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AAG Field Trips 2017

Explore the rich physical and cultural geography of Boston and New England through informative field trips led by geographers or other experts. Field trips are also an excellent way to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues and friends. 

Field trips are currently under development for the 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston. For an idea of the variety of opportunities typically available, a list of field trips from the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Francisco can be found below.

Learn more about organizing a field trip at AAG 2017


#0-1 Elkhorn Slough by Kayak: Strawberries, Sea Otters, and Tidal Scour
Sunday, March 27, 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Organizer: Elizabeth Watson (Drexel University) & Kathryn Beheshti (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Trip Capacity: 14
Cost/person: $145.00
Sponsored by: Elkhorn Slough Foundation (Local Land Trust)

This field trip will visit Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, on the border of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. The field trip will include kayaking and hiking at one of the most beautiful and imperiled coastal lagoons in California. The participants can expect to view marine mammals, particularly sea otters, which are prevalent in the slough, and learn about conservation issues and restoration projects occurring at the estuary. Join this unique opportunity to visit coastal marsh, seagrass beds, and woodlands, and learn about the ecology of one of the nation’s most unique estuaries.


 #1-2 The City - A Backside Tour of San Francisco
Monday, March 28, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Organizer: Cindy Nance (Mt. San Jacinto College)
Trip Capacity: 27
Cost/person: $56.85

Join a cultural-historic geographer and eclectic San Francisco taxi driver on a tour of The City's transformative spaces. This guided tour will focus on San Francisco's architecture, art, lifestyles, oddities and eccentricities - beginning with the up-scaling of the Mission District, looking for the infamous Wild Parrots of San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury gentrification and other novelties (lunch/walking tour), Castro revitalization, the Neptune Society Columbarium tour (last remains of an historic 167-acre cemetery) and ending with photo opportunities at the Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge and site of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition - 1915 World's Fair. An odyssey for first-time visitors to San Francisco and those that thought they had seen it all. Please note that gratuities for our tour guide is accepted.


#2-1 Cemeteries of San Francisco
Tuesday, March 29, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Organizers: Lawrence Handley (CNL World) & Catherine Lockwood (CNL World)
Trip Capacity: 35
Cost/person: $40.00

This field trip highlights cemeteries of San Francisco, historic and current locations. We will visit Mission Dolores, the Lone Mountain in the vicinity of the University of San Francisco, and four of the sixteen cemeteries in Colma, a town of 1,400 live and nearly 1.5 million dead residents. We will examine the process of urban morphogenesis and its influence on cemetery development focusing on exclusion and segregation.

#2-2 Scholar-Activists/Activist-Scholars: Cultivating an Ongoing Community of Practice
Tuesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Organizers: Katherine Bradley (University of California, Davis) & Hank Herrera (C-PREP)
Trip Capacity: 29
Cost/person: $49.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Group, Food and Agriculture

As a complement to the two sessions, Scholar-Activists/Activist-Scholars: Cultivating an Ongoing Community of Practice, this field trip will take participants to two sites where the line between scholarship and activism is deliberately being blurred by food justice activists. The two sites, Urban Tilth in Richmond and the Gill Tract Farm in Albany, are sites of learning, experimentation, and food production. Urban Tilth develops local knowledge about agroecological practices and food systems, provides technical knowledge to local urban farmers and gardeners, and is active in local and state food policy councils. The Gill Tract Farm was cultivated by community members who occupied University of California-owned land and is a hub for activists holding the university accountable to its public, land grant mission. Through discussions with farmers and activists at these two sites, participants will understand how the tension between academy-based and community-based scholarship and activism is being negotiated at two important food justice sites in the East Bay.

#2-3 Exploring Natural Landscapes North of the Golden Gate to Pt. Reyes
Tuesday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Organizer: William Selby (Santa Monica College)
Trip Capacity: 27
Cost/person: $95.00

Diverse natural landscapes are found surprisingly close to San Francisco north of the Golden Gate and throughout Marin County. Stops include Marin Headlands views and coast redwoods at Muir Woods. At Pt. Reyes National Seashore, make your own choices for lunch at rustic Pt. Reyes Station. Survey the San Andreas Fault Zone and other Point Reyes landscapes. Experience winding mountain roads, wide ranges of microclimates (prepare with layers), and a long day north of the Bay packed with discussions of geology, weather and climate, plants and animals and human impacts while studying natural and human forces shaping these landscapes.

#2-4 Haunted San Francisco
Tuesday, March 29, 6:40 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Organizer: Lucy Stanfield (US EPA)
Trip Capacity: 19
Cost/person: $20.00

Join your friends and colleagues on the Haunted San Francisco Tour, a nighttime tour that takes you through the seedy, mysterious past of downtown after dark. In the Tenderloin, you'll get chills from tales of our city's unsolved murders, ruthless villains, the old red light district, famed ghosts, cult leaders and more. After the hour-long excursion, the group can debrief at a local bar over cocktails. This tour is led by passionate artist-activist guides from Wild SF Walking Tours, and will include recommendations of their favorite bars, restaurants and stickers, pins, buttons and fun prizes for participants! Note: This tour is not recommended for children and you are welcome to tip the tour guide. *The deadline to register for this tour is February 12th.*


#3-1 North Beach Antique Map Shop Visit
Wednesday, March 30, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Organizers: Jim Schein (Schein and Schein) & Richard Schein (University of Kentucky)
Trip Capacity: 14
Cost/person: $15.00

Private visit to North Beach antique map and print shop, including a short, directed walking tour of North Beach neighborhood followed by a discussion of San Francisco historical development, cartography, and photography by local expert and shop owner Jimmie Schein. Note: this "trip" will begin/meet at 1435 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, participants are responsible for getting transportation to the map shop.

#3-2 Tasting Wines of Central Europe
Wednesday, March 30, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Organizers: Conrad Goodwin (Independent Scholar) & Lydia Pulsipher (University of Tennessee)
Leaders: Gisele Carig (Blue Danube Wine Co.) & Joel Kampfe (Eno Wine Bar)
Trip Capacity: 30
Cost/person: $55.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Group, Wine, Beer & Spirits and Retired Geography Organization

On this field trip we will walk 3-4 blocks to the Eno Wine Bar where we will have the chance to taste a selection of wines from Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and possibly Georgia. Our hosts will be Joel from Eno and Frank and Gisele from the Blue Danube Wine Company. This is an opportunity to sample wines not readily available in many parts of the United States, but which can be purchased and sent directly to your home. Assorted cheeses, charcuterie, almonds, and crackers will be provided.

#3-3 Environmental Justice in Southeast San Francisco
Wednesday, March 30, 9:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Organizers: Lindsey Dillon (University of California, Davis) & Jonathan London (University of California, Davis)
Trip Capacity: 55
Cost/person: $38.00 (includes lunch box)

The field trip will take participants on a “toxic tour” of San Francisco’s southeast neighborhood of Bayview-Hunters Point. The southeast is historically the industrial area of the city, and includes the Southeast Sewage Treatment Plant, a large waste transfer station, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, and hundreds of other toxic sites. The low-income, residential community-of-color is disproportionately and cumulatively impacted by multiple stationary and non-point source forms of pollution. More recently, the community has experienced gentrification due to new up-scale housing and commercial development.
Our tour guides of Bayview-Hunters Point are organizers with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, which has organized in the neighborhood for many years. We will also discuss a new crowd-sourcing web application for community-based reporting of suspected environmental violations, called IVAN (Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods). For more information, contact field trip organizer Lindsey Dillon at

#3-4 Walk and Explore the Heart of San Francisco: The Civic Center and City Hall Dome
Wednesday, March 30, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Organizers: Rajrani Kalra (California State University, San Bernardino) & Nicholas Perry (Planning Department, City and County of San Francisco)
Trip Capacity: 15
Cost/person: $32.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Group, Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group

This walking tour will offer an overview of San Francisco’s historic Civic Center, home to most of the City’s government and cultural institutions. The tour participants will travel by MUNI (tickets included in the field trip cost) so that they get sufficient time to spend inside the civic center and city hall. San Francisco city planner Nicholas Perry will lead the group around and inside some of the area’s major public buildings, culminating with a special guided climb to the top of the dome of San Francisco City Hall. Normally closed to the general public, the top of the dome affords those who make the trek spectacular 360-degree views over the heart of San Francisco. Please be advised: the climb to the top of the dome involves ascending 250 narrow stairs to a height of approximately 300 feet and should only be attempted by persons in good physical shape. Pregnant women, persons with heart conditions, and those with fear of heights should not attempt the climb.


#4-1 Geographies of Beer, Part II: San Francisco Beer Geography
Thursday, March 31, 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Organizers: Colleen Hiner (Texas State University) & Ross Martin (Texas State University)
Leaders: Graham Daly (Texas State University) & Jason Henderson (San Francisco State University)
Trip Capacity: 30
Cost/person: $80.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Group, Wine

On this third annual AAG “beer geographies” field trip, we will explore the geographies of beer in the city of San Francisco. This tour focuses on several breweries located in the South of Market and Mission districts of the city, including the historic South Park and Dogpatch neighborhoods. We will visit four breweries, each with its own unique story and each representing a variety of scales of production and distribution. The field trip combines walking with public transit and will include narration from a San Francisco mobility expert, Dr. Jason Henderson, between tours/tastings.

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes (we will walk approximately 3 miles over the course of the afternoon), carry a water bottle, and bring ~$5-10 for public transit fees as well as enough cash for any desired brewery swag/snacks along the way. All tasting/tour fees and gratuities are otherwise included.

Note: The tour begins at 1:00 PM sharp (please arrive 15 mins early to check-in) at the Hilton and ends at 7:00 PM at Anchor Brewing Company. Participants may choose to return to the conference hotel (on foot, via public transit, or using a taxi/uber) or not at their own discretion.

#4-2 The Once and Future Mission: Historical Traces in a Transforming City
Thursday, March 31, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Organizers: Alexander Tarr (Rice University), Rachel Brahinsky (University of San Francisco) & John Stehlin (University of California Berkeley)
Trip Capacity: 20
Cost/person: $10.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Group, Urban Geography

Join us for a walk into the complexities of gentrification in SF’s Mission District. Discussed internationally as a key site for capital-led urban transformation, the Mission has experienced amplifying waves of displacement, which threaten the erasure of Latina/o, working class, bohemian and queer communities. Still, while the Mission of today is defined by the dominance of the bubbling tech economy, it has also seen the rise of new community tactics for survival and resilience, and rich histories remain. We will emphasize overlooked traces of urban history, which link early colonial incursions to the lives of contemporary diverse working class communities. Participants should bring $5-$10 for public transportation costs.

#4-3 Geographers Explore the San Francisco Exploratorium
Thursday, March 31, 5:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Organizers: John Cloud (NOAA Central Library) & Susan Schwartzenberg (The Fisher Bay Observatory, San Francisco Exploratorium)
Trip Capacity: 50
Cost/person: $34.00

We will ride down Market Street to the Embarcadero in historic street cars, to the Exploratorium, one of the world's most innovative science museums. The Exploratorium will host an AAG special event in their series "Conversations about Landscapes" in the Fisher Bay Observatory, which we'll digest with food and drink and conversation while watching night fall over the Bay and the City. Then, off to Exploratorium After Dark, with acres of exhibits and displays to amaze, to touch and interact with, for the rest of the evening, then another historic street car brings up back to the conference.

#4-4 Made in San Francisco: The City’s Industrial Past, Present and Future
Thursday, March 31, 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Organizers: Teresa Ojeda (SF Planning) & Adrienne Hyder (SF Planning)
Trip Capacity: 27
Cost/person: $65.00

Despite a much diminished supply of industrial land, small manufacturing is growing in San Francisco. This bus tour offers a historical overview of the City’s industrial past, an exploration of enduring factories and a glimpse of emerging production. We’ll ride along the waterfront and through South of Market, past vestiges of warehouses and coffee factories repurposed into offices and housing. Our first stop is a tour of Heath Ceramics in the heart of industrial Northeast Mission. After a brief ride around Dogpatch, where new niche production hums along in old canning plants, we’ll stop for a tour of the iconic Anchor Brewery (in San Francisco since 1898), capping off with a beer tasting. On our way back, we’ll pass through the City’s newest neighborhood – Mission Bay – where biotech and “clean” industries stand next to new residential high rises.

#4-5 San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour
Thursday, March 31, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Organizers: Justin Tse (University of Washington) & David Edgington (UBC Geography)
Trip Capacity: 27
Cost/person: $5.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Groups, GORABS and China Geography

This walking tour of San Francisco's Chinatown covers the largest Chinatown in the United States. It will be of interest to geographers studying ethnicity, race, religion, and China. Food is available throughout, and much street shopping will be involved. The walking trip is sponsored jointly by the Geography of Religion and Belief Systems and China Geography Specialty Group.

#4-6 Tour San Francisco’s Unique Infrastructure - Sunset Solar Reservoir, Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant, Crystal Springs Reservoir, Pulgas Water Temple
Thursday, March 31, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Organizer: Drew Lehman (Environmental Consulting and Education)
Leader: Betsey Lauppe Rhodes (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission)
Trip Capacity: 25
Cost/person: $35.00

Located at the tip of a peninsula, with a highly variable Mediterranean climtate, growing population and close by the seismically active San Andreas Fault, San Francisco faces unique geographic challenges to ensure essential water, power, and sewer services. This tour is led by the San Francisco Public Utility Commission experts and provides unique access to its innovative Sunset Solar Reservoir, Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant, scenic Pulgas Water Temple and Crystal Springs Reservoir - with a talk about bioregional habitat restoration - all astride the San Andreas. This is a rare chance to learn first-hand about the city's $10 billion system-wide infrastructure upgrades and programs to further enhance system reliability.
The tour routes through world famous Golden Gate Park to Sunset Solar Reservoir, the terminus of a 167-mile regional gravity-fed water supply system bringing pristine Tuolumne River water (and clean energy) from Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to San Francisco.
Next, ride along the Pacific to Oceanside Treatment Plant for an overview of the City’s combined waste-and-stormwater system (and possible ocean photo-op). Finally, the 15-mile drive along Route 280 to Crystal Springs reservoir is scenic in itself and parallels the San Andreas. SFPUC experts will brief us on water system upgrades including ongoing bio-regional habitat remediation. We lunch at the (1934) Pulgas Water Temple - built to celebrate completion of the Hetch Hetchy Water Supply system. Lunch is included.
Sunset Solar Reservoir
Oceanside Treatment Plant
Pulgas Water Temple
Crystal Springs Reservoir
This tour builds on Wednesday’s session on San Francisco infrastructure by leading Bay Area professionals. A half-day tour of Recology’s San Francisco Total Urban Recycling Facilities follows on Friday, April 1st.


#5-1 What Were They Thinking? The Pacific Coast of the Northern San Francisco Peninsula
Friday, April 1, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Organizers: Jerry Davis (San Francisco State University) & Leonhard Blesius (San Francisco State University)
Trip Capacity: 27
Cost/person: $39.00

The San Francisco peninsula Pacific coast is a poster child for what can go wrong when moneyed politics trumps science. First, San Francisco's Ocean Beach, and plans for accommodating sea level rise. Then Daly City, home of poorly sited homes with expansive views intersecting the San Andreas Fault, the 2nd largest landslide on the coast, and the worst-sited landfill in the country. Finally, Pacifica's apartments, built on bluffs of sand, that may or not be there by the conference date. Guest: Bob Battalio, PE, ESA. Theoretical framework: geomorphology and engineering. Deli sandwich lunch. Short hikes on coastal bluffs and beaches.

#5-2 Walking Tour of the Retail Occurring near Union Square and the South of Market Area of San Francisco
Friday, April 1, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Organizers: Larry Joseph (West Marine) & Brett Lucas (City of Cheney)
Trip Capacity: 27
Cost/person: $5.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Group, Business Geography

Dr. Joseph and Mr. Lucas will guide a walking tour and discussion of the retail occurring near Union Square, and South of Market neighborhoods. The tour will start with a walk to Union Square (high-end department store retailers), Westfield San Francisco Centre (vertical mall with 1.2 million SF of GLA, including Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s) and the Metreon (opened in 1999 as a Sony "urban entertainment center," with a downtown Target store). Westfield Centre includes many dining options. Throughout the tour, there will be examples of how technology and omni-channel retailing are changing the customer experience. Note of attendees: Please bring cash for lunch.

#5-3 North Beach Antique Map Shop Visit
Friday, April 1, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Organizers: Jim Schein (Schein and Schein) & Richard Schein (University of Kentucky)
Trip Capacity: 14
Cost/person: $15.00

Private visit to North Beach antique map and print shop, including a short, directed walking tour of North Beach neighborhood followed by a discussion of San Francisco historical development, cartography, and photography by local expert and shop owner Jimmie Schein. Note: this "trip" will begin/meet at 1435 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, participants are responsible for getting transportation to the map shop.

#5-4 Cutting Corners: South of Market, A Transformed Landscape (led by Shaping San Francisco)
Friday, April 1, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Organizer: LisaRuth Elliott (Shaping San Francisco)
Trip Capacity: 20
Cost/person: $30.00
Sponsored by: Shaping San Francisco

On this historical walking tour we discuss the social, economic, and cultural forces which influenced the transformation of the South of Market and Mission Bay landscapes where such things as Chinese shrimping, Southern values, political corruption, and literary inspiration thrived in early San Francisco. We traverse 80 foot sand dunes and waterways divided and sold as waterlots, now filled with remnants of leveled hills. We visit a past—and perhaps future—shoreline and learn the names of disappeared hills, points, and creeks, rediscovering communities who called these hills, valleys, and waterways home over millennia. Please bring water and a snack.

#5-5 Street Fight: A Walking Tour of the Politics of Mobility in San Francisco
Friday, April 1, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Organizer: Jason Henderson (San Francisco State University)
Trip Capacity: 20
Cost/person: $5.00

Based on the book Street Fight: The Politics of Mobility in San Francisco, this walking tour will begin at the conference hotel, and walk up Market Street towards Hayes Valley and the Market and Octavia neighborhoods. Along the way we’ll stop at key flashpoints of San Francisco’s politics of mobility, including the transformation of Mid-Market by tech companies, the removal of an urban freeway, parking debates, and the politics of bicycle planning on Market Street. The walk lasts approximately four hours.

#5-6 San Francisco's Road to Zero Waste - Tour Recology’s Total Urban Recycling Operating Facilities
Friday, April 1, 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Organizer: Drew Lehman (Environmental Consulting and Education)
Leader: Deborah Munk (Recology)
Trip Capacity: 25
Cost/person: $30.00

Join this tour and learn about recycling and sustainability in San Francisco - a city that diverts more than 80 percent of waste from landfilling and which, in partnership with the City’s trash contractor (Recology) has a goal of “zero waste” by 2020. The tour starts at Recology’s 47-acre/1,100 ton per day Tunnel Avenue waste transfer station and recycling complex (5 miles north of SFO) and includes a stop at the Household Hazard Waste Facility, a viewing of the transfer station, the organics annex for green and food waste – and other recycling areas. This is also an opportunity to see antique garbage trucks and to meet Artists in Residence – a unique program providing Bay Area artists with access to discarded materials, a stipend, and a large, on-site studio space.
The tour then heads to “Recycle Central” an operating materials recovery facility where plastic, glass, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, tin cans, paper and cardboard are sorted mechanically and by hand. The facility sorts 750 tons of incoming residential and commercial wastes into marketable commodities.
Closed-toe, sturdy shoes are required; pants are recommended. As active industrial recycling sites, the tour may include walking on uneven surfaces and hills.
Note: This Zero Waste tour complements Wednesday’s sessions on SF infrastructure (water, power, sewer) taught by leading Bay Area professionals with a parallel tour of SF Public Utilities (solar, wastewater, reservoir) facilities on Thursday, March 31st.

#6-1 Point Reyes National Seashore, a Working Landscape
Saturday, April 2, 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Organizers: Megan Foster (University of California, Davis) & Laura Watt (Sonoma State University)
Trip Capacity: 14
Cost/person: $121.00

A trip to Point Reyes National Seashore with a discussion on the Seashore’s history and challenges that have accompanied the working landscape. The trip will include a stop at a local eatery near the Seashore to pick up lunches, the Bear Valley Visitor Center and Earthquake trail, the site of the former Drakes Bay Oyster Company, and potentially a visit to one or more of the resident ranches. Participants should be prepared for walking; comfortable shoes, water bottle and money for lunch are necessary. 

 #6-2 Farmers Market Tour
Saturday, April 2, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Organizers: Allison Brown (Rural Geography SG) & Ben Feldman (Ecology Center)
Trip Capacity: 27
Cost/person: $58.00
Sponsored by: AAG Specialty Group, Rural Geography

Join us on a tour of some of the best farmers markets that the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer. We will visit the Alemany Farmers Market, one of the oldest farmers' markets in the state, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, consistently rated one of the top farmers markets in the country, and finally we will cross the bay and visit the Berkeley Farmers Market to see an innovate nutrition assistance program in action. Please note that this tour involves bus travel between markets and walking within the markets. You may purchase lunch and snacks along the route.

#6-4 Bicycle Geographies in San Francisco
Saturday, April 2, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Organizers: Jason Henderson (San Francisco State University) & John Stehlin (University of California Berkeley)
Trip Capacity: 14
Cost/person: $5.00

Join a relaxed-paced bicycle ride through San Francisco from downtown to the Pacific Ocean and back. The tour highlights challenges and opportunities for urban bicycling. Along the way we’ll stop at key flashpoints of San Francisco’s politics of mobility, including the transformation of Mid-Market by tech companies, the removal of an urban freeway, parking debates, and the politics of bicycle planning along the “wiggle,” the Panhandle, Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. The ride is for moderate to skilled cyclists. We will stop for lunch or snacks, and lasts approximately four hours. Bicycle not included, contact for bicycle rental options.

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