades, Latin American governments have increasingly recognized indigenous peoples’ rights to cultural difference and channeled their territorial claims by titling their lands as common property. This “territorial turn” is supported by narratives about indigenous peoples as stewards of the environment. Geographic areas associated with indigenous land titling have increased since the late 1980s. This article presents research based on a case study of present-day livelihoods and resource management in two titled comunidades nativas [native communities] in the Peruvian Amazon. Our research finds that these communal lands have become spaces of dependency, depletion of natural resources, and territorial precarity rather than autonomy and sustainability. In spite of legal title, community members endure the tension between protecting their lands and negotiating their common property rights with outsiders as a strategy for income-earning through the exploitation of gold and timber. These conditions—driven by the encroachment of extractive economies and exacerbated by new road construction—provide new evidence about the contradictory dynamics of the “ethnoterritorial fix” in Latin America. These insights are potentially important for indigenous rights organizations in Latin America that consider territorial control as part of their strategies for the reproduction of indigenous peoples’ cultures, the security of their livelihoods, and the pursuit of autonomy.

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