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/.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Geography students visit SW USA

Second year Geography students have just returned from trip of a lifetime! They spent two weeks in Nevada, Arizona and Utah as part of the USA Field Module.

The students learned about tourism, geology and landscape development, and resource management.
Learning about tourism and Route 66 in Arizona

Visiting Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

They visited a number of National Parks during the trip, including the Grand Canyon.
Smiling despite the rain!

The traditional Grand Canyon group photo

Admiring Delicate Arch (Arches National Park)

The glorious Bryce Canyon National Park

The group travelled through iconic landscapes, such as Monument Valley.
At Monument Valley
There was also an opportunity to learn about adventure tourism through rafting on the Colorado River in Moab, Utah.
Rafting the Colorado River

Towards the end of the trip the group spent some time in Las Vegas, learning about the unique tourist experience offered by the city.


The group's Twitter account of their trip can be viewed here (no login necessary).

Monday, 10 April 2017

Waste Management student undertakes work shadowing placement at SRCL

Final year Waste Management student, Stephen Anuge, recently undertook a work shadowing placement with SRCL.  SRCL is a leading healthcare waste services provider. The placement was organised by Dr Terry Tudor, a Senior Lecturer in Waste Management.

Read all about Stephen's work placement here.

Read more about Dr Terry Tudor's work supporting student employability here.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Northampton graduate returns to campus to talk about her work on health and development


Sonia Coates is a graduate of the University of Northampton and now works as a consultant for IOD PARC, a development consultancy based in Sheffield. Sonia recently returned to class to talk about her experiences as a development consultant.
Sonia Coates
Sonia is currently a team member working to provide technical assistance and Institutional support to UNICEF India for their reducing Open Defecation programme, and has recently completed a piece of participatory research looking at the impacts of WASH on education for girls in Zimbabwe for Plan International. She has experience of managing multi-country projects across sub-Saharan Africa and has also worked in S E Asia. She has a Masters in Public Health and International Development.

The session was illustrated with material from Sonia's work in Malaysia, Nepal, India and several sub-Saharan countries. She discussed various issues, including Water and Sanitation, child health, infectious and neglected tropical diseases.

Sonia answered students' questions on careers in development - and provided some top tips for those interested in working in this sector.
Sonia's top tips for developing a career in International Development


Friday, 3 March 2017

Geography students learn about the challenging issues surrounding Female Genital Mutilation


Dr Kevin Cook reports on a recent class about the challenging issues surrounding Female Genital Mutilation...

As I move towards the end of my second year module on Geography and Development, I have the opportunity to deal with some of the more challenging issues that face the world. I wanted to try to cover the complex issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) but was keenly aware of my limited understanding of the issues involved and wanted to provide a view from the Global South delivered by ‘practitioners’ working in the field.

I had heard about the excellent work of the UK charity Tanzania Development Trust (TDS) and knew that they worked with communities on FGM. I contacted them and Janet Chapman, Campaigns Manager and Project Officer, kindly offered to set up a Skype session with my students. We linked up with Egle Marija Ramanauskaite in London and Rhobi Samwelli, the TDS representative in the Mara Region in Tanzania.
Tanzania Development Trust logo
The twin highlights of the session were being able to talk directly, via Skype, with Rhobi Samwelli. Rhobi manages a safe house at Mugumu in Mara region for young women who wish to escape the horrors of FGM. The UK students were able to ask Rhobi detailed questions on FGM; questions that I would have been unable to answer.

The second highlight of the session was being able to take part in the online mapping project that Janet is looking after. One of the many problems facing young girls who wish to avoid being cut, is to find their way to the TDS funded safe house at Mugumu. There are no maps to guide them and Janet is using the mapping software package, Openstreetmap, accessible online and on phones.


Students were allocated a small un-mapped square and it soon became a competition to see who could identify the most buildings, roads and paths from the satellite images and transfer them to the base map. Their efforts will be confirmed on the ground later.

Over 900 online volunteers and 199 local mappers are now involved in the project – make that 925 with the University of Northampton students added. They have mapped an area of 14,248 square kilometres and added 5 towns and 169 villages and hamlets, 42,128 km of roads and tracks and 700,000 buildings. Countrywide the project has added 12,294 schools and 162 clinics.

Having better maps helped prevent 2257 girls from being cut in the 2016-17 season. However change is a slow process. 1076 girls were still cut, down from 3700 the previous year and 4 girls died, down from 12 last year.

Many thanks to everyone who made this session possible and especially to Janet, Egle, Rhobi and the GEO2006 students.

Anyone wanting to get involved in this work should contact Janet at j.chapman@tanzdevtrust.org

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Guest speaker tells students about research on agriculture and NGOs in northern Ghana



Rachael Taylor, a post-graduate research student at the University of Sussex, gave a guest lecture to Geography students on  her research in northern Ghana. Rachael is examining ideas associated with what is known as 'adaptive capacity' - how subsistence families adapt to change.
The lecture covered a range of topics (source: Rachael Taylor)
She provided examples of NGO action and showed how this can vary from highly successful and sustainable, to poor and unsustainable.
Learning about diverse agricultural livelihoods (source: Rachael Taylor)
There were opportunities for the class to ask questions about her research and to learn more about the work of NGOs.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Evaluating accessibility on campus

First year Geography students have been learning about accessibility issues on campus. The project links to classes on geographies of disability, and staff research on accessibility issues.

Some groups borrowed a wheelchair to help them evaluate campus spaces. They took measurements of slopes, door widths etc, and tried negotiating particular pathways and corridors.

Thinking about how the angle of slopes can help or impede wheelchair access
Trying popular routes around campus
Thinking about the width of pathways
Other groups used goggles to help them understand the experiences of people with common visual impairments. They thought about challenges related to climbing stairs, reading signs, and crossing roads.
Using goggles to help give some insights into some common visual impairments
This project work has been supported by the University's ASSIST team, who provide support to students with a wide range of disabilities and additional needs.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Geography programmes accredited by Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)


In December 2016 we heard the great news that our Single Honours Geography programmes have been accredited by the the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).




Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in geographical knowledge and skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of the world beyond higher education. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

To find out more about our Geography programmes click here, or come to one of our Open Days.