Welcome

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/.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Dr Joanna Wright leads a field trip at the British Science Festival


Dr Joanna Wright has recently led a fieldtrip at the British ScienceFestival.  She took British Science Association Members to look at the geology and for dinosaur footprints around Scarborough.

This area of the coast has become famous for dinosaur footprints in the last couple of decades.  In addition to dinosaur footprints there are also many plant fossils and burrows.
Footprint of a medium-sized meat eating dinosaur

These rocks were deposited by a delta during the middle Jurassic, about 165 million years ago.  Maybe the plant-eating dinosaurs browsed among the lush vegetation and the meat-eating theropods lay in wait for them.

The group then went south of Scarborough to look at the Holbeck Hall Landslide, which happened in June 1993.

The Holbeck Hall Landslide - slope stabilisation solutions
The landslide was a result of some very heavy rainfall causing the slope underneath the hotel and its gardens to fail.  It was not due to cliff erosions. It destroyed the Holbeck Hall hotel but it has now been landscaped and the toe of the landslide has been protected against the sea to reduce the likelihood of more slipping.  However, some holiday chalets nearby (seen under tarpaulins on the right-hand side of the photo) were damaged due to slope slippage and the failure of a retaining wall in March 2018, and there are currently slope stabilisation operations between the funicular railway and Scarborough Spa.

The Holbeck Hall Landslide

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Second year Geography students go on the trip of a lifetime

Our second year Geography students recently had the opportunity to travel to SW USA.
 
Students at Grand Canyon National Park

They spent two weeks visiting a range of fascinating natural and built environments, learning more about landscape development, resource management and tourism.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Arches National Park
Lake Powell

Highlights of the trip included the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

In fabulous Las Vegas!

You can read more about the trip here.

The trip is available to students on any of our Geography programmes:
BSc (Hons) Geography
BSc (Hons) Geography (human geography)
BSc (Hons) Geography (physical geography)
BA/BSc Joint Honours Human Geography
BSc (Hons) Geography (4 years with Foundation study)

Monday, 23 April 2018

Geography and Environmental Science fieldtrip to Devon

Our Geography and Environmental Sciences students spent a week in Devon doing a variety of field-based activities.

Prof Ian Foster explains the tasks for the day

The base for the week was the Slapton Ley Field Centre.

Students explored a range of topics, such as water quality and landscape development.
Our intrepid students!

The trip provided an opportunity for students to develop their field skills.
Assessing water quality at Dartmoor National Park

A visit to Dartmoor enabled consideration of human modification of landscapes over time.
A lovely sunny day at Dartmoor National Park
Prof Ian Foster explains about the landscape
Lots of different environments were explored during the field week
There was also an opportunity to spend time on the beach - looking for plastics, rather than just soaking up the sun!
Looking for plastic on the beach

Monday, 26 March 2018

Professor Margaret Bates speaks at the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences


Last month Professor Margaret Bates went to Seoul, South Korea - not for the Winter Olympics, but for the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences.

Margaret says: The audience came from all over the world and included researchers and government ministers. There were two Nobel Prize winners amongst the presenters which was somewhat daunting. My presentation focussed on the role of wastes management in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and consisted mainly of pictures which enabled me to talk about whatever the fancy took me.
Professor Margaret Bates
We also had a specially arranged performance from the “Little Angels”, who have performed in front of film stars and world leaders.
A performance by the 'Little Angels'

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Student teaches session on development geography

Final year International Development student Emma Leering came into class to tell first year Geography students about her charitable work with women in Malawi.

Emma talked about the charity she has set up, United Amayi. The charity aims to improve prospects and relieve poverty for women in Malawi through education. The women learn conversational English, enhancing job opportunities.


You can find out more about Emma's work here.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Geography students learn about sustainable housing development

Wrapped up warm!
Final year Geography students recently visited Upton, Northampton, to learn about sustainable housing.

Dr Chris Holt explains about the sustainable urban drainage system
Geography and Environmental Science staff have been researching this site for several years. This trip gave students insights into the sorts of work staff do when not teaching!

Thinking about access to facilities

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Second year Geography and Internation Development students link up with safe house in Tanzania


There are some topics in the geographies of development field that are never easy to deal with and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of these. Instead of delivering a fairly standard lecture on the subject, I decided to involve a charity and a field practitioner in helping me introduce students to the subject at last Thursday’s session.

We began by Skyping Janet Chapman at the London office of the charity Tanzania Development Trust (TDT). Janet is a Trustee and Campaigns Manager of the charity that began its work in 1975. TDT have helped develop the FGM Safe House at Mugumu in north-western Tanzania amongst a range of other projects.

With the help of a set of PowerPoint slides, Janet explained that one of the many challenges facing young girls who wish to avoid FGM is finding their way to a safe house. There are no maps in this part of Tanzania and Janet has made use of online technology and Crowd2Map software to provide accurate maps. The students had the opportunity to join the thousands of volunteers already mapping this region. It soon became a competition to see who could map the most houses.

Fighting FGM at Mugumu, Tanzania. Rhobi talks to villagers at a Roadshow

The highlight of the session was talking to Rhobi Samwelly, TDTs representative in Mara, Tanzania. We used Skype again and had a three-way conversation with her and Janet with students able to ask questions about the safe house she runs and FGM.

It was a fantastic session and I am grateful to both Janet and Rhobi for giving up their time to help us understand a little more about FGM. I am also grateful to the IT support staff who helped me with the technology which worked perfectly.

Kevin Cook, Module Tutor