Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Coasteering" toward geography

Emily Moothart in Scottish Highlands,
Corrie Fee,
Caringorms National Park
So, how is it that an organizational communication student goes to Scotland for a semester and returns to UW-Eau Claire as an environmental geography major? Well, it seems to have much to do with dirt, and maybe something to do with coasteering – the outdoor activity of climbing, jumping, swimming, scrambling, bobbing along the intertidal zone of rocky coastlines – a kind of becoming one with the marine-terrestrial interface.  Coasteering has become quite popular in the United Kingdom, now even with an International Coasteering Association.  I don't know if Emily Moothart knew about coasteering when she was making her plans to study abroad (I'd never heard of it), but she knew she wanted to hike the Highlands, so she chose Aberdeen for her semester overseas.  We are glad she did.

Coasteering in the North
Sea,
near Stonehaven.
Emily
is bottom left.
Before going to Scotland, in her first year at UWEC, Emily's favorite classes were an oceanography course and GEOG 104.  In 104 (The Physical Geography), she found Garry Running's soils module especially transfixing.  Hence, she took a few more environmental classes in Scotland.  Her favorite was a Geoarchaeology course "It was great to be able to tie in prior experience at UWEC to the field where we used soil as the basis for determining past archaeological information."  And it was in her Geoarchaeology course and maybe when she was littorally (!) bobbing up and down that she realized how much she enjoyed learning about environment-human relationships and nature-society interactions.  So, back at UW-Eau Claire, Emily is now a sophomore environmental geography major. We may not have coasteering, but we do have tubing on the Chippewa.  And we have plenty of excellent soil.

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