Friday, April 4, 2014

Do it for Denmark

An interesting campaign to tackle low birth rates in Denmark, which could well have been an April Fool's joke given the date...
Called Do it for Denmark, it is being organised by a travel company in Denmark, and those who participate in the scheme have a chance to earn prizes if they can prove that they conceived a baby while on holiday with the firm.


An interesting one for pro-natal population policies.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Greater London National Park

A campaign is launched today which suggests an obvious move forward for our capital city: a designation as the country's newest National Park.



We see no reason why London shouldn't join the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Norfolk Broads as having a designation as a National Park.
The city has a breadth of habitats, and a diversity of wildlife that rival some of the existing parks. Check out the new WEBSITE to find out more.

From the press release...


The Greater London National Park* was launched today, celebrating the importance and diversity of London’s urban habitat. It may sound like an April fools joke, but it is not.

It is only a “notional park” for now, but geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison is calling for the public to back the idea.“There is this idea that a National Park has to be remote and rural, but cities are incredibly important habitats too. An amazing 13,000 species of wildlife can be found in London’s open spaces which together make up 60% of the Greater London National Park*. In London we have peregrine falcons, 13 species of amphibian and reptile, pigeons, over 8 million people and countless dogs and cats too. The Greater London National Park* celebrates all life.

”National Parks are currently funded by central government to conserve and enhance natural beauty, wildlife and their cultural heritage; and promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public. These objectives could be applied to a city like London as well the countryside.
Raven-Ellison makes clear that he is not proposing any changes to planning policy in the capital, or that the Greater London National Park* would have the planning powers that so many residents in current National Parks dislike.
“I am proposing a new kind of National Park – an ‘urban’ National Park that would aim to conserve and promote London’s awesome ability to be dynamic, innovate and evolve. The Park’s role would be to inform and inspire best practice, while helping to better co-ordinate and promote London’s biodiversity and recreational opportunities, especially those in outer London.”
Raven-Ellison, a geographer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, argues that the park would create a new way to see and think about London.
“How would being a National Park change the way we live, work and play in the city? How would we educate children, design buildings, plan health services or create new leisure activities differently if we started thinking of London as a National Park?”
“It’s a bit of an outside-of-the box curve ball, but sleep on it and you will realise what a great idea it is. Being the world’s first National Park city would celebrate and consolidate London’s position in the world as a leading, green world city that invests in the health and wellbeing of its people, which is great for both new and mature business and employees. Besides, wouldn’t you like to live in London and a National Park at the same time? I know I would!”
Raven-Ellison is asking the public to support his idea by adding their name to www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk (GLNP).
*Officially just a Notional Park.


Click to enlarge

You can HELP SPREAD THE WORD in a number of ways.

The project has already featured on the National Geographic website.


Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London

I'll show you something to make you change your mind



Ralph McTell

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cultural Geography



Music for Earth Hour...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Extreme Environments e-book

One of the things about being a prolific blogger is that things you write disappear off the main section of the blog quite quickly.
I thought it was worth reminding you of something that I created a while back with the guy on the left here...

A couple of years ago, Richard Allaway and I created an eBook on Extreme Environments.

It is perfect for revision, and as we come closer to REVISION SEASON you may want to download it, as thousands of other people have already done.

Now available in over 50 countries...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

DISTANCE... we've come a long way...

Distance stands for:
Demonstrating the Internet of School Things: a National collaborative experience

It's a project that I've been involved with along with a group of partners including INTEL, Sciencescope, CASA at UCL and the Open University.
Helen and Tom from Explorer HQ have worked with me to produce some exciting ideas, supported by Mark, Dan, Paul and other colleagues from Explorer HQ on the technical side.

We've been working to create educational materials for the schools involved in the Pilot, and ultimately schools all over the country.
Click the Resources tab on the website, and you will find that you can see some of these...
They would be useful to adapt even without access to the kit that the schools had.

The website has developed tremendously since the start of the project...

Follow Apps > Dashboard to see some of the live data feeds from the project.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Museum of British Folklore

Reclaim the Forgotten
Cherish the Neglected
Treasure the Abandoned
Encourage the Overlooked
Adore the Unfashionable
Re-invent the Unwanted
Champion the Unloved
Value the Rejected

If this museum gets the go-ahead I'd be pleased to work as the Education Officer :)


Museum of British Folklore from Tom Chick on Vimeo.

Innovative Geography Teaching Grants

Delighted to say that I've been awarded one of just two of these awards handed out this year, given out by the Royal Geographical Society, to work on a collaboration jointly with Dr. Benjamin Hennig from the University of Oxford on a project related to the Census of 2011.

Ben is the genius who created the Worldmapper cartograms, and creates maps at Views of the World.
He is now working at one of the finest Geography departments in the world, and it is a real privilege to get the chance to work with him.
Our project is called LondonMapper: exploring a World city through Census Data

The Census 2011 produced billions of pieces of data, and by focussing on London past, present and future we will explore ideas related to London and its place in the world, and guide students on an exploration through the Census data and present them with some decisions that need to be made, which will shape London's future...

Our work will connect with, and expand on the nascent LondonMapper project.

Look out for more new maps like this one



Some more interesting London-based news coming in the next month or so too....

Sailing in the wake of Hugh Miller

I've been reading quite a bit about a man called Hugh Miller in the last few weeks.
He was a geologist and storyteller and had a fascinating life.

Now you have a chance to sail through the Scottish Highlands on a voyage of discovery...

The voyage is being organised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh are offering unique opportunity for young Earth scientists to follow the journey of Hugh Miller in "The Cruise of the Betsey".

On 6 September 2014 Leader, a wonderful old Brixham Trawler built in 1892 (www.trinitysailing.org/vessels/leader/), will set sail from Oban heading north for the Small Isles in a one-week voyage in homage to Hugh Miller and his Hebridean tours, described in his classic book "The Cruise of the Betsey". The boat sleeps 19 people including 4 crew members, and will be filled with an inter-generational mix of geologists, geographers, artists, writers, ecologists, storytellers and historians (including a Gaelic speaker). The voyage will take the form of a mobile conference during which each participant will apply their own talents and interests in celebration of the achievements of Hugh Miller, and the landscapes, seascapes and cultural history of the Hebrides. The reward for the successful applicants will be to broaden and deepen their appreciation of Hebridean geodiversity, but also to gain new and probably unexpected perspectives on the geology, landscape and people of this beautiful sea-bound realm.

The Geological Societies of Glasgow and Edinburgh will fund up to four berths on the boat for young people (aged 16-30) studying Earth science, who have a research interest in the area or in a subject related to Hugh Miller, and a passion for sharing and communicating geology, landscape and/or Hebridean culture to a diverse audience.

Dates: Saturday 6 to Friday 12 September 2014; you will need to be in Oban ready for embarkation on the morning of Saturday 6th.

Costs: £500 per berth (including all food during the voyage) plus travel costs to/from Oban. 


Grants from the two Geological Societies will meet most of these costs but you may be expected to make a modest contribution.

How to apply: Email Simon Cuthbert, Honorary Secretary, Geological Society of Glasgow for more details at simon.cuthbert@uws.ac.uk by 31 March 2014.


Now listening...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New book published...

Author copies of my new book for Collins have just arrived.
Aimed at KS2/3 boys to get them reading, but also readable by all age groups and girls too...


Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter is coming...

I'm about to head into a catch-up of the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, as the 4th season starts on Sky Atlantic. I don't have Sky, so this is my option for catching up with a lot of my colleagues...

I've got a large poster map for my classroom wall, and a proposed unit on mapping of fictional landscapes, which will also form part of my presentation at the SAGT conference later in the year.

There's also been a rise in tourism in Iceland and Northern Ireland: two of the key locations where the series is made.
(Thanks to Rebekah Chew for the tipoff here)


Iceland's tourist board says it's seen an increase in the number of people wanting to go on tours of locations where the show was shot.
While, the film industry in Northern Ireland says it's helped increase employment in the area. But it's also helped spread the country's cinematic reputation around the world.
Meanwhile I've got the first book on my Kindle, and am looking forward to reading ahead from where I stopped so that I didn't give away too much of what is to come...

"Winter is coming..."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Crafty Explorers now open...



The Geography Collective along with City Farmers and Explorer HQ have moved to the second stage of a Design Council competition for social enterprises called ‘Knee High’. The name refers to the age group which this project targets: pre-school children or those in Early Years.
The second phase of the competition has enabled the funding of a ‘pop-up shop’ or more accurately perhaps an activity centre which is located in the London Borough of Southwark, in an area called Nunhead, which is close to Peckham.

Nunhead Corner
26 Nunhead Lane
Southward
SE15 3QR

Dan Ellison and Helen Steer have worked amazingly hard to get the premises up and running in such a short time scale.

For five weeks, the shop is open the usual shop hours, and welcomes children of all ages, but particularly those who are young explorers and their parents.

The concept is really simple, and is beautifully executed.

The shop is decorated with the distinctive and rather wonderful art of Tom Morgan Jones, who also illustrated the Mission:Explore series of books, which are for sale.

Visitors to the shop are given a tray with a ‘workflow’ printed on it, and the crafty Fox logo of the Crafty Explorers. A lump of clay and some natural materials, which include senna pods, pine cones, feathers and other sculptural shapes can be added: some are free of charge and some are available for a cost, or appropriate donation.
There are also ‘boggly eyes’ which turn any piece of clay into a creature. 
Each crafty creation has its moment of glory as it is photographed, and added to the 'wall of fame'.

Once the creature has been named, parents and children are then given three challenges using a combination of stamps. The mat that was used to mould the clay on is folded to become a mission booklet, which is used to record the adventures.

At the rear of the shop, a huge map of the area drawn by Tom is used to show the visitors the open green spaces which are nearby. The site is ideal for this, as there are a number of parks, greens and other open spaces within easy walking distance of the ‘shop’. On returning, children are given a stamp and asked to put a sticker on the large map to show where they completed their missions.
Coffee and snacks are available to purchase at a very low cost, and you can enjoy the crafting or a hot drink, while sitting on the most awesome grass covered tables and chairs.

I visited on the first day of opening, and despite having had no real advertising, there was a steady stream of curious people through the doors.
For more details about what the Crafty Explorers get up to over the next five week, visit them at:



You can also follow what we get up to on Twitter @CraftyExplorers

Glaciers giving up their secrets...

A couple of years ago, my book 'The Ice Man' was published, telling the story of Otzi the Ice Man, whose body was found high up in the Alps following the melting of a glacier which had covered his body for millennia.
The steady melting of ice cover in many locations around the world is revealing bodies that are sadly far younger than that...

The most recent discovery was reported this morning in the Telegraph, and tells the story of Jonathan Conville, who disappeared on the Matterhorn in 1979.

I wonder what other discoveries remain to be made as other ice masses melt away.

Finally, don't forget that Matt Podbury is developing a nice scheme based on my book.

Middle East... what can you add ?

Add an idea or resource here to help prepare for teaching what is for many an unfamiliar location...