Teagan graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with degrees in Zoology and Geography. She is currently doing research in forest ecology in northern hardwood-hemlock forest and spending as much time in the field as possible, observing the wonders of the woods and its seasonal changes.
Food. Sleep. Aching muscles. Cold fingers and toes. These were the thoughts foremost in my mind after biking 50 miles through gale-force winds and rain in Canada’s Yukon Territory. What have I gotten myself into?
In August 2008, a group of six cyclists set out on a journey from the Yukon to Yellowstone National Park– 2,300 miles all on bicycles. Our route was to follow the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) ecological corridor, winding south along the continent’s spine, the Rocky Mountains. There, at the beginning, our entire journey lay out before us waiting to show us its wonders if we only let them come.
On the final “official” day of Geography Awareness Week (because we all know that Geography is meant to be celebrated all year long), we encourage you to GET OUT and experience geography in the field.
I can’t think of anyone adhering more truly to the spirit of hands-on experiential learning than the Vogels.
Dad John, 10-year-old twin sons Davy and Daryl, and Mom Nancy Sathre-Vogel are currently traversing the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina. When the journey is complete, Davy and Daryl will become the Guiness World Record holders as the youngest people ever to make the trip on bicycle. Pretty impressive, eh?
Read below to see how the family is discovering new geographic insights with each pedal. And make sure to visit the Family on Bikes website for more information, including an interactive map of their trek, and other great educational resources developed with the help of non-profit Reach the World.
Geography. For years
I figured, like a lot of other people, that geography consisted of knowing the
locations of states and names of state capitals. If I could memorize those bits of random
knowledge, I could consider myself “geographically literate.”
But somehow my eyes became opened over time. Maybe I began to see there was way more to
this wonderful world of ours than a bunch of names. Perhaps I realized that my Special Ed kids
may never be able to memorize a bunch of random facts, but they could gain an
overall impression of various areas.
However I came to the realization, I’m glad I did.
Geography is much more than memorization – it’s
understanding patterns around the world; it’s seeing similarities and
differences between the world’s peoples and places; it’s realizing that our
actions in America can and do have far reaching effects. That’s what I’m hoping my boys will learn –
and all the other kids following along with us as well.
I remember one moment when I realized my boys were starting
to “get it;” when they suddenly put some of those random facts together and
applied them to their lives. We were
cycling on the Colorado Plateau in the fall of 2006 – and it was cold. As we visited Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon at 7000 feet in altitude, we shivered as we
huddled around our tiny camp stove cooking pasta each night. Our teeth chattered until we mummified
ourselves in our down sleeping bags each evening. It was cold – and we were getting tired of