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, 20 November 2018

Second year Geographers visit Sheffield

In early November our second year Geography, Human Geography, and Joint Honours students visited Sheffield for two days to complete fieldwork on Urban Geography. The trip was organised by Dr Catherine Waite.
Geography students - and Prof John Horton - enjoying the sunshine in Sheffield!
Through classroom-based sessions the students had learnt lots about urban geography theory and looked examples and case studies from countries including, France, India and the USA. The overnight trip to Sheffield was an opportunity to see some of the changes that are taking place in cities in the UK. 
Sheffield is a great example of a city with accessible public transport, a wide range of types of public space, as well as being a city that has undergone redevelopment and regeneration since the end of World War II.
The Peace Gardens
On the first day in the field the students had the chance to complete guided activities that helped them explore the city centre. On the second day, the students worked in groups to complete a mini research project that allowed them to focus on the issue that they were most interested in learning more about.

Park Hill Flats

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Graduates visit campus to talk about life after uni

Recent graduates have been returning to Northampton to talk to current students about life after university.

We have recently welcomed back Amie, Katie and George, all of whom graduated this summer.

Amie has recently started a PGCE course and is training to be a secondary school Geography teacher.  She talked to current students who are thinking about a career in teaching about her experiences, answering their questions about what teacher training is actually like.

Amie and current students

Katie and George visited a third year class to talk about their contrasting experiences.  Katie is working for Jems Recruitment.  She explained about how the skills developed during her Physical Geography degree are appropriate to the role, and the benefits of working for a small organisation.

George is on the Stagecoach Bus Graduate Leadership Programme.  He spoke about what this graduate scheme involves, and the benefits of working for a large organisation.  George also explained about the recruitment processes used for many graduate schemes.

Katie and George

Alumni visits are an important way for our current students to find out about the career options for geographers, as well as learn about graduate recruitment processes.

Monday, 12 November 2018

First year Geography fieldtrips

Our new cohort of Geography students have been taking part in a number of field trips so far this term.

Students visited central London to develop a tourist trail.  Working in small groups, each took on a different theme for the focus of their trail.
Students in Covent Garden, London

The students have also visited Wren's Nest, Dudley, as part of a physical geography module. The students did some fossil-hunting, then learned to identify the fossils found.
The group fossil-hunting at Wren's Nest, Dudley
Learning to identify the fossils found.

Fieldwork is a great way for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom, as well as providing opportunities to develop geographical and transferable skills.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Third year Geography students learn about the history of childhood

Third year students taking the 'Children's Geographies' module visited London this week.

Students have been learning in class about how concepts and experiences of childhood have changed over time.  To gain a greater understanding, the class visited the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.
The class outside the V&A Museum of Childhood

The class considered the artifacts on display in the museum, and also spent some time playing with the toys!

The class also visited the National Portrait Gallery to consider how depictions of children have changed over time.  The gallery provides an opportunity to look at portraits from the Tudor period to the present day.

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