Geography and Environmental Studies Department

Geography News

Fellowship Awarded to Dr. Naomi W. Lazarus for Research on COVID-19

The Geospatial Software Institute (GSI)Naomi Lazarus  Conceptualization Project has awarded Dr. Naomi Lazarus a fellowship to support research on COVID-19.  Dr. Lazarus is among 16 researchers from 13 institutions who have received seed grants to tackle COVID-19 challenges using geospatial software and advanced capabilities in cyberinfrastructure and data science. The GSI Conceptualization Project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and carried out in partnership with the American Association of Geographers (AAG) among others.  Technical and cyberinfrastructure support are provided by the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies (CyberGIS Center)  at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

Dr. Lazarus brings her expertise in environmental hazards, spatial statistics, and GIS to the project by conducting a county-level assessment of COVID-19 in relation to age demographics and comorbidities of the exposed population.  She plans to include undergraduate geography majors at Chico State to assist in the preliminary stages of the project with data collection and mapping services provided by GeoPlace.  It is expected that the Geospatial Fellows program will enable diverse researchers and educators to harness geospatial software and data at scale, in reproducible and transparent ways; and will contribute to the nation’s workforce capability and capacity to utilize geospatial big data and software for knowledge discovery. A full list of the fellows, with biographies and project information, is at

An article on mapping the 2018 Camp Fire diaspora by Peter Hansen

A map of the United States has red dots scattered across it showing where people have relocated after the Camp Fire. GIS specialist, Peter Hansen of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Chico State has worked to examine and map the whereabouts of the 2018 Camp Fire survivors and has penned an article for the "Chico State Today" website. This article gives a demographic context to where people have relocated, and help identify policy and planning considerations to adjust to these population fluctuations. 

The article "MAPPING A DISPLACED POPULATION(opens in new window)" by Peter Hansen.

Naomi Klein speaks with Geography and Environmental StudiesProfessors

Naomi Klein with geography and environmental studies faculty members

September 28, 2019

 Award-winning journalist and author, Naomi Klein stopped in Chico on her nationwide book tour.  Following a morning tour of Paradise, she met with Chico State faculty from across the campus (organized by GEOP) to learn from them and to discuss their research on the aftermath of the Camp Fire.  Later that evening, she joined our own Dr. Mark Stemen on stage at a  packed Harlen Adams Theater for a conversation about her new book, On Fire: A (Burning) Case for the Green New Deal.  A recording of that talk is available through the department office.

Pyrogeography in the News

December 19, 2018

Dr. Hankins was interviewed by multiple news sources about pyrogeography and fire ecology in wake of the Camp Fire. The articles, video, and radio broadcast can be found with the links below.

Wildfire scientists say Paradise is a warning - CNN video(opens in new window)

Chico State Professor discusses wildfire - The Orion(opens in new window)

Feet to the fire - Chico News & Review(opens in new window)

The fire next time may not be that far off - San Francisco Chronicle(opens in new window)

Fixing state's fire problem: Costly, complex, next to impossible - San Francisco Chronicle(opens in new window)

Blue Dot 126: Dr. Don Hankins - North State Public Radio(opens in new window)

Opting Outside: GEOP Student Highlight

May 25, 2018Michaela Marr at the BCCER Watershed Tour

Physical Geography student Michaela Marr had the opportunity to relate some of her experiences from the watershed tour at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. This tour was part of a new one-unit class offered to any major. Read the full article on Chico State Today.(opens in new window)

The interdisciplinary aspect made the entire experience even better. Toward the end of their college careers, students often get locked into classes just pertaining to their majors. I think we are hungry for an opportunity to explore other disciplines, escape from the mundane, and get out of our comfort zones. I was itching to get outside of the walls of a classroom, and the watershed tour really helped reinspire me about my major—for all the reasons I chose it in the first place.
- Michaela Marr

Putting Himself on the Map

Tom Mello - Outstanding Grad Student

May 14, 2018

In fall 2015, Tom Mello transferred to Chico State in pursuit of a physical geography degree. He balances life as a full-time student and a full-time dad while also taking an active role in his education with support from a fellow father and Wildcat.  Read the full article on Chico State Today.

Sustainability in Butte County

May 7, 2018

On May 7, 2018 the American Planning Association - California Section awarded its 2018 Award of Excellence for Innovation in Green Community Planning to the Butte County Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Strategy. The SALC Strategy offers a set of living tools to connect Butte County farmers and ranchers to new and emerging financial incentives for implementing sustainable practices that also support agricultural land conservation. The Strategy connects farmers and ranchers to these incentives through an online information library and mapping application. Development of the Strategy was led by Claudia Stuart, AICP, Butte County Principal Planner and lecturer in the CSU Chico Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. Team members included former Geography and Environmental Studies students Jesse Hudson, Gabriel Strelecki, Nick Bateman, Nick Hernandez, and Ren Rosin.

The SALC Strategy was designed to help meet California's key sustainability goals of carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, water conservation, and groundwater recharge within the regional context. To develop the Strategy, the SALC Team researched carbon markets and other climate-change mitigation opportunities; identified registry-approved carbon offsets and other incentive programs applicable to agriculture in Butte County; and produced a library of online brochures to educate and connect local farmers and ranchers to these programs. A key component of the Strategy is the online SALC Mapper. Farmers and ranchers can use the SALC Mapper to find out if their lands qualify for carbon-offset or other financial incentive programs. Other users can learn about factors that influence the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses.

Visit the Butte County website to learn more or to try out the interactive SALC Mapper(opens in new window).

This story was also covered by Chico News & Review(opens in new window).

Students Win Big at CGS 2018!

April 27th-29th, 2018CGS 2018 Group Photo

Six students and four faculty members of the Geography and Environmental Studies department attended the California Geographical Societies' 72nd annual meeting in Sacramento, hosted by Cosumnes River College. We are pleased to announce that out of 31 research posters presented, two of our 2018 graduating seniors took 2nd and 3rd place for their GIS enabled research projects.

Congratulations to Wyatt (Jon) Caldeira, 2nd place, and Carlee Agar, 3rd place!

The posters they presented focused on the California Delta region, looking at sea level rise impacts and organic farming adoption during drought. The posters will be displayed in the 5th floor of Butte Hall during Spring 2018 finals week (5/14 through 5/18).

2018 BSS Student Symposium

geop students at BSS student Symposium
April 25, 2018

Geography Students at the 2018 BSS Student Symposium.

Chico State students’ project on climate change effects will shape local public policy

December 14, 2017

Past and current students featured in a Chico News & Review(opens in new window) article.

APCG in Chico, CA

October 25-28, 2017

The Geography and Environmental Studies Department hosted the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers 80th Annual Meeting. Field trips were led through Downtown Chico, Oroville Dam, local landscapes, and the Gray Lodge Pacific Flyway.

Where exactly is Northern California?

September 14, 2017

Two Geography and Environmental Studies instructors, Dr. Dean Fairbanks and Ryan Miller, spoke on North State Public Radio on where people see the boundary for Northern California. A radio clip and article on the topic can be found on the North State Public Radio(opens in new window) website.

Postcards from Oaxaca's Past and Present

Brady Photoessay
December 6, 2016

Professor Scott Brady's photoessay is featured in Volume 59 of Focus on Geography, a peer-reviewed digital publication of the American Geographical Society that continues in the tradition of the original paper magazine but in a more dynamic and interactive format.

Visit Focus on Geography(opens in new window) to view Professor Brady's photoessay.

Insurgencies and Revolutions

Chase Insurgencies
November 16, 2016

Professor Jacque Chase is co-editor of the recently published book Insurgencies and Revolutions: Reflections on John Friedmann's Contributions to Planning Theory and Practice (Routledge 2017). The book is a collection of essays from scholars who studied with John at UCLA (Jacque's Ph.D. institution), University of British Columbia, and other universities where John has taught. Jacque edited the section Social Learning, Communities and Empowered Citizenship. She contributed a chapter to that section entitled "Fire, ownership, citizenship, and community," based on her study of the local foothills community of Concow. The book was launched at the Associate Schools of Collegiate Planning conference in Portland, Oregon, in November 2016.

Geography Student Steve Ganger Wins Award at CGS 2016

Ganger Award
May 1, 2016

Congratulations to Steve Ganger for winning first place in the Digital Map category at CGS in San Jose this weekend for his story map California State University Chico – Crime and Safety He completed the map last semester in Jacque’s 390 class.

GEOG 440's Bottle Ban Initiative Mention

April 11, 2016

Student Charles Winter and Professor Mark Stemen were mentioned in Action News Now.

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