CSU, Chico News

Geography and Planning’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Slated for Sept. 5–7

Date: 08-29-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs

Field trips, walking tours and a campus geocache hunt are on the docket for the Department of Geography and Planning’s 50th anniversary celebration at California State University Chico, slated for Sept. 5–7, 2014.

About 170 alumni are expected to attend the weekend’s events, which take place in and around Chico, said department chair Dean Fairbanks.

A number of field trips and tours will be offered, including two on Saturday, Sept. 6. From 10–11 a.m., alums can participate in a self-guided geocache tour on campus using geographic information systems (GIS) to find hidden items.

From 11 a.m. to noon, attendees can take part in a historic walking tour of the south-campus area using GIS data collected by department alumna Heidi Ogle. The data overlays historic maps dating back to 1860, giving viewers a sense of the area’s physical changes over time.

The weekend’s culminating event is a department colloquium and lecture Sept. 6 at 2:30 p.m. featuring the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences’ 2012 Distinguished Alumnus, Robert Christopherson. A 1969 geography and history alum and leading author, Christopherson will give a presentation titled “Climate Change Update: The Power of Science.”

The celebration concludes with three tours on Sunday, Sept. 7, including tours of the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve and Lower Bidwell Park.

The Department of Geography and Planning has played an important role in the development of both the University and the local region, Fairbanks said.

“We went back through the special collections (at Meriam Library) and realized there’s always been a geography instructor on campus — since 1889,” he said. “Even the first students of the Chico Normal School were required to take 20 weeks of geography and training.”

Fairbanks said the development of laws like the California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act helped spur the department’s founding in 1964.

“We saw all these natural resources and cities and counties that needed planning to grow and respond to these laws, and this department grabbed on to that and took it forward,” he said. “Every city and county planning board in the North State have our alums on them. It’s really amazing to see what has been produced from this place.”

A complete itinerary and registration information for the 50th anniversary celebration is available at csuchico.edu/geop/50th%20Anniversary. To learn more about the department, visit www.csuchico.edu/geop.


Photo: Chico Normal School geography field trip, 1903.