GeoFest 2016 - Celebrating the Power of Parks and Geography

On November 19th, around 60 teachers, college students, future teachers, and professors came to Monroe Community College to celebrate geography - GeoFest 2016. It was the culmination of Geography Awareness Week. The theme was the "Power of Parks," since this is the centennial of the National Park System. We had several workshops on parks, as well as other geographic topics.

We began the day with a continental breakfast. MCC's Dean of STEM, Dan Robertson, officially welcomed the participants by taking us over to our new GIANT Map of New York. He wanted to give us all some perspective. He had computed that we could fit everyone on Earth (7.3 billion people!) inside Monroe County, if we gave each person around 5.4 square feet of space. That is about the size of our comfort zone. It's also true that the world's population could fit into New York State, if each person was given around 2000 square feet of space, which is the area of a typical American house.

Then the participants went off to experience three workshops on a wide variety of topics - Integrating ELA with Geography, Life in New York Parks, GIS Scholars in Action, Using ArcGIS Online for US History, Getting the Dirt on Soil, Alexander Humboldt, and much more. Many participants stayed for the afternoon session, which featured a taco bar, a raffle, and a nice presentation on the present condition of New York State Parks by Josh Teeter, an educator with the parks.

The New York Geographic Alliance would like to thank all the presenters at this year's GeoFest that made the day successful. All participants left with lessons and resources they can use, including our new module for middle school that uses the Atlas of New York - Legacies of the Erie Canal. We look forward to GeoFest 2017 - at a site to be determined.


Photos from left to right: Dean Dan Robertson on the GIANT Map of New York; Nic Hance explains his project with the GIS Scholars (Rochester City School District); Launching a drone, part of a 4-H workshop presented by Susan Hoskins of Cornell University.