Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Field trip to Dovedale

On 23rd September Geography and Environmental Science students visited Dovedale. This was an opportunity for the new first year students to get to know each other – and to meet some second and third year students. The trip also involved making observations in the field and carrying out research.

Planning the route

Great weather for a walk

Crossing the famous stepping stones

Taking a breather

More photos can be viewed here.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Adventure Bears and the great outdoors...

Dr John Horton, Dr Faith Tucker and Dr Michelle Pyer recently hosted a conference on ‘The Great Outdoors? Children, Young People and Families in Natural and Rural Spaces’.

The conference provided an opportunity for academics from a range of disciplines (including geography, education, law and psychology) to share their research.  The conference attracted researchers from as far afield as Ohio and Wollongong.

Topics discussed included the commodification of woodlands, walking as a way of connecting with nature, Forest Schools, and outdoor playspace.  Prof Helen Lomax (Institute for Health and Wellbeing) gave a workshop on using visual methods to explore children’s use of outdoor spaces.  Tracy Hayes (University of Cumbria) ran a session on using story-telling as a means of exploring connections to nature.  Tracy explained how she uses 'adventure bears' to encourage children to talk about their experiences.

The ‘adventure bears’ used by Tracy Hayes (University of Cumbria)
as a means of encouraging story-telling

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Prof Ian Foster carries out research in South Africa

During the summer Prof Ian Foster spent 10 days at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, supervising a PhD student, Jordan Miller, with Professor Kate Rowntree.  (Kate is a Visiting Professor at the University of Northampton.)
Prof Ian Foster

The research focuses on sediment source tracing in the KrugerNational Park in Mpumalanga State. Here we sampled sediments from dry ponds and collecting samples of soil from different geological outcrops under the watchful eye of our armed ranger, Thomas, who kept a lookout for the Big 5 and other wildlife to make sure we could do the work efficiently and safely. One of the best research trips ever - not only ALL the big 5 in one day but hippo, cheetah, kudu, impala...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Sharing Futures

Dr. John Horton is one of the partners in an exciting new project – ‘Sharing Futures’ (or, in Portuguese, ‘Partilhandø Futurøs’!) – funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. This project will bring together Brazilian Engineering Scientists and British Human Geographers to share expertise, develop learning/teaching resources and trial innovative research methods.

Dr John Horton welcoming people to the Sharing Futures summer school
An exciting programme of activities is planned for 2015-16. For example, on 24-26th August, John helped to co-organise a three day summer school at University of Birmingham. The event brought together 25 international researchers interested in interdisciplinary and multigenerational approaches to sustainable urbanism. Delegates enjoyed presentations by leading thinkers and practitioners in this field, and engaged in some really productive and interesting discussions. Skype networking and presentations enabled delegates to engage with cutting edge research ongoing in São Paulo.

Delegates also went on a field trip to see examples of sustainable urban development in Northampton and Milton Keynes. At Upton Meadows, Dr. Janet Jackson gave a fascinating tour along the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS), while Henk van Aswegen of MK Discovery Centre provided a wealth of information about Milton Keynes’s eco-houses, landscapes, urban extensions, roundabouts and concrete cows!
Dr Janet Jackson explains about sustainable urban drainage systems and biodiversity in Upton

Attendees of the summer school, at the end of the tour of Upton

For more information about the ‘Sharing Futures’ programme, see: http://www.sharing-futures.com/