Geography & Environmental Sustainability Department News


Amy Shultis

2020 SUNY Oneonta graduate Amy Shultis majored in biology and environmental sustainability and now works as an environmental scientist for the state of Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality. Read Amy's story here.

Geography Students Get Feet Wet During NOLA Trip

Twelve SUNY Oneonta students got hands-on experience with wetlands restoration during a service-learning trip in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward last week. Working with a nonprofit organization called Common Ground Relief, the students worked to help restore and preserve Louisiana’s disappearing coastal wetlands by planting hardy, fast-growing native plants and removing invasive species in coastal areas imperiled by hurricanes, development and engineering projects that have eroded land and endangered wildlife. Read the story here.


Tyra Olstad publishes essay in the Wayfarer

Tyra A. Olstad (Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability) has published a creative non-fiction essay in the literary magazine The Wayfarer. Olstad’s essay, “What the Soul Is, and Where Hidden,” discusses landscape perception and place-identity in the context of a journey across Alaska’s vast North Slope, from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean. View the essay.


Faculty present papers and students attend AAG conference, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability

Kenneth Johnson, Wendy Lascell, and Tyra Olstad presented papers at the annual AAG (Association of American Geographers) conference in Boston in April, 2017.

The papers were entitled: The European Union After BREXIT (Johnson), Cultural Immersion Service Project in Post-Katrina New Orleans (Lascell), and Art as a Tool for Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Sense of Place in Misty Fiords National Monument, Alaska(Olstad).

Eight Geography majors also attended the conference: Peter Booth, Michaela Bromm, Alysia Brunner, Jason Fanton, Cameron French, Joe LaCourt, Alexandra Reichert and Rebecca Rogers.

Dr. Tyra Olstad publishes creative non-fiction essay

Tyra A. Olstad, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, published a creative nonfiction essay in the Spring 2017 print edition of “The Hopper”, an environmental literary magazine from Green Writers Press. Olstad’s essay, “Topophilia”, expands upon humanist geographer Yi-Fu Tuan’s notion of topophilia — love of place — to describe how relationships with wild landscapes can become crucial parts of personal identity.

Wendy Lascell, Renee B. Walker and James Zians Attend Meeting

Wendy Lascell (Geography & Environmental Sustainability), Renee B. Walker (Anthropology) and James Zians (Psychology) attended the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ annual meeting in San Francisco, CA from January 25-28. They attended to gather information on enhancing high impact practices on campus and to investigate applied learning opportunities for students. They will be presenting information gathered at the meeting to their departments, the School of Social Science and the campus later this spring.


Dr. Trevor Fuller Collaborates Study Abroad Course with NEFU

In early September, Trevor Fuller, Assistant Professor in the Geography and Environmental Sustainability Department, traveled to Yakutsk, Russia to develop a Siberian study abroad field course for SUNY students. Trevor is collaborating with Geography and Indigenous Studies colleagues based at North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk, Russia. The study abroad course will take place next summer. In addition to constructing an itinerary for the Siberian study abroad course, Trevor and his colleagues discussed the establishment of a future COIL project between SUNY students and students from NEFU. Finally, Trevor continues to collaborate with his Siberian colleagues on research regarding perceptions and adaptations of indigenous populations to climate change in the region. This work has been made possible by a Faculty Research Grant (2014) and a StAR Grant (2016).

Service-Learning Course Students Publish Photodocumentary

Students who took service learning course Geography 294: Disaster Geographies of Post-Katrina New Orleans published a photodocumentary to YouTube showing their involvement with non-profit organization Common Ground Relief. Watch the video here.


Dr. Wendy Lascell Presents at Binghamton University

Dr. Wendy Lascell of SUNY Oneonta presented on the topic of hazard mitigation on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. in LH07 as part of the Dean's Speaker Series organized by the Department of Geography. The title of the presentation was: Restoration or Despair? New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Lascell is an Assistant Professor of Geography at SUNY Oneonta. Her research interests include natural hazards, coastal zone management, and medical geography. She has conducted field research in Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Maine and is currently working on a project involving local communities in Peru. Dr. Lascell's work incorporates aerial photography and geographic information systems to improve geographic literacy among students and the community.

Dr. Tyra A. Olstad published essay in new GeoHumanities journal

Tyra A. Olstad, Geography Department and Environmental Science Program, published a creative non-fiction essay in the inaugural issue of GeoHumanities, a journal dedicated to cross-disciplinary scholarship and creative work. In “An Island, a Heron, Jim Harrison, and I: Reading Poetry in Place,” Olstad describes how her experience exploring a remote corner of Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska illuminates her experience reading Jim Harrison’s collection of poems, In Search of Small Gods, and, in turn, demonstrates how poetry and other literary arts can enhance sense of place and place-identity.

The abstract for the article is at GeoHumanities:
"Although many researchers discuss the ways in which poetry and other literary arts can illuminate and influence readers’ perceptions of landscapes and places, few consider the reverse effect—how a reader’s immediate environment can enhance his or her understanding of a text. This creative nonfiction essay interweaves descriptions of the author’s experience in a remote corner of Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska with analysis of the themes from Jim Harrison’s collection In Search of Small Gods, intending to question notions of “appropriate” literature, explore interaction between place-identity and poetry, and show how the rhythms of the real world—birds coming, birds going; tide out, tide in—can bring the written word to life."

Dr. Trevor Fuller Contributes Chapter to a Book

Trevor Fuller, Geography and Environmental Science, contributed a chapter to the book, Urban Sustainability: Policy and Praxis.
He used an environmental justice framework to examine how effective policies and practices are, or have been in producing ‘sustainable development’ or a ‘sustainable community’. Trevor assesses the City of Indianapolis’ efforts to transform a historically disadvantaged environmental justice community into a ‘sustainable community’ and examines environmental justice within the city as a means by which to evaluate ‘sustainable development’. Additionally, Trevor uses Geo-technologies (i.e., GIS) to provide a visualization of the potential environmental risks (and amenities) within the city’s neighborhoods. The risk of a redevelopment approach rooted in economic conceptions of sustainability as opposed to social and environmental conceptions will likely produce a narrowly ‘sustainable’, but broadly gentrified community.

Back to top