Newsletter – December 2018


Paradise Lost, Global Warming Report, and Geographers Speak Up

By Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach

As AAG President, Dr. Luzzadder-Beach, notes, recently we have marked the occasion of the containment of devastating fires in California and the publication of the Fourth National Assessment on climate change. In light of these events, she ends her column with hope, thanking those who have contributed abstracts to the AAG Annual Meeting and wishing everyone a “peaceful and rejuvenating holiday season.”

(Photo: CC by-SA 4.0 by Cyclonebiskit)

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AAG Names Rita Colwell as the 2019 Honorary Geographer

Every year the AAG bestows its Honorary Geographer Award on an exceptional leader, to recognize excellence in the arts, research, teaching, and writing on geographic topics by non-geographers. The AAG has named Rita Colwell, the first woman to be director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), as its 2019 AAG Honorary Geographer. Rita Colwell currently is a distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. A pioneer for women in science, Colwell’s internationally recognized research primarily focuses on water and health with particular focus on cholera and infectious disease.

Learn more about the Honorary Geographer.

Career Mentors Needed

career-mentors-300x200-1The advice of a mentor can be instrumental in preparing young geographers for success in today’s competitive job market. The AAG seeks professional geographers representing the business, government, nonprofit and academic sectors to serve as volunteer Career Mentors during the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Career Mentoring sessions will be held each morning of the conference from 10:00 – 11:40 AM in the Jobs & Careers Center. Mentors are expected to answer questions and provide general career advice to students and job seekers interested in learning more about industries that employ geographers, the work geographers perform and strategies for getting into the field.

For additional questions and to volunteer, please contact Mark Revell at the AAG at mrevell [at] aag [dot] org by February 15th, 2019.

More information about the Jobs & Careers Center.


“Focus on Washington, DC and the Mid Atlantic” is an ongoing series curated by the Local Arrangements Committee to provide insight on and understanding of the geographies of Washington, DC and the greater Mid Atlantic region in preparation for the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting.


The Chesapeake Bay: Destruction and Rehabilitation in the Nation’s Largest Estuary

A voyage on a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe provides the setting for RDK Herman of the National Museum of the American Indian to discuss recovery efforts in the Chesapeake Bay and on Tangier Island. The Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, illustrates the ecological challenges facing coastal areas with regards to resource management and anthropogenic change. (Photo credit: Nà’Àlehu Anthony for Oiwi TV)

Read more.

Poster abstracts for #aagDC due January 31! All abstracts editable until February 23

Present a poster at the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting. As soon as your poster is ready, upload the electronic file to our Poster Portal so it can be viewed online well before and beyond your presentation session. In addition, the AAG has set up printing partnerships for discounts on both paper and fabric poster printing to help you save.


NEW Issue of the Professional Geographer:
Articles featuring Venezuela to Oman; Graffiti Abatement to GIS Education

The latest issue of The Professional Geographer is now available (Vol 70, Issue 4, November 2018) with 13 new research articles on wide-ranging topics in geography. Topics include refugeesredistrictinggraffiti abatementcivil rights movements, and GIS education (to name but a few). Study areas include TorontoVenezuelaNew JerseyOman, and New Zealand. Authors are from 19 different institutions including: University of WarsawUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro, and China University of Geosciences.

All AAG members have full online access to all issues of The Professional Geographer through the Members Only page. In every issue, the editors choose one article to make freely available for two months. In this issue you can read Congressional Redistricting: Keeping Communities Together? by Kalyn M. Rossiter, Davis W. S. Wong, and Paul L. Delamater.

Questions about The Professional Geographer? Contact profgeog [at] aag [dot] org.

In addition to the most recently published journal, read the latest issue of the other AAG journals online:

• Annals of the American Association of Geographers
• The Professional Geographer
• GeoHumanities
• The AAG Review of Books

New Books in Geography – November Available! 

New-books1-1This month, the list of new books includes books dealing with political subjects such as authoritarianism, populism, and fascism; manuscripts about Latin America; and texts with subjects as varied as bodies and sea otters. Skim the list to see if there are any of interest or consider reviewing them for the AAG Review of Books.

Browse the whole list of new books.


AAG is Proud to Announce the 2019 AAG Honors

honors and awards

Each year, the AAG invites nominations for AAG Honors to be conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement or welfare of the profession. The AAG Honors Committee is charged with making award recommendations for each category, with no more than two awards given in any one category. The AAG is proud to officially announce the 2019 AAG Honors. Formal recognition of the Honorees will occur at the Awards Luncheon at the 2019 AAG Annual Meeting.

See the Honorees.

Spring Council Meeting Minutes Published

Interested in hearing more about the inner workings of the AAG? Curious to know more about the latest initiatives started by the AAG Council? The 2018 Spring Council Meeting Minutes are now available to read online.


Tim Walz: Former Geography Teacher, Minnesota’s Next Governor

Last month, Congressman and former high school geography teacher Tim Walz (D-MN) concluded a hard-fought campaign and was successful in his bid for governor of Minnesota. He will assume statewide office in January 2019 with a strong history of support for geography and education broadly. During his six terms in Congress representing the southern part of Minnesota, Rep. Walz championed a number of bills to bolster public education policy.

The AAG has been proud to count Rep. Walz as an ally of geography in Congress and we look forward to following his career of continued service. Congratulations, Governor-elect Walz!

GIS Day Resolution

Under the leadership of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) the Senate passed a resolution officially designating November 15th as National GIS Day. In a recent press release, Sen. Hatch recognized the GIS Day Resolution as well as the successful passage of the Geospatial Data Act. Click here to read the press release, which includes the following statement from Doug Richardson on behalf of the AAG:

“The American Association of Geographers thanks Senators Hatch and Warner for the opportunity to work together to shape and pass the Geospatial Data Act (GDA). This legislation will save US taxpayers millions of dollars as it allows government agencies to better coordinate with one another, to prevent duplication, and to procure geospatial expertise, technology, services, and data from across the full range of the dynamic and rapidly growing US geographic and geospatial community.”


Profiles of Professional Geographers

As an Environmental Consultant with Crouch Environmental Services, Inc., Amanda Sankey uses knowledge and skills from her geography degree to help development projects ensure that they are using the most sustainable practices available. More than that, Sankey talks about how geography is integral not only to her career, but her daily life as well in this month’s profile on professional geographers.

Learn more about geography careers.

December Member Updates

The latest news about AAG Members.

Former AAG president Glen MacDonald recently assisted with several reports on the California wildfires despite evacuation from his home. He was featured in a video interview on ABC Nightline as well as in articles in The Daily Beast and Newsweek where he discusses the role of climate change in wildfire generation.

Helga Leitner of UCLA was awarded the Österreichische Ehrenzeichen f. Wissenschaft und Kunst, an Austrian Decoration for Sciences and the Arts, the highest in Austria. She is one of two women and the only geographer to be included. The role of the group of 18 scientists and 18 artists is to discuss societal issues and problems from the perspective of the sciences and the arts, advising the Austrian president and communicating these to the larger public.

Order recent title ‘Geography: why it matters’ by Alexander Murphy and save 20%. John Agnew, UCLA, describes it as ‘A wonderful brief guide to the uses of geography as a field of study at a time when it is all too necessary.’ As a subject concerned with how people, environments, and places are organized and interconnected, geography provides a critical window into where things happen, why they happen where they do, and how geographic context influences environmental processes and human affairs. These perspectives make the study of geography more relevant than ever, yet it remains little understood. In this engrossing book, Alexander Murphy explains why geography is so important to the current moment, and he invites readers to ‘think geographically’, casting a new light on familiar problems. November 2018, Paperback, 9781509523016, 184 pages, $12.95 $10.36. *Use promo code P2018 when ordering through (offer valid until 31st December 2018).

Dr. Shouraseni Sen Roy of University of Miami recently published a paper based on research conducted with funds obtained from receiving a 2017 AAG Research Grant. The paper, published in Weather, is entitled “Spatial patterns of seasonal level trends of groundwater in India during 2002–2016.”


AAG Seeks Professional Geographers for the Powerful Geography Initiative

The National Center for Research in Geography Education (NCRGE)’s Powerful Geography Initiative strives to improve awareness and appreciation of geography’s applicability to student preparation for life, work, and citizenship. One major goal of the study is to gather evidence of how geographic knowledge informs and enhances work and civic engagements in communities across the nation. The AAG invites professional geographers with an undergraduate or graduate geography degree who are working in all areas of business, government, nonprofit or academics to participate in this study.

Participate in the research initiative.

Applications for Editor of ‘The Professional Geographer’ due January 10

The AAG seeks a new editor to lead The Professional Geographer for a four year term starting on July 1, 2019. The new editor will oversee the solicitation, review, and publication of scholarly articles for the journal as well as work with the AAG Council to envision, articulate, and implement a fresh future direction for the journal to expand its reach and enhance its impact.

See the full call.

Upcoming Awards Deadlines – Nominate Deserving Geographers!

December 31st marks the deadline for multiple awards to honor and support geographers in all stages of their careers. Members may nominate their colleagues for the Wilbanks Award for transformational research in geography or the Glenda Laws Award for social justice as well as the AAG E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award for contributions to geography in teaching or research. Students can apply for AAG Dissertation Research Grants and the Hess Community College Geography Scholarship. Those with a geography career are invited to apply for an AAG Research Grant. Nominations are also being solicited for a variety of books in geography awards including the Globe Book Award, the Jackson Prize, and the Meridian Book Award.

Follow the AAG Awards Calendar for Deadlines.


Otis W. Templar, Jr.

The AAG was saddened to hear of the passing of Otis W. Templar, Jr. on May 8, 2018 in his home city of Lubbock, Texas. The first permanent geography faculty hired at Texas Tech University in 1968, he went on to help found the department where he taught for over 45 years. Holding both a J.D. and a PhD, his research focused on arid lands and water law.

Read more.