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Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Wednesday of next week, I will be in Lincoln at this event.
It is a major event held on the Lincoln Showground in the EPIC Centre, and I will be sharing the duties of manning the GA stand with John Halocha: the GA's PRESIDENT.
They are expecting over 2000 visitors, so if you are one of those, please come along and say hello....

Over 100 exhibitors including:

A school garden from Inspirational Gardens, Fairtrade Foundation, Geographical Association, Expo Chef, Resike, Cyclemagic, National Trust, CfBT Talent Lincolnshire, Pulp-works, Gelders, 4solar, Targeted Mental Health, and a Speakers Corner.

For any adults supporting their school to become more sustainable including headteachers, teachers, bursars, governors there are many talks including:

  • Achieving sustainable communities through sustainable schools - DCSF and Ofsted
  • From Curriculum To Classroom… QCDA Primary Curriculum
  • 10:10 - a smart way to cut energy demand in your school
  • Developing school grounds with Learning through Landscapes

For students of all ages, activities include:

  • M.A.D mountain bike stunt team demonstrations and coaching
  • A Million Feet to Copenhagen continued..... - paint your feet to pledge to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Garry Swotter and the Carbon Footprint
  • International Climate Change Champion speaker
  • Bollywood dancing
  • Forest Schools
  • Louder than Life music workshops in partnership with Lincolnshire Music Service


Map of the Rhubarb Triangle

Image by Flickr user net_efekt under Creative Commons

At this time of year, you will find rhubarb appearing in the shops. It will have been produced under forced conditions, (unless it is imported of course...) - English rhubarb is, of course, the best...

The Daily Mail has a useful article on the Rhubarb Triangle, which was a favourite case study of Chris Durbin's.... (sadly our SLN conversations on the topic have disappeared....)

The unique vegetable - grown only by 12 producers in a 'rhubarb triangle' in West Yorkshire - has been granted Protected Designation of Origin status by the European Commission.

Producers now have the same geographical marketing protection afforded to more famous specialities such as Champagne, Parma ham, Cornish clotted cream and Roquefort cheese.

A really nice article on the BBC MAGAZINE site about the area known as the rhubarb triangle.

There is a good site by one of the producers: E Oldroyd and Sons (a great Yorkshire name) - it has details of their forcing shed tours. Just looking at the booking availability for a tour which I might try and organise the next time I'm up in Yorkshire. Have been round the sheds before - I used to pass through the area quite regularly as a student, and it's a really worthwhile experience...

Oh, and by the way, if you have a stained pan, boil up some rhubarb in it, and it will clean it up lovely....


Here's one that got away...
Almost 2 years ago, Tom Barrett and I discussed an idea for a Google Earth grant. They were offering cash to start up projects using Google Earth in innovative ways...

We came up with an idea called STORYBOOK EARTH, which would gather and geolocate children's stories.

If anyone would like to give us some cash to get the idea off the ground, feel free to get in touch :)

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Image CC licensed by Flickr user raindog

A rare social event yesterday. After working on some projects, it was a train down to London to the BARBICAN: love the feel of it after dark when the apartment lights come on above the lake with the fountains and the seating pods. Inside is always buzzing too with a range of different people using it for different purposes. Outside there was some amazing snow which swirled around the place...
The occasion was a gig by Pat Metheny, who I first saw live in 1982 !! Have seen him numerous times since, most recently when his group performed "The Way Up"

The project is called ORCHESTRION - an earlier blog post contained a video, and this was the only UK date for the project.

There is a review on Jazzwise
And for a picture of the ORCHESTRION itself, see HERE - thanks to the Goldsmith family

A great concert: out to wander back along London Wall, guided by my iPhone to my hotel...

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

On Wednesday night, I will be at the Barbican in the evening for a concert by Pat Metheny which promises to be a one-off evening: for a start it's the only UK date for Pat, and for the other, it features him with his ORCHESTRION.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Image by Alan Parkinson

This weekend was spent in the august surroundings (although it was January) of Madingley Hall, to the North West of Cambridge, close to the American cemetery, and in beautiful rolling countryside.
The occasion was the annual Geography Teacher Educators' conference.

This year's was organised by Liz Taylor and colleagues at the University of Cambridge. I have known Liz for quite a while, as the school I used to teach at worked with Homerton College in Initial Teacher Training/Education - several colleagues started out on the PGCE course there.

I attended the first two days, with a dusting of snow overnight adding a touch of magic to the grounds. The food was great, comfortable accommodation, and a range of excellent sessions to attend. There were also some excellent local ales brewed by the City of Cambridge brewery: one of them: 'Scholars' Choice' was brewed specially for Madingley Hall, and was fairly delicious. I used my iPhone app to work out that it had travelled 12 miles.

I had not been aware of the historical significance of the venue, but this was made clear in an entertaining after dinner speech by Rex Walford.

It turns out that back in the 1960's Madingley was the location of a series of conferences which helped define and frame the shape of school geography for the next 20 years. The conferences were written up in a series of books and papers, and when I got home I realised I had a copy of the key book: "Frontiers in Geographical Teaching".

Rex, it turned out, had kept all the original materials from the conference(s) that he attended at the time, and had a lot of stories about the sessions, and their impact on him.

If you can't wait, the presentation that I used at the conference is reproduced below, although without my inimitable exposition of course...
View more presentations from GeoBlogs.


Friday, February 05, 2010

A new report published by Oxfam and IIIED is now available from the Oxfam site.
It is available to purchase, or as a FREE PDF download. (link starts download of the resource)

The report is called FAIR MILES.

I have had a quick look and it is a useful document. Thanks to @primageographer for the tipoff to this resource, which will prove useful for preparation for my GA Conference 2010 workshop on this topic....

Here's a description, taken from the Oxfam website:

Today’s food is well travelled. A pack of green beans in a Northern supermarket may have journeyed 6000 miles, or 60. But while food miles loom large in our carbon-aware times, transporting it counts for less than you might think. And there is a far bigger picture. Food is more than a plateful of emissions.

It’s a social, political and economic issue that involves millions of small farmers in poor countries who export produce to the North. They have built lives and livelihoods around this trade. By buying what they grow, you’ve clocked up ‘fair miles’.

This pocketbook delves into the realities of the produce trade between Africa and the UK, examining both sides of the equation in search of a diet that is ethically, as well as nutritionally, balanced.

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