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Stewart Scales

Advanced Instructor
Stewart Scales
211 Wallace Hall


  • Cartography and Mapping
  • Appalachian Geography
  • Geography of Virginia
  • Geography of Tea
  • Physical & Biogeography

Personal Statement:  My specialties as an instructor include cartography and mapping, as well as regional geographies.  As a native of the Appalachian region, I am particularly interested in understanding human-environment interactions in central and southern Appalachia.  This came to fruition as a master’s thesis which focused on wildland fire behavior and the spatial distribution of charcoal after a fire in the southern Appalachians.

My teaching philosophy is based around that idea that students in my classes should 1) learn something relevant to their everyday lives, 2) practice a skill that they can apply in their careers, and 3) have fun in that process! My courses fall into two areas: regional geography (Appalachia, Virginia, and Tea), and geospatial skills (Cartography, and Maps and Mapping).  I also believe strongly in outreach, especially to aid in the understanding of the Appalachian region.  To apply this philosophy, I teach annual classes on Virginia’s geology and biogeography for the New River and Roanoke Valley chapters of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program, and have led field experiences for high school teachers into the coalfields and Appalachian plateau of Virginia. 

Beyond regional geography, my main areas of publication include printed cartographic products and custom maps for user groups (see Cartographic Work below).  I have published several maps in recent years, most of which are black and white for print, and others in digital format.  I am always excited to teach new skills to our students, and enjoy fulfilling requests for new mapping projects!

Courses Recently Taught:

  • Maps and Mapping (GEOG 2314)
  • Geography of Tea (GEOG 2784)
  • Geography of Appalachia (GEOG 3224)
  • Geography of Virginia (GEOG 3234)
  • Cartography (GEOG 3314)

Recent Publications & Conferences:

Shayer, R., Scales, S. 2021. Tracking Northern Appalachian Political Participation and its Consequences, 2000 – 2020.  Undergraduate research poster & lightning talk presented at the Virginia Tech OGIS Symposium.

Gregory, E., Scales, S., and Crawford, T.  2019.  Tracking Food Deserts along the Transamerica Cycling Route: Northern Tier. Poster.  SEDAAG Conference.

Woelk, T., Scales, S., and Balister, P.  2019.  Understanding the Public Usage of New River Cave. Presentation. National Speleological Society Meeting, Cookeville, TN.

Scales, S., Satterwhite, E., and August, A.  2018. “Mapping Appalachia’s Boundaries: Historiographic Overview and Digital Collection,” Journal of Appalachian Studies 24:1 (Spring 2018): 89-100.

Scales, S., Ellington, M., Howk, J., Mills, M., Sloan, J.  2017.  Geography of Appalachia: Strategies for Teaching, Featuring Student Projects.  Presentation. Appalachian Studies Association Conference.  Blacksburg, VA.

Scales, S.  2017.  Mapping Appalachia: A Beginner's Hands-On Introduction to Creating County Maps Using Appalachian Regional Commission Data and ArcGIS Software. Workshop. Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Blacksburg, VA.

Cartographic Work:

Selected Student Projects: