Friday, 26 June 2009


Image Alan Parkinson

Poppies are a glorious temporary part of our landcape...

We have also attached additional cultural resonance to them with their association with remembrance day...

What other examples of these temporary landscape aspects can you identify, or your students record ?

Why not use the NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST's poppy field sighting record cards (link goes to PDF download - survey was carried out originally in 2006)

Poppies are the county flower of Norfolk, and there are certainly plenty in the fields around my village.

North Norfolk (particularly the area around Cromer and Overstrand) is known as 'poppyland' and there are many fields full of these flowers at the moment.

The local Eastern Daily Press reported that the particularly impressive blooms of poppies that can be seen at the moment are the result of changing farming practices...

Farmers growing rape in particular are keen to keep the growth of poppies to a minimum as the plants compete for the available soil moisture and nutrient.
A weedkiller was also taken off the market at the end of 2007, and it was apparently a windy spraying season which means that application would not have been as thorough as it would have been in more ideal conditions.

Interestingly, an article in the Times from last year suggested we may see fewer poppies in the future.

Also noticed fields full of poppies on the approach to Cambridge from the train yesterday evening.

‘Neath the blue of the sky in the green of the corn,
It is here that the regal red poppies are born!’
Clement Scott

Glacial Landscapes

Me at the Folgefonna, Norway - 1980s (check the hair and nonchalant pose !) - image by Conor Kostick

Now up on the Geography Teaching Today website is a new unit on Glacial Environments.

Some interesting ideas on teaching about ice, and the landscape changes that it brings about, with 6 resourced units of work.

Don't forget that ice doesn't just produce the dramatic upland landscapes but was also involved in shaping the undulating lowland landscape of Norfolk...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

GIS: maps and aerial imagery

The WHERE's THE PATH application (which my colleague just reminded me about) is a good way to visualise the relationship between a map and the landscape. Useful for interpretation of height and the impact of landscape on human activity.

It's powered by the OS OPEN SPACE API.

More on this later...
The image above shows the location of the GA in Sheffield.

Image copyright relevant imaging organisations and Ordnance Survey

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Richard Long: Landscape as art...

Recently visited the Richard Long exhibition at the Tate: Heaven and Earth. Always been a fan of landscape-based art.

There are numerous connections to be made here with geography and the creation of narrative as a response to a landscape. Many of the projects I have been involved with recently are related to this idea. Plenty of student-centred projects, and cultural aspects coming out...

Loved the Norfolk flint circle in particular...

I'd like to see students participating in the creation of more text works relating to the landscape.
Check out Richard Long's textworks: click the titles to see the works...

Some very impressive typography on the walls of the exhibition space at the Tate: wonder who had the job of sticking on all the letters ? Quite a feat ! Anyone know ?

Also worth checking out the work of Hamish Fulton
And of course Andy Goldsworthy

Plenty of inspiration here too...

Good review on the SOME LANDSCAPES blog, which is a useful resource to keep an eye on as well for those teaching about landscape.
Also had a quick TWITTER SEARCH: generally positive reaction to it...

Landscapes in Sound

The use of SOUND is vital in lessons...

I have recently been exploring the work of CHRIS WATSON, via my favourite site SPOTIFY.
This allows streaming of the music, or in this case sound stories into the classroom.

This has 3, 18 minute tracks

Ol-Olool-O: Kenyan savannah...
The Laipach: a Scottish glen in all weathers
Vatnajokull: a glacier sailing in Arctic waters

The weather has created and shaped all our habitats. Clearly it also has a profound and dynamic effect upon our lives and that of other animals. The three locations featured here all have moods and characters which are made tangible by the elements, and theseperiodic events are represented within by a form of time compression. This is Chris's first foray into composition using his location recordings of wildlife and habitats -- previously he has been concerned with describing and revealing the special atmosphere of a place by site specific, untreated location recordings. For the first time here he constructs collages of sounds, which evolve from a series of recordings made at the specific locations over varying periods of time : namely Kenya's Masai Mara, Scottish highland glens and ancient ice formations lurking deep within the Norwegian sea.

Also check out "Outside the Circle of Fire" for more sounds...