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/.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Students learn about graduate recruitment

Third year Geography students take part in a number of workshops facilitated by the University's careers advisors to help boost their employability.

This week the students tried out some of the activities used by graduate employers at Assessment Centres.

Getting started on the modelling clay activity

The first task was a 'tell me about yourself' activity. Students had 5 minutes to create an object that represents them using modelling clay, and then 20 seconds to introduce themselves to the rest of the group.
A wide range of objects were produced using the modelling clay
A lovely mammoth!

Then groups were given a scenario to read and had to discuss and plan a response to it.  They were required to present their work to the class.

Notes taken by one group in response to the scenario task
Presenting findings to the rest of the class
Careers Advisors and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology provided feedback on students' performance at the tasks and gave tips for how to be successful at Assessment Centres.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Geography and Environmental Science students make film

Geography and Environmental Science students recently worked with staff from the University's Media Production department to produce a film about their experiences studying at Northampton.

The film provides information about their experiences of classes and fieldwork, and about the support they receive from staff.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Geography students are giving older people a helping hand to keep warm this winter

Second years on the Human Geography course have collected 53 pairs of gloves to donate to charity Age UK Northamptonshire, which urgently needs warm clothes for isolated older people in the county.
Students and Prof John Horton modelling some of the gloves donated
The partnership with Age UK came about when the students began exploring research about experiences of poverty and social exclusion in the UK.

Jo Gunnett, Volunteer Coordinator for Age UK Northamptonshire, visited the group to talk about the charity’s work in local communities. Age UK Northamptonshire provides a wide range of services for people in later life, including many who live in situations of chronic poverty and isolation.

Jo also outlined opportunities for students to take part in fundraising and volunteering activities in support of the charity. In response, the Students’ Union Geography Society is planning two fundraisers – a pancake evening for society members, followed by a larger event for students in the spring.

Jo Gunnett from Age UK Northamptonshire, with Prof John Horton

Geography Society president, Gabriella Dyche, said: “When Jo from Age UK explained the situation many older people can find themselves in, it was a real eye-opener for us.

“We were determined to do something to help, and the glove collection is the first of a series of initiatives we are organising.”

For more details about Age UK, visit the website.

This story was first published here.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

University launches Living Lab to help tackle sustainability issues in the local community

A project which connects researchers to members of the local community in a bid to address and tackle sustainability issues has been launched by the University of Northampton, which will further strengthen its commitment to social impact and being a Changemaker Campus.

The Living Lab is a virtual space in which partnerships of researchers, students, external partners, and communities, collaborate to test new technologies, services, products or systems in real-life contexts, with the aim of improving community or environmental outcomes.

It will focus on sustainability across all four of the University's Changemaker Challenges and will develop new relationships, connections and ways of working. It will also provide a framework in which the University can scale its social impact and ensure that local communities are at the heart of its efforts to overcome particular issues that may arise.

Dr Joanna Wright, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Environmental Science, who is leading on the Living Lab, commented "Living Labs have a strong presence in Higher Education and have produced significant opportunities for staff, students and communities, to not only engage in research but to address real issues that affect their lives.

"Linking our Living Lab to the University's strategic Changemaker Challenges provides us with a fantastic opportunity to deliver a Living Lab that is unique in the UK."

Joanna is very keen to involve colleagues from across the University, so if you would like more information, or are interested in getting involved with the Living Lab please email Joanna.Wright@northampton.ac.uk

This article was first published here.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Geographers go fossil-hunting

Geography students have been fossil-hunting over the past few weeks.

Second year students visited Hunstanton as part of their 'Past Environments' module.
Students walking along the beach at Hunstanton

Dr Chris Holt finds an ammonite!
First year students visited Wren's Nest, Dudley. The trip provided an opportunity to learn about the geology of the area and to develop fieldwork skills.

A group of first year students fossil-hunting at Wren's Nest
A Trilobite tail found at Wren's Nest

Monday, 23 October 2017

Third year Geography students visit London

Third year Geography students visited London last week as part of their 'Children's Geographies' module.
At the V&A Museum of Childhood

Our first stop was the V&A Museum of Childhood. We looked at how clothing and toys have changed over time.  There were plenty of toys to play with (Henry was a little too big for the rocking horse!), and it was interesting to see how toys from our own childhoods brought back memories and emotions.
After a lunch break in Trafalgar Square, we visited the National Portrait Gallery

After a lunch break we went to the National Portrait Gallery.  We explored how children were represented in portraits, and how this had changed over time.  You can take a look at these portraits here.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Geographers learn about water issues from India Director of WaterHarvest charity

On Thursday 6th October second year Geography and Development students were joined by Om Prakash Sharma, Indian Director of the charity WaterHarvest.

Om Prakash Sharma, Indian Director of WaterHarvest charity, with students. (Photo: Chris Fidler)

Om gave an illustrated lecture and answered questions on the topic of water harvesting in semi-arid areas of Rajasthan, India. He drew attention to the conflicts between large scale government projects such as the transfer of water from river to river across India and the traditional village scale water harvesting methods such as the taanka and the chauka.

Om is currently visiting the UK and we were honoured to have him join us for the session.