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Outreach and Extension  

The Department of Geography is actively bringing geographic knowledge and perspectives to the public and introducing K-12 students to service activities. Some of our activities are conducted in collaboration with faculty in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation and with the service organizations described below. Geography faculty have been active in leadership for these organizations and in organizing the activities listed below:

  • Faculty-led service learning courses that partner Virginia Tech students with organizations such as Harding Avenue Elementary, the Virginia Department of Health, Micah’s Backpack, Head Start, YMCA/YWCA, and the Humane Society
  • Geospatial outreach for public events on campus, including the Virginia Science Festival and Kids’ Tech University, a one-day program that introduces middle school students to science and technology
  • Workshops throughout the state that introduce government employees and workers in private industry to tools for data analysis and remote sensing applications
  • Design and installation of a geospatial exhibit at the Blacksburg Children’s Museum, which features a 10 x 15 ft. Landsat mural of southwestern Virginia designed to encourage children’s interest in aerial imagery and their region
  • Workshops for K-12 teachers and exhibits at career day programs in neighboring counties
  • Installation of 11 weather stations within Roanoke City Public Schools to promote science education in general and, more specifically, student interest in meteorology and their own community
  • Classes and activities at local K-12 schools
  • Lectures presented to both the Roanoke and New River Valley chapters of the Virginia Master Naturalists, as well as certification for, and participation in, Virginia’s Save Our Streams program, which monitors water quality of local streams

Geography faculty have been active in leadership of two established service organizations, noted below, that promotes geographic outreach throughout Virginia.    

Virginia Geographic Alliance

The Virginia Geographic Alliance (VGA) is an organization of Virginia educators organized to support the K-12 teaching community in Virginia. It promotes geo-literacy by providing effective professional development programs that enhance the teaching and learning of geography and that demonstrate the value of geographic knowledge and spatial thinking for educators, the public, and community leaders.

To promote these objectives, the VGA has conducted hundreds of professional development activities for teachers and pre-service teachers. These activities range from three-week field based summer institutes to one-hour workshops on basic themes and skills in geography. The organization has collaborated with university leadership for most of its history, often with other co-leaders from the secondary schools or the Virginia Department of Education.  

Virginia View 

Virginia View is the organization that represents Virginia within America View, a national non-profit organization funded by the U.S. Geological Survey that promotes local applications of geospatial data in research, outreach, and education for most of the U.S. VirginiaView is a consortium of Virginia institutions, including universities, state agencies, non-profit organizations, service organizations, and a federal technical affiliate.

The Virginia View project focuses on the America View missions of research, outreach, and consortium development, as well as the promotion of public understanding and applications of geospatial data to a spectrum of users at state and local levels. Since 2004, Virginia Tech's Department of Geography (in partnership with the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation) has developed programs to support local understanding and applications of geospatial imagery within local businesses, K-12 educational programs, community colleges, and universities.