Steve Bozarth had another busy year studying pollen and phytoliths from sites in northern Belize, Alaska and the American Southwest. He was in New Orleans in February to collect floral materials at Tulane Herbarium for his pollen reference collection of flora native to northern Belize. In March, he presented a paper at the Society of American Archaeology meeting in Denver summarizing his analysis of microfossils from a Classic Period field at Blue Creek, Belize. To date, Steve has found evidence for the cultivation of maize, sweet potatoes and several fruit trees, including cacao, with a grant from the American Philosophical Society. This past summer, he collected sediment samples from another field at Blue Creek, followed by a short vacation on Ambergris Cay. Steve also spent a week in west central New Mexico visiting prehistoric archaeological sites and collecting modern analogs.
Chris Brown is now in his second full year as a new assistant professor. Last summer was spent doing fieldwork in Brazil on two separate projects. One is an NSF-funded project with two political scientists (David Brown at CU-Boulder, and Scott Desposato at U of AZ in Tucson). Chris conducted over 50 interviews with representatives from grassroots organizations of rubber tappers, indigenous groups, and colonist farmers in the state of Rondonia, Brazil, in the Amazon to understand the political effects of World Bank-funded sustainable development projects in the region. He also conducted pilot field work on the expansion of soybean cultivation in the southern Amazon. Chris is working on an NSF proposal involving Kevin Price and graduate students Matt Koeppe and Ben Coles to obtain funding to extend the study over the coming years. The project involves remote sensing, interviews of soybean farmers in the Amazon, and the establishment of a GIS to monitor and analyze this fast growing activity in the region. The team is also working on establishing collaborative research links with the remote sensing group at the University of Campinas in São Paulo State, Brazil. On a personal note, Chris hopes to make it back to Lawrence from the AAGs in New Orleans just in time for the birth of a baby boy. Chris and his wife, Denise Perpich, are expecting the addition in late March.
Stephen Egbert's summer trip to Zambia was certainly the high point of the year for Kathy and him. As part of an ongoing faculty research and training exchange with the University of Zambia led by Garth Myers, a group (Steve, Garth, Terry Slocum, Kevin Price, and Brianna Mercier) traveled to Lusaka in June to present a geotechnologies workshop. Participants were faculty colleagues from the University of Zambia and representatives of various government ministries. Although the largest part of their time was spent in the lab and in the classroom, they were able to take a couple of side trips on the weekends, including an extended drive through miombo woodland in a district east of Lusaka that is undergoing deforestation pressure and a trip to Livingstone and Victoria Falls – it's true that the pictures don't do the falls justice. Kathy and Brianna spent one of their non-teaching days helping at a school for orphans and other underprivileged children on the outskirts of Lusaka. They said it was very moving and very enlightening. A group of four Zambian colleagues came to Lawrence this fall and they will have further exchanges over the next year or two. Despite the economic situation, funding has continued to be available for research. Kansas was one of a handful of states funded this year under the AmericaView Program for remote sensing research and education sponsored by USGS, and KARS is continuing under NASA funding to explore the use of MODIS data for large-area mapping and monitoring. This fall KARS also received a grant from the state's Division of Water Resources to investigate the use of satellite imagery to update their inventory of dams. Geography is fortunate to currently have an outstanding group of graduate students in remote sensing, two of whom have been awarded NASA dissertation research fellowships. Steve's conference travel was a little more limited this year than at some times in the past, although he did make it to the IGARSS conference in Toronto (his first visit to that incredible city) as well as to Cleveland, Washington, and Sioux Falls for AmericaView conferences and meetings. He could write a lot more, but he's not sure that anyone, least of all him, wants this to turn into a family Christmas letter. Besides, he still has a large number of emails to respond to, mostly from Geog. 104 students wondering how they could have gotten A's all through high school but are now getting a D in his class ("after all, it's geography, not physics") and imploring if there isn't anything they can do to get extra credit, just a couple of points… Cheers to everyone.
Johan Feddema is continuing his work on climate change. He received a semester's leave to work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research from January to August in Boulder, CO. Working closely with a number of people at NCAR, he is developing an urban canyon type model for inclusion in the Community Land Model (CLM) which forms part of the NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM). Johan's primary role is the development of databases to represent a number of human impacts on the Earth's surface, and converting these impacts into parameter changes to be included in the models. The primary focus of this research is to model the urban surface, soil degradation and landuse/landcover change from 1870 to 2100, using a variety of data and models. This fall, Johan introduced a new course: Geog 321 "Climate and Climate Change." This course discussed climate change from the pre-cambrian through future GCM simulations of greenhouse gas scenarios and alternative simulations of human impacts on climate including land cover change. He also taught the honors version of Environmental Studies and worked with University of Zambia faculty to set up a GIS project assessing the impacts of copper smelters on the environment. This January, Johan will be going to Zambia as part of the US State Department exchange grant and will help Zambians continue this project there and to give a workshop on water balance climatology and environmental impact assessment.
Peter Herlihy is helping organize three sessions for the 2003 AAG meeting in New Orleans in honor of his advisor Bill Davidson of LSU. Invitees and other students of Davidson will contribute to a volume that Peter will co-edit with Kent Mathewson (LSU) and Craig Revels (LSU). Another volume he edited with Greg Knapp (UT-Austin) on Participatory Mapping in Latin America should appear as the Fall issue of Human Organization, including two articles he wrote on the theme. Peter is also the contributing editor for the "Central America and Hispanic Caribbean" section of the Handbook of Latin American Studies at the Library of Congress, where he visited earlier this year. Peter, Laura, and daughter Simone love living in historic downtown Lawrence. They all wish you readers (and former students) the best for the holidays and New Year. Peter's graduate students are making progress. Derek Smith (now at Carleton University-Canada) and Roberto Castillo (at University of Costa Rica) should graduate in May, finishing their dissertation studies on indigenous Buglé hunting in Panama and on the culture history of the indigenous Maleku in Costa Rica, respectively. Roberto (under a University of Costa Rica grant) will return to KU for the Spring '03 semester to finalize his degree work. Elmor Wood defended his MA thesis and is presently working on an ecotourism project in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in the Honduran Mosquitia, where Ratna Radhakrishna (under a Fulbright Grant) is presently doing her dissertation research on the gendered use of resources. David Cochran (with a NSF DDI and Fulbright grants) finished his dissertation field research and he is presently working on a post-doc in Basel, Switzerland (with Syngenta) developing a geographical database and user interface while writing his first draft.
Robert McColl is pleased to hand over the Department in what he considers to be VERY GOOD shape to the new Chair. The department had more promotions and additions than at any time he can recall. And, the department has continued its historic strengths in Cartography and Area Studies, but in association with and including an increased use of Remote Sensing and GIS. Geography has also fared VERY well in a period of financial crises. He has donated his personal collection of Chinese maps and atlases to the AGS Collection in Milwaukee. He strongly urges anyone not familiar with this outstanding collection and resource to learn about it. It really is one of our national treasures, especially for Geographers. Personally, he will spend the first month or so resting, relaxing, reading and writing in Costa Rica. In April, Bob and his wife will return to Turkey for 3 weeks of travel and research in the Central Anatolian Plain and by Gulet along the coast - over various drowned Roman and Byzantine cities. Then he will probably return to China to document how the Chinese are reclaiming land from the sea as a means of feeding their population. And, he continues collecting ancient coins as a "window" onto ancient regional and political geographies. In short, there is plenty to keep him busy and enjoying life. And, despite urgings to become active politically he has been wise enough to keep his ego in check. However, he did purchase a 1937 Rolls Royce reportedly used by Eisenhower as a staff car in WWII. This was his retirement gift to himself. It will be fun to maintain it and visit various events in "style."
This has been a hectic fall for Garth Myers. He has completed the proofs for his book, which will be published in February 2003 (Verandahs of Power: Colonialism and Space in Urban Africa) with Syracuse University Press. He has hosted four guests from the University of Zambia on the exchange program funded by the Department of State. Garth is set to do his research in Zambia, with his whole family along this time, from December through the end of January. This is the first leg of his 2002-3 Fulbright Africa Regional Research Program grant. The second leg will take them to Tanzania for May-August 2003 where he will be making a comparison of the Sustainable Cities Program in two of its Demonstration Cities, Lusaka and Dar es Salaam, as well as its satellite cities in Tanzania, one of three countries in the world to have incorporated this UN program into urban planning as a national-level program. In between all of this, he will be teaching his usual load and watching his older daughter become a soccer superstar while his youngest daughter runs around with balloons on the sideline. A full life, to be sure.
Barbara Shortridge reports that this has been a busy year. She co-directed a Hall Center for the Humanities Faculty Colloquium on Food and Culture during the spring semester. Critiquing an interdisciplinary set of research papers related to various aspects of food was stimulating. Barbara presented a paper on the cuisine of the Great Plains at the Association for the Study of Food and Society's annual meetings in Chicago. She has spent most of the year writing about the foodways of this region, one with more internal variation than expected. She reports that the iced tea line is farther north than you may think and that preferences for beef dishes dominate in the Great Plains, of course, with roasts in the north and chicken fried steak or barbecued brisket in the south. For those of you contemplating a home remodeling project, even using a general contractor, Barbara advises you to think again. What started out as fixing a buckling bathroom wall in July evolved into a classic, multi-month process that is just now winding down. Refinishing the oak floors and installing new hardwood flooring in the kitchen led, of course, to moving everything that was upstairs to the basement temporarily (and hurriedly). Barbara says she has yet to find many items such as table linens and curtains. But the new dining room windows, storm doors, more bookcases in the living room, can lighting in the kitchen, and the paint job are fantastic and maybe worth the upheaval.
Pete Shortridge is happy to report three successful dissertation defenses in 2002: Dave Schul (who is teaching at Ohio State-Marion), Soren Larsen (Georgia Southern), and Lang Smith (Slippery Rock). All this manuscript reading provided a break from the ongoing writing of his book about urban rivalry and city development in Kansas, but this project is nearing an end at last. One spinoff from it, "The Missing Railroad Cities Along the Union Pacific and Santa Fe Lines in Kansas," has just appeared as a chapter in a book from the Kansas State Historical Society. Pete's previous book, Our Town on the Plains, won one of the AAG's first two publication awards at the Los Angeles meeting, the volume that "best conveys the nature and importance of geography to the nonacademic world." Beyond the academics, he has kept busy moving daughter Kate to Winona State University (Minnesota) for her first teaching job and in repainting the interior of 1311 Engel Road (lots and lots of white woodwork).
Terry Slocum is busy working on the second edition of his book, now entitled Thematic Cartography and Geographic Visualization. Wasn't he doing that last year? Yes, but now he is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, especially with the help that he is receiving from Bob McMaster, Fritz Kessler, and Hugh Howard. When not working on the book, Terry has assisted Dan Cliburn and Jim Miller (computer scientists) and Johan Feddema in developing software for a wall-size display to visualize a water balance model for the world. So far, they've had a couple of papers published, and are working hard to get funding for their work. Currently, Terry is funded through an NSF grant involving GIS and education - he is working with Steve Case, Steve White, and Tom Baker in the School of Education.