Gil Grosvenor, Board Chairman, National Geographic Society, talks about the National Geographic GeoMentor program. Bigfork High School graduated seniors Tia Bakker and Ernie Cottle, along with teacher Hans Bodenhamer, then demonstrate their efforts to conserve caves in Glacier National Park. They identified concerns such as graffiti and ecological factors such as cave fragility. They used their finding to make conservation recommendations to help the park protect the caves.
00:01 Another person I truly love has probably done more for geography than any other person here.
00:07 Gil Grosvenor, who's the great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, is the chairman of the National Geographic.
00:16 He was a former Lifetime Achievement Award here; some of you actually remember him.
00:22 He has done more for education in schools than any other person I've ever met.
00:27 He's donated over $100,000,000 to teach teachers to get them teaching geography and integrating it in schools.
00:36 So I'm very pleased to welcome Gil, and he's going to introduce some kids. Gil Grosvenor, please.
00:47 Thank you, Jack.
00:48 Thank you, Gil.
00:55 Thank you, Jack. It's a great pleasure to be here today with this stimulating group of geographers.
01:05 It's a rare and exciting opportunity for me to speak to thousands of people who understand the power and the relevance of geography.
01:14 And all this is thanks to Esri, and Jack, I thank you for that.
01:20 A challenge for both Esri and National Geographic, indeed, for anyone here...
01:25 ...is to help the rest of the world understand why geography matters.
01:32 We are making headway, but it's a long, hard climb. For National Geographic, 2010 marks an important anniversary.
01:42 Twenty-five years ago, we made a commitment to work directly with educators in the United States...
01:49 ...creating a core group of people who could help us bring geography back into K-2 education within the United States.
02:03 When we started this project, I thought it would be easy. It has proven to be very difficult.
02:08 As a matter of fact, I think I could move the gravitation force of planet earth easier than the educational force in this country.
02:17 California is the birthplace of geography alliances, groups of classroom educators from kindergarten to college...
02:25 ...led by professional geographers who coordinate efforts to increase and improve geography instructions in their own state.
02:35 Starting in 1986 with our first teacher institute at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. ...
02:44 ...for more than 2,500 practicing classroom educators, this experience has made them first-class geography instructors.
02:56 We've done this through intensive summer experiences, and they learn how to transmit information to kids.
03:07 In the quarter century since, they in turn have guided hundreds of thousands of teachers at all levels across the country...
03:16 ...from both formal and informal education to more local but often equally intense geography instruction.
03:25 Still, there's much work to be done in geography education.
03:29 As you all prove on a daily basis...
03:33 ...geographic thinking is key to a clear understanding of a topic, a place, or a process.
03:43 Only by seeing and understanding the character, the patterns, and relationships around us, can we as individuals...
03:53 ...and as a society, hope to make intelligent decisions about the complex choices we have to make each day.
04:04 Our perilous path toward the future will grow safer only when we grasp the linkages between places...
04:11 ...tying the processes and the foods that we eat with the climate and food-producing regions...
04:17 ...connecting transportation systems with energy production and consumption habits...
04:25 ...and identifying the threads weaving international politics with national economics down to regional land-use decisions.
04:36 The cell phone with which kids text their friends carries more than just the time and place to meet.
04:44 It reflects the importance of international trade, of science and innovation, and for manufacturing and transportation.
04:55 In just China alone, there are 500,000,000 Chinese who subscribe to a mobile phone system.
05:07 That's a half a billion people.
05:10 This is why geography matters and what our education system needs to do to help students understand that.
05:18 This is what the geography alliance movement has been working on for a quarter of a century...
05:23 ...and why we at National Geographic are excited to work alongside Esri...
05:29 ...and the many thousands of you who use geography every single day.
05:35 Working together, we can push changes in education toward matters of relevance...
05:43 ...helping students learn math and science and language by engaging critical thinking...
05:50 ...about the systems of the human and physical worlds, which is the heart and soul of geography.
05:58 Working together, the tens of thousands of users of Esri's powerful teaching technologies...
06:06 ...can help the thousands of teachers reached by National Geographic...
06:11 ...to engage geographic thinking to understanding and improving our world.
06:19 Working together, geomentors and educators can help young people comprehend the many layers of our world...
06:28 ...see how they tie together, and explore options for a brighter tomorrow.
06:36 If you have not had the opportunity to work with a committed teacher and a bunch of bright kids...
06:43 ...you are missing a life-changing experience.
06:49 The GeoMentoring program launched a year ago at this very conference...
06:54 ...played an important role for our next speakers from the Cave Club in Bigfork High School in Bigfork, Montana.
07:05 GIS professionals from national, state, and local levels all had a hand in helping this program succeed.
07:13 I'm pleased to introduce to you a team that has helped to reveal and protect a hidden world.
07:21 Demonstrating that the power of geography is truly universal, this group went underground...
07:28 ...studied caves, and brought to light that which lies hidden from most of us.
07:35 They have investigated and mapped an unusual three-dimensional world...
07:42 ...and made recommendations to aboveground managers about how best to protect this magical realm.
07:51 With us today are two newly graduated seniors, Tia Bakker and Ernie Cottle. Please help me welcome them to this stage.
08:15 Hello, everyone. It is very exciting for us to be here today. I'm Tia Bakker.
08:22 And I'm Ernie Cottle.
08:24 Now, what a lot of people don't know is that the same problems associated within caves are closely related to those around the world.
08:33 Caves contain both renewable and nonrenewable resources that are unknowingly damaged every day.
08:39 So we want to preserve and conserve these resources by focusing on a few areas of conservation.
08:46 Our first area of conservation includes removing trash and graffiti from vandalized caves.
08:51 Originally, our club started as a recreation club.
08:55 But as we went in more and more caves, we noticed that there was more and more graffiti within these caves...
09:00 ...and cleaning up these vandalized caves began us on our path toward conservation.
09:05 As we became more and more involved with conservation...
09:08 ...we started completing different types of monitoring that allowed us to see changes within the caves.
09:14 One example of this is our photomonitoring.
09:16 Now this allows us to see human-caused change on a feature over a certain period of time.
09:21 And you can actually see this on the picture to the right.
09:23 Now this shows a stalactite that was broken off at some point during the course of five years.
09:29 Now this leads us to our fieldwork.
09:30 We do a lot of fieldwork, and it's the best part of our project; we have a great time doing it.
09:35 And this includes recording all the resources within a cave.
09:38 So let's say we come across a bunch of stalactites.
09:41 We're going to record everything from length, condition, and location on every stalactite in that area.
09:48 We classify every resource within a cave, whether it be mineralogical or biological...
09:54 ...in terms of significance, condition, and fragility.
09:58 Besides our mineralogical monitoring, we also can tell two different types of biological modeling.
10:04 We conduct micro- and macroscopic biological monitoring.
10:08 Now, macroscopic monitoring is really anything that we can see with the naked eye...
10:12 ...and this includes things like barren wood rat sightings and the impact they make within the caves.
10:17 It also includes things like harvestman spider clusters, which I'm sure you all know as daddy longlegs.
10:24 Now the picture you're looking at is actually only a small snippet from a cluster that is over seven feet long, okay?
10:31 So that's taller than this guy right here.
10:34 And, I'll be honest; I'm not scared of a lot of things, but when you're in a dark cave...
10:39 ...and there are thousands upon thousands of spiders just hanging out above your head, it can be a little bit creepy.
10:47 Now to move along to something that's not so much creepy or scary or anything like that, the wood rat.
10:54 Now, the entire biological ecosystem of a cave is dependent upon the woodrat, and what they bring into the cave...
11:02 ...whether that be hair or grass or anything like that, because there's no sunlight in the cave for photosynthesis to occur.
11:11 Besides our macroscopic monitoring, we also complete microscopic monitoring...
11:16 ...in which we look at micro-invertebrates underneath the microscope that we packed into the cave with us.
11:20 And these micro-invertebrates are only about that big at the most, and so they're really hard for us to see.
11:28 But what we do is we have a noncollecting form of examining them so they stay in the caves...
11:32 ...and not only does this help conserve them but also allows us to learn about their natural environment.
11:39 Now we really don't understand a lot about the invertebrates' needs or their natural history...
11:43 ...so rather than looking at the invertebrates themselves, we actually began looking at the water around them.
11:49 Some of the water chemistry readings we took involved taking phosphates, nitrates...
11:54 ...pH, alkalinity, hardness, and water temperature.
11:58 Now, after doing all this work and making the maps of our cave data, it was really exciting for us...
12:03 ...because we were finally able to visually explain all of our findings to Glacier National Park.
12:09 Giving a live GIS demo to Glacier National Park was a wonderful experience, and we'd love to share that experience with you.
12:16 Now back home, Ernie here is known as the Clickmaster...
12:20 ...so he's going to show you guys a live demo that we built in 9.3, but we're trying it out in 10.
12:27 So right now, this area just shows a basic map of the United States.
12:31 This area up in here with the red dot, that's in northwestern Montana...
12:36 ...it's where we're from and where we complete most of our research at.
12:40 And now we're going to zoom in to that northwestern part of Montana.
12:44 This red schoolhouse right here represents Bigfork High School, also known as the base camp of Cave Club.
12:52 And we drive about an hour and a half to this red dot here on the eastern side of Glacier National Park.
12:57 It's about an hour-and-a-half-long drive with a four-mile hike to all our caves right here...
13:02 ...and this yellow line around here represents the Glacier Park boundary.
13:10 So now we're going to a shaded relief basemap, and this is where we did the majority of our work...
13:14 ...but right now, we're going to focus on Poia Lake and Kicking Woman Cave.
13:18 Now what's cool about Kicking Woman Cave is it actually got its name from previous Cave Club members...
13:23 ...who lived on a Blackfeet reservation, so it's just a common Blackfeet surname.
13:28 Now, as you guys have seen from some of the pictures, caves are not flat-floored, ten-by-ten rooms.
13:32 They're really dynamic.
13:34 They have different types of floor deposits and floor drops...
13:37 ...and you can see that coming through in the detail on the cave map here.
13:41 So first, Ernie's going to open up the mineral points and polys...
13:44 ...and a mineral point shows the exact spot where we recorded our mineral feature...
13:48 ...and a poly is simply a point over a larger expanse.
13:52 And now he's going to open up fragility and condition for these mineral features, fragility in yellow and condition in green.
13:58 Now, this cave was just recently discovered, so there's only been about 10 people in the cave...
14:03 ...me and Ernie lucky enough to be some of the few.
14:05 And so here you have highly fragile features that are in great condition.
14:10 However, on the contrasting side, let's take a look at Poia Lake Cave.
14:16 So this cave you have highly fragile features again, in poor condition.
14:21 And this is due to the high amounts of visitation. Now this leads us to why we do all this work.
14:28 We do this work so we can make management recommendations to Glacier National Park...
14:31 ...'cause we really want people to experience and enjoy these caves but the park can really do that and still help people...
14:39 ...help them be protected at the same time.
14:41 And none of this, I mean, absolutely none of this, would have been possible without the help and guidance from our teacher...
14:48 ...our mentor, and our friend, Hans Bodenhamer.
14:52 He's really a man who's shared a passion with us.
14:55 He's given us once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and he's really changed our lives for the better.
15:03 So once again, it would be our pleasure to bring out the man who's made all of this possible, Hans Bodenhamer.
15:19 Wow. This is amazing. Amazing.
15:26 I have to tell you, as Ernie and Tia's teacher and sponsor of their club, I am very, very proud of them.
15:36 They are incredible, absolutely incredible individuals. Yet, as incredible as they are, they are not unique.
15:50 I've been a teacher for over sixteen years, and it's been my impression that most teenagers are like Tia and Ernie...
16:00 ...in that they want to be involved in something meaningful; they want to make a difference.
16:08 They actually want to save the world. But they're waiting for someone like you to knock on their door.
16:17 As a teacher, I see myself more and more as a catalyst. Six months ago, I knew very very little about GIS.
16:26 This wonderful project with kids and caves and GIS would not have happened if our county GIS specialist, Denny Rae...
16:34 ...hadn't pestered and pestered me about getting my students involved in GIS.
16:40 It also wouldn't have happened if another GIS specialist at Eastern Washington State University, Ben Sainsbury...
16:47 ...hadn't volunteered many, many hours tutoring us in basic GIS and helping us through some of our special challenges.
16:57 As a GIS user, you can make a huge difference in the way we educate our youth...
17:04 ...which will make the world a better place.
17:08 One trick might be to find a teacher doing something a little different, thinking outside the box, maybe like me...
17:17 ...or a group of committed young people, like Tia and Ernie here, in an extracurricular club or activity.
17:25 Find them, make a connection, show them how they can use GIS in their project, and the rest will be magic.
17:36 Thank you.
17:51 Thank you very much, Tia, Ernie, and Hans.
17:56 You might wonder how these two youngsters became so poised on a stage such as this.
18:05 Well, they just returned from the White House, where President Obama spent about 10 minutes talking with them.
18:14 And also, at that time, the administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson...
18:19 ...presented them with the Environmental Youth Award for the year 2010.
18:25 As a Washingtonian, I've got to tell you, not many people get them. Thank you. Thank you very much.
18:40 Thank you.
18:41 Wonderful, you did well, you did well.
18:43 Thank you so much.
18:45 Thank you.
18:54 Imagine what changes we could make together in communities across the country and around the world...
19:00 ...if all geoprofessionals here and those you know would work with local educators to bring that power to our youth.
19:11 That sense of vision and the ability to share it with others is what the National Geographic Society has supported...
19:19 ...and brought to the world since our founding in 1888.
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