Monday, December 18, 2023

So Goes the Colorado


Click to enlarge -- notice the tan hash-marked areas.

I follow the Facebook page Geomorphology Rules because it so often features maps like this one -- maps that tell a provocative story. I also follow it because my master's research was in fluvial geomorphology and I enjoy staying in contact (pun intended) with that quirky discipline that lies at the juncture of geography and geology. Plus which, geographer Kathleen Nicoll runs the site with equal measures of wit and wisdom.

The first thing I noticed about this map is that it identifies the Grand Canyon as a convenient divide between the upper and lower portions of the Colorado River drainage basin. I later noticed that this map (or perhaps it is a map excerpt) has no title or discernible producer.

But the most important thing about this map is that it explains why the Colorado River does not reach the sea most of the time. Most maps show it connecting to the Gulf of California, but in real life this is rare. Where Arizona, California, and Baja California meet, the river is scarcely 100 feet wide; immediately south of that it is not much wider than the small living room in which write this. 

And a few miles south of that, the bridge ("puente") that carries Mexico's Route 2 over the river is bridge over sand most of the time.
I have often explained this in terms of the unfair division of the river's water resources between the upstream and downstream neighbors. Octavio Paz famously lamented, "Alas, poor Mexico! So far from God and so close to the United States!" A century ago, the neighbors agreed to go "halfsies" on the basin's water, with each being allocated 7 million acre-feet of the total 14 million discharged annually. The agreement was made during an unusually wet period, but the U.S. always takes its half, since Mexico cannot come upstream to get it. Agribusiness and urban areas in the basin -- including the one I was living in when I learned all of this -- reduce the river to a trickle.

The maps makes clear, however, that this is not a full explanation of the problem. Rather, it is the interbasin transfers to the relatively small areas that essentially surround the basin. These are small regions to which water that would otherwise be making its way toward the aforementioned bridge is instead crossing the divide to supply cities, farms, or both in other basins.

The most notorious of these arrangements is the focus of the 1974 film Chinatown, but Los Angeles is far from the only culprit at this stage.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Blue Zone Living

While driving home recently, I heard a sliver of delightful, bittersweet radio amidst the sad litany of suffering and violence that has dominated the news of late. I made a point of finding the story online when I got home so that I could share it with my family. I then found a print version because in this case, radio was not quite enough! 

It was the story of a Portuguese dog named Bobi -- not a famous dog of a fancy Portuguese breed, but a regular dog living in Portugal. Bobi lived, in fact, more years than any dog has ever been known to have lived -- and lived those years very well. He was an ordinary dog that was extraordinarily loved and cared for.  

Image: Guiness Book via BBC

His community was the key to Bobi's success, and the same is true for us humans. After hearing the story, we watched a limited series that had been on our list for a while. In four parts, Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones describes the ways in which several communities in vastly different parts of the world have come to include high proportions of people living very long lives. 

The show is a reminder to do more of some things we already know we should by way of diet, exercise, habits of mind, and relationships with our fellow humans. These are gentle reminders of how to lead a dog's life. A happy dog's, that is. 

Monday, October 02, 2023

Think Before You Redwood

This video addresses a landscaping trend of which I was unaware: the rampant planting of redwoods in places they are not meant to grow. Our hero Griff of Redwoods Rising cultivates redwoods for a living, but he warns against buying them for planting in the wrong places.  

@redwoodsrising plant the plants that are native to your area. don't plant redwood trees unless you have the area #redwood #gardening #landscaping #learnontiktok #naturevibes ♬ original sound - Redwoods Rising

Those wrong places, he argues, would be any places not highlighted on this map of western California ... and a few nearby spots in Oregon.

He teaches so many applied ecology lessons in four minutes that I do not need to add much to what he says, except to include a range map and links to the web sites he mentions.

Map: Save the Redwoods League

One thing I will add to his commentary is that when he refers to areas cleared by commercial logging operations, he hints at a bit of greenwashing engaged in by some in the industry. Forests are renewable, and all logging operationg replant the areas that they clear. The quality of that replanting can vary so much that his organization has to re-replant many clearings to maintain anything like a healthy forest.

As for the websites, his own Redwoods Rising project is now described on the Redwoods League page; the original URL he mentions is no longer operable.

Even in California, redwoods are not appropriate everywhere. He recommends for information on more appropriate plantings in California. For the rest of the United States, he recommends Native Plant Finder, a beta site operated by National Wildlife Federation. The final site he mentions is Homegrown National Park.

NWF, by the way, is the reason that WWE has its current name -- the wrestling people lost a trademark battle with the wildlife people. It is also the organization that certified the habitat restoration efforts on my family's 0.31 acre of land in Bridgewater

Thanks to our son Harvey -- artist, foodie, and budding naturalist -- for finding this video!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Pueblos Oaxaqueños

While scrolling social media (as I too often do) earlier today, I was struck by this marvelous map, courtesy of the site Estado de Oaxaca. It is entitled Peoples and Nations of Oaxaca. 

I was immediately taken back to the summer of 1989, the only time (so far) that I have visited the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. My favorite librarian and I were spending the whole summer in the central Mexican state of Puebla as part of a study-abroad program. From our base in Cholula, we had the opportunity to travel to several other places, including both Oaxaca to our south and Mexico City to our northwest.

Two highlights of that summer were dance variety performances to which troupes had traveled considerable distances to participate. In Mexico City, dancers took to the main stage of the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) from many of the country's 32 states. It was a fabulous experience, made all the more remarkable by the stage curtain itself.

Image: Circulating on Facebook 2023

We had the privilege of attending a similarly organized performance when we visited the capital of Oaxaca at the time of its annual Guelaguetza. A similar event played out at a different spatial scale -- with music, dance, and clothing as varied at the level of the state as they had been at the national level. 

Coming from all over Oaxaca, many groups performed in an open hilltop stadium on two consecutive Mondays (Los Lunes del Cerro). Unlike the indoor performance, each of these groups ended its performance by tossing gifts into the stands. Most impressive were the clay pots and the pineapples!

I had thought that the timing of the dances -- literally two extended sets of dances a week apart -- a bit odd. It was not until our son visited Oaxaca years later that I realized the reason for the timing is that these public performances were part of a cultural gathering that was extending over the entire week. We were privileged just to have a glimpse as outsiders. 

Fun language fact: This city of Oaxaca is one of my favorite place names. With the abbreviation of the state name, it is written Oaxaca, Oax and pronounced something like Whuh-HAK-ka-Wok.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Big Yellow Taxi

I was already teaching environmental geography when I gradually realized the relevance of Big Yellow Taxi to my chosen field. It is a 1970 song by the incomparable Joni Mitchell, a Canadian singer-songwriter-genius who is a contemporary of my father. 

I start most of my university courses with music, and lately I have decided that this song is essential for the first day in both my survey course and my course focused on land protection. (For the latter, I play The Trees even before Taxi.)

I have been using two versions of Big Yellow Taxi:

A 2023 tribute recording on the occasion of her winning the Library of Congress Gershwin Award. Joni Mitchell listens as Angelique Kidjo, Cyndi Lauper, Annie Lennox, Brandi Carlile, Lidisi, and Lucius perform the song with great energy. I get particularly emotional at this rendition, both because of Joni's reaction throughout and because I have been lucky enough to see two of these performers (Kidjo and Lauper) in person. 

and  Joni Mitchell in Concert 1970, a perfect version despite the fuzziness of the video.

This simple song -- written, indeed, in the form of a children's lullaby -- has been covered more than almost any other -- over 400 and counting. In just a few minutes, she outlines much of what was wrong on our planet a half century ago -- and much of what continues to ail us. 

Writing for the Financial Times in 2019, journalist Charles Morris explains that part of the appeal of this song is Mitchell's ability to connect the political and the personal in just a few, simply worded lines -- without hubris. His article explains the history of the song -- both origin and aftermath -- with deftly embedded audio clips.


Before really listening to Big Yellow Taxi, I had been most familiar with Mitchell's 1994 Turbulent Indigo, which I had heard while staying with an American-Brazilian friend for a few days in the Amazon in 1996. The CD became a staple in our household for years, and is a rich, lyrical tapestry. 

It includes Magdalene Laundry, an ode to the victims of a brutal institution to which Sinead O'Connor's bravely brought global attention with her 1992 protest on Saturday Night Live.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Madeira Voyage Photos

I finished editing all of the photos and videos from my recent visit to the Amazon, during which my friend Miguel and I traveled Down the Creek from Porto Velho to Manaus. 

The videos are interspersed here but might make more sense in the Madeira Playlists I created on YouTube. You can browse the photos in this slideshow or visit the Rios Madeira & Amazon album on Flickr.

Rios Madeira & Amazon 2023

It has been a great blessing this summer to spend time in the place where I became a geographer -- both literally visiting the Amazon for the fifth time and devoting much of my summer to reading and writing about it. I am currently working on several related teaching and writing projects, which will linked to the Down the Creek post mentioned above.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Maui Tourism Considerations

Damage in Lāhainā village Maui. Photo: Hawai‘i Department of
Land and Natural Resources via Big Island Now 

Recovery operations are still underway in Maui as an important debate unfolds. It is unseemly to enjoy a vacation when bodies of victims are still being found, and the care and feeding of tourists diverts resources that may be needed by those in need of aid.

Canceling vacations, however, damages the economy and denies income to local workers who need funds now more than ever. For this reason, as reported by NPR this morning, Maui County tells tourists to come back — just stay out of the burn zone, even though officials had been asking people to stay away just a couple of days ago. 

One one level, this story is a worthwhile examination of a real conundrum faced by those who have vacations planned on the island in coming days or weeks. I will never being staying at the Ritz in Maui, but I am fortunate enough to travel in such a way that I might face this exact circumstance some day.

On another level, though, the story could be entitled "The Fragility of Tourist Economies." We talk about tourism or other industries as "good for the economy" without considering what this might actually mean. A "good" economy would give people not only a paycheck but also the ability to take some time off to recover from trauma. 

The tourist economy provides almost no resilience to the vast majority of workers on which it relies. This observation is not limited to tourism, of course. The social safety net is frayed to the point that self-care has become a luxury. 


Whatever our thoughts on the economy of tourism, of course, outside help is needed. I chose to support the efforts of Convoy of Hope, because a friend who spends a lot of time in Hawai'i and with the national leaders of this organization recommend it.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Madeira Playlists

 As described in more detail in Down the Creek, I had the good fortune this month of taking a long-awaited voyage on a cargo ship from Porto Velho, Rondônia to Manaus, Amazonas. My photos from the entire trip (including time in each city and on the rivers in between) is in my Rio Madeira 2023 folder on Flickr. I promise, this is an edited set of photos, with all (or most) of the duds removed). I am gradually adding annotations to many of those photos.

Photo credit: JHB (see note below)

Meanwhile, I realized that I had recorded more than the usual number of videos along with the many still photos I took. I probably made more videos (from a few seconds to three minutes in length) than I usually do in a typical year.  They are visible within the Flickr folder above, but that is a bit awkward. I have therefore gathered them into small playlists on YouTube, so that a person visiting my channel can find them all, or can click to each playlist from this metaplaylist below. In each case, viewers will see a brief description of the list as a whole, and the clips (5-10 in each group) will play in succession. 

I hope you enjoy these. Please alert me to any glitches!

A note about the photo above: 

For those who DO know the city, its three water towers -- As Três Caixas D'Água -- are a favorite symbol. So when I was waiting for Miguel to do some work downtown on my first day, I walked a few blocks to get a selfie. I must say I'm proud of myself, because it is really tricky to get them all in the frame! They were built at the same time as the city itself, from 1910-1912, and they are made of material similar to the locomotive engines that were brought here from Philadelphia, London, and Bremen as part of the rubber trade. 

The railroad failed, but the town persisted. That is a century of history in six words; it's more complicated. A mural on the plaza adjacent to the towers depicts much of that history -- the "Introduction" video above is my attempt to describe that mural in Portuguese. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Down the Creek

The Madeira River is arguably* the longest of the Amazon River's 1,000-plus tributaries. It is also the route I was privileged to travel this summer (July 19-22) with my good friend Dr. Miguel Nenevé. It is highlighted in pink on this map of the Amazon Basin -- a path that coincides with most of the route we took from Porto Velho (near its formation) to Manaus (just upstream of its confluence with the Amazon River. 

I spent almost a week in Porto Velho before our voyage and two days in Manaus afterward. Photos and videos from the entire experience can be found on Flickr and YouTube through my Madeira Playlists article. 

Image: Wikipedia

It is worth finding Porto Velho on Google Maps or in an atlas. Even though it is a city of a half-million people in an area with no other big cities, many Brazilians are barely aware of it. At an airport, for example, I will find an employee who has never checked in a passenger with "PVH" on their documents, and does not know what to make of it. 

*Lengths of rivers is always arguable, as the Wikipedia article List of river systems by length makes clear. Just as no river has a single source, it is often difficult to determine exactly how to measure the length. Notice in this article that many of the familiar names (such as Nile, Amazon, and Mississippi) are joined by hyphens to names that most readers will not recognize. Hydrologists can often find a longer river by following channels that do not bear the name of the "main" river.

The Amazon River has a thousand named tributaries, about a dozen that measure a thousand miles or in their own right, and and unknown number of nameless tributaries. The most important of these is the Solimões, which most maps label "Amazon" and which Wikipedia does not even mention in its river-length article.

The word "arguably" above refers to the fact that the Tocantins-Araguaia system is mapped as part of the Amazon Basin, but joins it in the delta, not along the main channel. Does that make it a tributary? Perhaps.


Detroit Recovery

It has been a decade since the City of Detroit declared bankruptcy, leaving its "citizenry" vulnerable to the whims of fiscal overseers. The scare quotes in the previous sentence are made necessary because citizens whose municipal affairs have been placed in the hands of unelected outsiders are not fully enfranchised. 

The Detroit Public Library is one of the city's treasures;
so to are its librarians, who were among the public
employees whose pensions were raided by the
bankruptcy managers.

I began following the progress of Detroit around that time for several reasons. First, its fiscal demise had a very specific kind of spatial dimension, as population loss sharply reduced population density, which then made the provision of services increasingly expensive on a per-capita basis. This dismal feedback loop ultimately led to the bankruptcy. 

I was further interested because of the important insight my son shared in an undergraduate research paper about three years into the bankruptcy. The suits (that is as polite a term as I can muster) decided that a city with fiscal difficulties did not deserve great art. That is, the city's financial overseers threatened to sell off the treasures of the Detroit Institute of Art and other city assets, placing the short-term interest of creditors ahead of the long-term interests of the citizens.

This is all prelude to Quinn Klinefelter's report on today's NPR Morning Edition, entitled How is Detroit doing 10 years after it filed for bankruptcy? Please listen to his comments, which I would describe as Detroit coming back slowly and unevenly from its low ebb a decade ago. In my view, the unevenness of this recovery is a microcosm of inequity in the country as a whole. From my very brief visit last summer, I can confirm that the entertainment district described in this story is doing much better than the rest of the city. 

To the degree that the finances of the city itself have recovered, it has been on the backs of public workers. Teachers, librarians, and other municipal workers had their retirement benefits stolen. Even uniformed public employees (police and fire) were ripped off, though not as deeply. 

For those who are interested, a search for Detroit on this blog points to some resources about this most important of American cities.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Resilience Force

In recent years, my academic geography department began to incorporate the word "resilience" into the names of some of our programs and courses. In part, this reflects some evolution in how and what we teach, but it is also a recognition that what many now call "climate resilience" is deeply intertwined with what many geographers do. 

Photo montage from Resilience Force

This all came to mind last weekend as I listened to Rewind: Saket Soni on the People Who Make Disaster Recovery Possible, the first episode I had heard of the radio program/podcast Climate One. I look forward to more from this program, which I had first encountered on WCAI 90.1 FM. That is the New Bedford-area frequency for Cape & Islands Radio, a fantastic mid-sized public-radio station, one of three to which I listen regularly. 

I recommend the hour-long recording itself and the ancillary materials posted with it -- I stole the image above from one of them. This discussion and the ongoing work behind it reflect a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of humans and the natural environment. The term "climate resilience" is itself a recognition of the compounding and confounding interplay among consumerism, racism, carbon pollution, transportation, housing, and more. 

Guests Saket Soni and Daniel Castellanos go even further, connecting all of the above to the problems of human trafficking and the inhumanity of migration politics in the United States. But this is in the end a broadcast/podcast that brings me hope, because their Resilience Force organization is not only rescuing trafficked workers and organizing them for better treatment; it is also educating communities, exposing the crimes that are obscured by layers of subcontractors, and working toward a vision of a professionalized cadre of resilience workers worldwide.

In our educational endeavors around resilience, we are preparing people for citizenship and possibly employment related to big-picture concepts such as urban planning, supply-chain management, and environmental policy. Soni and Castellanos inform us that this kind of education is not enough: we also need vocational training, career development, and worker support for resilience workers who might be called second responders -- those who arrive 48 hours after a fire, flood, or storm and remain until people can sleep in their own beds and return to work or school.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Google MyMaps

Version of June 23, 2023. This page is very much a work in progress.

For as long as Google has been Google, I have been using Google, because we early web users were happy to have it and we enjoyed playing with the DMOZ pages that initially guided its searches.

And for as long as users have been able to make Google Maps, I have been making Google Maps, embedding them on many web sites and blog posts. My most ambitious Google Map, in fact, has been a collaboration among seminar students and myself over close to a decade.  That one is, naturally, coffee-related.

Image shamelessly lifted from 2023 Google MyMaps,
a 45-minute tutorial from GeoDelta Labs.

When it first emerged, my experience with actual GIS software was fairly recent.  I had been the first person to teach it at the University of Arizona and had been taking some online courses to remain current. Over time, though, my GIS skills have faded, so that I have relied on colleagues and students when spatial analytic heavy lifting is needed. Google Maps works only with point data, after all, and has no analytic capacity beyond measuring the distances between them.

For many instructional purposes and planning purposes, however, it is just what the doctor ordered (in this case, a doctor of geography). And order it I have -- for tracking personal life lists, planning family trips, illustrating stories or song lyrics, and much more. 

A beautiful thing about these maps is that they are easy to update, and old links will take users to the most recent information.

(NOTE: My high praise does not mean that I believe Google is always correct. On two occasions, I have provided the company with corrections where map errors might cause problems for users not familiar with the locations involved.)

I recently decided that I would like to be able to send readers to the "My Maps" screen from which I can access all of my maps, but apparently this is not possible, and Google has not yet responded to my suggestion to make it easy. 

So I'm providing a lightly annotated, slightly kludgy version of my directory, in no particular order. The thumbnails and descriptions below are augmented by more complete descriptions on the map pages themselves. And MANY of the locations on the maps include links to site-specific information I have created. 

Please enjoy these and let me know if you create any maps of your own.

A "busman's holiday" refers to a vacation taken by a person to a place involved in their own professional work, as with a tour-bus driver going on a bus tour. We use a similar term whenever My Favorite Librarian visits a library while we are traveling. Bus Person's Libraries is a partial life list -- mainly for Pamela -- that includes at least one memorable library I have visited without her.

GeoCafes is the most ambitious of my Google Maps and the one mentioned above. It is the companion toe the eponymous GeoCafes blog, to which well over 100 students have contributed since 2012. Most of the map entries point to reviews by those students. I often rely on this to find local cafes while traveling, especially in Massachusetts.

Many people say that they never visit local sites of interest unless company comes from far away. Geographers are not those people -- as a group, we love exploration, locally and globally. The GeoDates Map grew from a conversation with a colleague and is a detailed guide to places our own Bridgewater geography students can visit, most of them at low cost and with less than two hours driving from campus.  It accompanies the GeoDates blog post that provides many more details.

The National Park Life List map is a life list that I started during the pandemic, as I reflected on some of the places I've been lucky enough to visit -- National Parks of the United States and a few other countries. Along with National Parks, I include other kinds of sites managed by the National Park Service. As a practical matter, the distinctions are mostly minor. The only important distinction is that National Monuments are named by Executive Order rather than Acts of Congress and as a result may be removed from NPS oversight by subsequent presidents. Fortunately, we have only had one president petty enough to do such a thing, and he is out of office. 

(October 25, 2023 update) An earlier version of this blog post showed a combined national parks and museum list, because for some reason, I decided to make museums a separate layer on the same map. I recently decided to give each category its own map, but it is still possible to do a bit of very low-key spatial analysis -- when viewed at the continental scale, it seems clear that I have found many more museums to visit in the East and many more NPS sites in the West.

Another October 25 update is that a student asked about museums in western Massachusetts yesterday and I realized that I was missing THREE in western Massachusetts and one in Connecticut, including the Eric Carle, which I had been to a half-dozen times. All better now, thanks to Taylor's question!

Good friends of ours in Bridgewater moved north about a decade ago to fulfill their dream of becoming innkeepers. In visiting their lovely inn over the years, we learned that many of there summer guests were on a 40-mile trek among four inns in their area, and that Vermont Inn Walking was an inn-walking tour that had been operating in the past and had been revived by a new generation of owners at the participating inn. We used this map better to envision our May 2023 journey and also to figure out which nearby sites we might be able to visit on the way to or fro. (Note: I deleted the homes of two friends in the area, one of which we did manage to visit.)

My father was not just an elevator mechanic; in many ways he was the elevator mechanic -- the GOAT of elevator mechanics. During the State of the Union Address, he sometimes sat in the Capitol, just in case. When the president of the United States needed a new elevator, he swapped shifts with another mechanic around the clock to get it done. Twice. Nobody could make a map of every place Jim Bohanan installed, maintained, or replaced an elevator. But since my mother's passing in 2020, I spend long mornings on the phone with him each week, often talking about his former work. And when a notable site comes up, I add it to this map.

My wife Pamela and I famously met in Maryland, where she had grown up and where Rachel Carson had done much of her scientific research and writing. Because Rachel Carson died the month before Pamela was born and they share a birthday, we think of them as perhaps sharing a mystical connection. Carson is mentioned in many contexts on Pamela's library-books blog and on this environmental blog, and comes up frequently in our teaching and outreach. 

All of which is to say that Rachel Carson is an important figure in the Hayes-Boh household, but until very recently we had never visited any of the landmarks associated with her life and work. Her residence in Maryland was in the vague suburbs north of D.C. and her work was in an oddly rural zone intertwined with the sprawl of Baltimore, Washington, and a Naval Air Station. So when the whole family found ourselves staying at an Airbnb in the area in 2021, I decided to find those Maryland landmarks, and ultimately to map all of the Rachel Carson sites that I could find.

I first crossed the U.S.-Mexico border from San Ysidro to Tijuana as part of a very brief visit to Ensenada in 1985, a year after a massacre at a McDonald's on the U.S. side. The place had been very much in the news that year, but I did not realize how very close to Mexico it was until my friend Mike and I drove to the empty lot that had been the restaurant.

I next crossed the border at the very opposite end in 1989, when I had the opportunity to inspect a dry cleaner in the town of Mercedes, Texas. Several of us were qualified to do the work, but I asked for the assignment because I was beginning to become a bit specialized in the operations of dry cleaners and more importantly Pamela and I had spent the previous summer in central Mexico, and I was interested in returning to the country. As I often did on such inspection trips, I got a room and a car for several days, and did as much exploring as I could after hours, and I managed to find a place to park in Brownsville and walk across the border to Matamoros. 

Little did I realize that the next year I would begin seven years of living in the border zone, during which I would make more than half of the crossings between these east and west extremes. It is a bit difficult to count, since some crossings have opened and others have closed over the past few decades. 

Author Tom Miller (for whom Pamela would eventually work as a research assistant) had made a point of making absolutely every crossing as he prepared his 1981 masterpiece On the Border: Portraits of America's Southwest FrontierMy experience will never be as complete as Miller's had been, nor would I enjoy trying to fill the remaining gaps in my own map. Both Miller and I (and Pamela -- who has crossed everywhere I have, except San Ysidro) crossed, the United States was still a country that greatly valued freedom of movement. Crossings were always subject to inspection, of course, but the militarization of the border did not begin until the 1990s, and of course it was amplified after September 11, 2001. 

Thanks to those readers who have stayed with this map description for so long. I only spent about a tenth of my life (so far) in the borderlands, but the experience was profound. Since moving more than 2,000 miles from the nearest point along the border, I have made it my mission to inform other folks in the U.S. about its myths and realities.  A search of my phrase human sieve on this blog points to more than a dozen entries about the complexities of that line. 

For now I will add that a writer were were privileged to know during our time in Arizona helped me to think more positively about the region, despite the efforts of politicians, criminals, and pundits to make it something different. In Border People, Oscar Martínez describes a zone that is neither exactly Mexico nor exactly the United States. I read the book when I knew Oscar and lived in the region; I think it might read today more as history than anthropology, as many of the comings and goings he describes would now be difficult if possible at all.

Among the many, many disappointments in 2020 was the postponement and eventual cancellation of our nieces fancy wedding in Scotland. I have not been in western Europe at all (outside of Heathrow Airport) and Pamela had not been since the 1980s. So we had extensive plans to explore while "in the neighborhood" for a wedding that would have taken place where my forebears lived in the seventeenth century. I am holding on to the wedding travel map against the day we make this a retirement outing.

Since 2008, I have been part of a geography outreach project we call Project EarthView, in which we take a giant inflatable globe -- a sort of portable geography classroom -- to schools. The program later expanded to include giant floor maps, and has given us the chance to talk about geography with well over 100,000 students, their parents, teachers, local officials, and reporters. A few years into the project, I decided we should map the places we have been. I have done my best -- with the assistance of colleagues who have been part of the program -- to include every place we have taken the globe on the EarthView Experience map

Fun fact about scale: to avoid any ambiguity, wherever possible, I have placed the Google location marker precisely on the building -- and the part of the building -- where we set up the globe. At a small scale, a viewer can see which towns we have visited. Zoom in to a larger scale, and one might see that we were in the eastern half of a big gymnasium.

This map is a bit silly -- Across Two Fridays is a subset of the EarthView Experience map shown above, because I wanted to document a particularly busy week in our life of geography outreach. Between two Fridays our team visited six schools -- elementary, middle, and high schools -- none of which was near any of the others.  We scrambled a bit extra that week, squeezing in a visit to King Philip Middle School in Plainville to surprise Sathwik Karnik, who had won the 25th National Geography Bee with Alex Trabek just a few weeks before. 

In a sense, the Marshall School Families map flips the EarthView script. We use our big globe to help bring conversations about the wider world to a local school. The EarthView Experience map shows all of the places we have done so. Marshall School is a wonderful neighborhood school in Quincy, Massachusetts. During a visit there, we gradually realized that much of the world was represented in that school -- so much so that this map represents just the fourth graders we met on that one day. Each marker points to the capital of a country mentioned as their family's home country by one or more students.

I created the Brockton Walking Tour, October 2016 map for a one-time walking tour of the nearby city of Brockton that I led for an interdisciplinary group of BSU Honors students. Several years before, I had taught a First-Year Seminar about the city, but it had a minimal field component. I later revived the course as an Honors FYS with substantial field experiences, as described in Brian Benson's 2019 City Champions article. This map is greatly in need of some development. I points to locations without any elaboration; I hope to involve students in my Fall 2023 class in connecting the map to some more information, including some Sidewalk Survey recordings I have already put on YouTube and some bibliographic connections to local experts who helped me plan that original tour.

I created Geography of Coffee - BSU in Costa Rica to document the places we visited on my most recent travel course, when my friends at Matagalpa Tours -- who had co-taught most of my Nicaragua travel courses -- arranged a wonderful program in Costa Rica. When we made this trip in January 2020, I had no idea that it was to be my last international travel for more than three years. 

Geography of Coffee in Fogo is a planning map for my next travel course, in which my colleague Angelo Barbosa and I will explore the small but fascinating coffee industry in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde). Many of the world's best coffees grow on the slopes of dormant volcanoes. To my knowledge, Fogo (Fire) is the only place in the world where coffee is grown in the caldera of an active volcano. Whenever it erupts, people leave and then return, perhaps to a different part of the crater. If you are reading this during 2023, please click the link above and consider joining us!

The Peru - Travel Course map is for a class that has not yet been taught.

I spend a lot of time in schools, and many of the teachers I work with have told me they would love to take my coffee travel course, but they cannot go on my January courses, which coincide with the Central American coffee harvest. So I checked the world harvest calendar, saw that Peru would be good for a summer class, and then worked with my colleague Dr. Rob Hellström to develop a course that would involve coffee and his ongoing climate research projects in Peru

We did get a few of our BSU students to sign up, but no teachers. That was 2017; we would love to try again some time. Let me know if you are interested enough to put down a deposit on such a course.

My Peru map includes a layer based on the as-yet-imaginary travel course mentioned above and another layer based a birthday trip to Machu Picchu with my favorite librarian in 2014. After three decades of travel, study, and work in Latin America, this was the first experience in the Andes for both of us. We made a point of finding lodging a bit out of the way from most of the tourism. We stayed in and traveled among many locations in which Spanish was not even the dominant language. It was delightful!

The fact that neither of these extensive trips would have anything in common except for the Lima airport reminds us that Peru is rather a large country, as shown above on an image I created on TheTrueSize:

As soon as a new dean for continuing education (at BSU this means anything not taught 8-4 in a regular semester) announced that he was allowing for summer courses that would be taught in just 5 eight-hour days, the idea of Coffee Week was born. At first, I thought I would do some lectures and show some movies all week, and then visit a roaster and café or two. By the time summer had arrived, this had become a full-on coffee crawl. As Coffee Week 2016 shows, we went to so many cafés that the students were refusing free coffee by the end of the afternoons. We learned a lot and the students took some terrific photographs! (Most of these businesses are still in business, but sadly some cafés on this map no longer exist, so check ahead before you travel to any of them.)

As the name implies, Coffee Week BSU 2017 is a map of the places we went during the course's second offering -- it was just as enjoyable. Although we tried to offer it a few more times, we were never able to gain enough enrollment for the course to run again. In-person summer classes were very difficult to fill even before Covid-19. I do not think we will be able try this concept again. 

BSU Nicaragua is a simple map with a brief title, but there is more experience behind this map than any other I have made. Anything I do related to coffee began with my decision to take students to Nicaragua in 2006 -- just one time, I thought. 

A search for Nicaragua on this blog will bring scores of articles, most of which relate to some place I have visited on this map, and a dozen of the albums in my Flickr account are from the trips represented here. Between 2006 and 2018, I took 12 student groups (with occasional friends or family included) on travel courses -- well over 100 people, some of them 2-3 times. None of them went to every site on this map, but all of them went to most. And of course, each site on this map is full of memories for me. 

And now back to some teaching that is not coffee-related. The GEOG 332 shows only four points, all of which I have visited and two of which are field-trip destinations in my course GEOG 332: Land Protection. As I prepared this blog post, I decided that annotations for those points would be a good addition. Feel free to click through to see a bit of what this course is about. I am fortunate to have taught it in alternate fall semesters for more than 20 years. I am looking forward to the next time, starting in September 2023.

The Global Guardians map is another example of a map connected to a specific, non-coffee course. In this case, the map was created with the direct assistance of students in a course. GEOG 130: Environmental Geography is a survey course that is central to my identity as a geographer. In the early days of Google, simply searching on the title of the course would bring up my web page as the very first result (a parlor trick I cannot do any more). I have taught the class more than 100 times in many different formats. For the past decade or so, my main textbook has been The View from Lazy Point by the amazing Carl Safina.

Of all the approaches I have taken to this course, I have found to be the use of his book to be the most successful. But a few years ago, I realized that the combination of his text and my teaching did not allow sufficient space for non-male voices in what should be a comprehensive discussion. As I describe in my 2020 Guardian Women blog post, I found a rich array of female environmental leaders to introduce to my students. My favorite librarian helped me to develop a series of assignments to deepen those introductions and one result is a map that my students made to show where some of those women lived and worked.

The Bridgewaters Project map points to every place I know of that shares its name with the town where we have lived and worked since 1997. Soon after moving to Bridgewater, Massachusetts we learned that it is named for Bridgwater (sic), England and also shares a name with Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Gradually, we learned that quite a few states have a town (or several) with the same name, and that many smaller places (like shopping malls) also share it. Thus was a quest begun, and in 2009 we began the Bridgewaters Project blog, documenting Bridgewaters we had already been and giving us an excuse to visit others. Our local newspaper eventually learned what we were up to and sent a reporter to write about it and take a wide-angle photo of us in our hallway full of Bridgewater prints and maps.

As mentioned above, the Bridgewater in Nova Scotia is of particular importance in our Bridgewaters Project, so our 2018 visit there was a big deal for us. We spent a couple of nights in a perfectly lovely B & B in Bridgewater itself. We also visited some truly amazing places on our way to and from Bridgewater and quite a few others in the vicinity. We would love to go back, and not just because of the incredibly warm welcome we received in the local historical society. Of course, our Bridgewater, Nova Scotia blogpost has a lot of fun details, and the Nova Scotia 2018 map was essential to the journey. 

Mermaids might be the silliest use I have made of Google Maps so far, only because there are several levels of family-blogging absurdity involved. The map is embedded in a post on our Bridgewaters Project blog, which in turn is referenced in the Mermaids entry on our All Noni blog. For those readers who are new here, the former is about our determination to write about all places named Bridgewater and the latter is about our determination to write about every film, television show, or short work involving Our Noni, otherwise known as Winona Ryder.  

For the past several years, I have taught one-credit Honors colloquia about cities that interest me greatly but that I had not visited when I started this practice. Initially, I offered Detroit and New Orleans because they were the U.S. cities about which I had done the most reading and thinking, music listening and film watching, without having actually visited. Even a lot of cities I had visited in person had not captured my attention so much. I have since visited Detroit for just 21 learning-packed hours, but I have not made it to NOLA yet. 

I bring a lot of maps into these classes and I have students bring in even more. The simple ¡NOLA! map shows just one kind of thing: the locations of international consulates in New Orleans. It seems to have a lot of consulates for a city its size, and they are not random. Rather, they reflect the places to which New Orleans has had -- and continues to have -- the most important connections through trade, migration, and cultural exchange.

The Chan Chan map is similar to some of the others mentioned so far, in that it shows the places mentioned in a work of art, in this case a song by the same name. Not just a song, though: the song that has come to represent an important moment in Cuban music and the performers who represent that moment: Buena Vista Social Club. In this case, the map arose from my own curiosity about the song -- I could not decipher its meaning until I figured out which words were place names. I embedded the map in my 2013 Hoguín Son post. (That is the Spanish word "son" for "sound" not the English word for a male heir.)

I made the Garifuna map for students in my New Orleans class. It has just three points, but they are important for understanding the geography of Garifuna language and culture in the Caribbean region. 

I hope that people are still aware of the story of Malala Yousef, a Pakistani woman who was nearly killed about a decade ago for pursuing an education and whose courage captured the imagination of millions. My first blog post about her was my 2014 Crisp and Self-Assured, which had to do with pundits like Rush Limbaugh supporting her attackers. When I wrote Riveting Malala a bit later that year, I created the map Malala Locations from the Memoir, because her book mentions many places that are not at all familiar to most of her readers. As with any of my maps, the idea is not simply to notice where the points are, but rather to use these maps as a point of departure for further exploration. Once we know where various events in her life took place, we can use these and other maps to learn more about those places. Are they hot, dry, steep, flat, forested, urban, rural -- what kinds of places are they?

The Malbeclipse 2019 map describes personal travel with a complicated story that began with a jury-duty summons two years prior. Pamela had received a summons for federal jury duty that would have disrupted the long-planned (and very geographic) celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary. The feds let her off the hook, but stressed that there would be NO MERCY during the make-up week a few months later. So when friends invited us to return to their home in Kearney, Nebraska for a total eclipse of the sun, we declined so that Pam could call the court every night. 

Salta is on the map for next time!
Image: Descubre Argentina 
Of course, she was never seated on that jury, but our hopes were dashed. This geographer immediately set about searching upcoming eclipses and noticed that a 2019 event would be very close to Mendoza, Argentina -- an Andean town that is the source of most of the red wine we drink in our home -- Mendoza Malbec. As we were making plans, I was fortunate to meet someone from Chile who convinced me that the Elquí Valley of Chile would be a better viewing area. It is home to one of the world's most important clusters of astronomy researchers because of the incredibly clear skies at the edge of the Atacama Desert. So the question was: Argentina or Chile? The answer was: yes, both. We went to Chile for the eclipse and then flew to Argentina for the wine. We did not lack for wine on the Chilean side of the mountains of course, but we had our hearts set on Mendoza!  The Malbeclipse 2019 map includes some details about our lodging and transportation and also the half dozen or so vineyards we visited. 

Bonus: I just added an icon to this map for our next visit. We need to return to both sides. I would love to spend a month or so in Elquí and we also need to get to the Gabriela Marquez museum that was closed the day we tried to visit. 
On the Argentine side, we visited quite a few vineyards, including one in the distinct Uco Valley district to the south of Mendoza proper, but we left about 250 vineyards unvisited. We were also there in southern winter, and I wonder how crowded the entire area must be in peak season. The icon I have added is not for any particular vineyard in Mendoza -- though we do have some favorites. Rather, it is for another growing area -- even higher in elevation and well to the north: Salta. We have had a few exquisite wines from there. Moreover, an image I recently found on the Descubre Argentina tourism site suggests the kind of alpine village scene I had imagined but not found in Mendoza. I'm willing to give it a try!

Onyema Ogbuagu is a map that is named for a person -- a person whose name recognition is tiny (even I had forgotten why I made this map) despite the immense importance of his contribution to global well-being.  As I mentioned in my 2020 Thanks to Doctor Ogbuagu blog post, he is a Yale researcher who played a vital role in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine that saved millions of lives and allowed billions of people to return to something like normal living after the global pandemic. His biography mentioned several academic sites throughout Nigeria that were unfamiliar to me, so of course I made a map!

Those who click on my Georgia Planning map (and I hope that includes whomever is reading right now) will notice that this is, as we say, Georgia the country, not that place where we keep Atlanta. This is the former Soviet republic on the Black Sea that a certain crazy man in Moscow has made some efforts to reconquer. It is mountainous country of great political and geological complexity, considered equally Asian and European -- neither and both, in the minds of many.

We have been learning a lot about Georgia since 2017, when we hosted a Georgian geologist in our home for a couple of months while he used our university's facilities for some fascinating work trying to untangle some of that geology. We were fortunate that he returned for a brief visit a couple years later and that we have stayed in touch online. (No worries -- on our part -- that Georgian is an extremely unusual and difficult language. Our friend Luka is fluent in at least four languages, one of which is English!)

Among the interesting things we have learned is that Georgia is the FIRST place on the planet to have made wine; those who have been paying attention will know that this alone is reason enough for a Hayes-Bohanan visit. We are also interested in some outreach related to geography education and simply visiting Luka and other Georgian friends in their home country. So far this is a planning map with no date (Covid-19 threw us off some former plans), but definite strong intentions. (Fun fact: Tbilisi is one of three national capitals on the same latitude as our home near Boston.)

The Puerto Rico 2016 map began as a planning map but now serves as an annotated record of our visit that year, including a link to all of my photos from the journey. So far this is the only time any of the Hayes-Bohs have visited the island, which would be the 51st state already, were it not for the opposition of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, our country's most effective bigot. 

Our son went to the sort of school where the parents' fundraising auction included fancy vacations, and we decided to splurge on an offer of a few days in a villa on the north coast of the island. It is not the sort of place we would normally vacation on our own -- the offer was somewhat off-season, so we had not only a huge villa but almost an entire gated community to ourselves. No complaints, though: it was beautiful, comfortable, near the ocean, and convenient for exploring much of the rest of the island. 

The map includes a description of each of the sites we were lucky enough to visit, a year before Hurricane Maria and a criminally negligent federal response destroyed many of these sites. A search of this blog for the word Boricua points to more of my pointed remarks about the treatment of my fellow citizens on the quasi-colonial island. I also recommend the documentary Yo Soy Boricua Pa'Que Tu Lo Sepas! (I'm Boricua Just So You Know) by comedienne Rosie Perez -- see IMDb entry or the entire film on YouTube. It was made in 2006 but remains the best introduction I know to the island and its connections to the mainland.

MAPS TO COME!!  I am just getting started here...

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