News and Events

Our Latest Publications

Veettil, B.K. & U. Kamp. 2017. Remote sensing of glaciers in the tropical Andes: a review. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 38, 7101-7137.

Walther, M., A. Dashtseren, U. Kamp, K. Temujin, F. Meixner, C.G. Pan and Y. Gansukh. 2017. Glaciers, permafrost and lake levels at the Tsengel Khairkhan massif, Mongolian Altai, during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Geosciences, 7, 73, doi:10.3390/geosciences7030073.

Shively, D. 2017. Flood risk management in the United States: implications of National Flood Insurance Program changes for social justice. Regional Environmental Change, DOI: 10.1007/s10113-017-1127-3.

Kamp, U. (ed.). 2017. Cryosphere. Special Issue, Geosciences, 7.

Caplins, L., and S.J. Halvorson. 2017. Collecting Ophiocordyceps sinensis: an emerging livelihood strategy in the Garhwal, Indian Himalaya. Journal of Mountain Science, 14: 390-402. 

Nyland, K.E., A.E. Klene, J. Brown, F.E. Nelson, N.I. Shiklomanov, D.A. Streletskiy, and K. Yoshikawa. 2017. Traditional Iñupiat ice cellars (Siġ-uaq) in Barrow, Alaska: characteristics, temperature monitoring and distribution. Geographical Review, Special Issue: Arctic 2017, DOI: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2016.12204.x.

Kamp, U. 2017. Glaciations. In: Richardson D., N. Castree, M.M. Goodchild, A. Kobayashi, W. Liu, R.A. Marston (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, John Wiley & Sons, DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.

Spring 2020

Due to the coronavirus, our commencement was virtual this year, but Geography faculty still gathered to share our personal wishes to our 2020 graduates via a short video: Plans are underway for a Fall ceremony to honor the graduates and invitations to those events will be forthcoming. Congratulations Graduates!

Spring 2018

About a dozen of UM Geography’s students and faculty attended the 2018 MAGIP GeoCon in Helena in April.  Geography alumni were strongly represented as usual.  Undergraduate student Jen Haas won 1st prize in the Web Map competition (competing against professionals). Geography students swept the poster categories, with Jen Haas and graduate student Jon Sand taking first and second prizes, respectively, for the “Effective Cartography” category, and graduate students Ryan Rock and Morgan Voss taking first and second prize, respectively, for the “Information Usage category.”  Morgan Voss’ poster won the People’s Choice Award.  MAGIP’s 2018 Higher Education GIS Scholarships were also announced at the GeoCon, and graduate students Joe Offer and Morgan Anderson each received $1500 awards.  Voss also received the 2018 Van Shelhamer Memorial K-12 Education Grant for developing lesson plans using GIS to predict and map avalanche paths.

UM’s Zuuring/MAGIP scholarship ($1200) was awarded to Joe Offer for his graduate thesis research.  He will be honored at Forestry’s Awards dinner in the fall. Graduate student Morgan Voss received a 2018 Jerry O’Neal Research Fellowship ($1600) to work in GNP this summer.  Jedd Sankar-Gorton received a Fulbright award to research Slovenian models of mountain-based environmental education employed in public schools to better understand how these programs are structured and bring these lessons back to Montana schools.  Megan Kuhns will be participating in the AmCham European Experience in the Green Heart of Europe and working with a Slovenian company to develop entrepeneurial skills.

High-GPA Geography students celebrate their induction to the International Geographical Honor Society, Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU), joined by GTU faculty sponsor Christiane von Reichert. The GTU supports student research, awards scholarships, and encourages members to apply geographic knowledge - and the vast skill set of the discipline - in service to people and the environment.

At the UM Conference on Undergraduate Research, Dr. Sarah Halvorson presented the keynote speech, Geographies of Water and Well-beingJen Haas won a 2018 UMCUR Physical Sciences Award for her Presentation on “Mapping Mount Saint Helens: Capturing the Volcano's Geomorphologic Change over Time”;  Meghan Kuhns presented on “The Value of Silence in Finland: A Geographic and Cultural Perspective”; and Donnie McBath presented a poster summarizing his Senior Thesis “A Montana Ski Town and its Persistent Housing Crisis.”

UM students, faculty, and staff attended the AAG’s annual conference in New Orleans in April.  Geography graduate students Kourtney Johnson, Bri Rick, Morgan Voss, and current and emeriti faculty Drs. Anna Klene, Christiane von Reichert, and Jeffrey Gritzner presented talks or posters.  UM’s Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities staff Lillie Grieman, Catherine Ipsen, Andrew Myers, Craig Ravesloot, and Bryce Ward gave talks, and College of Forestry students and faculty Amber Datta, Lacey Hankin, Elena Louder, and Keith Bosak did as well. Incoming Provost Jon Harbor also presented at the meeting.

Geography Prof. Dave Shively and partners serving on the Executive Committee of the Clark Fork and Kootenai River Basins Council organized and convened the Council’s 2nd Annual Meeting at UM on April 16th and 17th, 2018.  The Council is organized as a collaborative regional water management coordination entity that is focused on implementation of the basins’ and State of Montana Water Plans, and the improvement of water quality in the basins.  It is engaged in important outreach with basin stakeholders and partner organizations, the Montana Legislature’s Water Policy Interim Committee, and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Department of Environmental Quality.

The Department of Geography was a major UM sponsor of the One River, Ethics Matter - Western Montana Conference on the past and future of the Columbia River convened at UM on April 11, 2018.  Other sponsors included Native American Studies, Environmental Studies, the Flathead Biological Station, the Environmental Law faculty, and the UM Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy.  It featured nine Indigenous presenters and panelists from five Tribes and First Nations of the US and Canada. UM faculty Dan Spencer (Prof. in EVST) and Dave Shively (Prof. in Geography) joined colleagues from the University of Idaho and the National Wildlife Federation as Moderators. 

Owing to the tireless work of Mary Nellis in UM’s Office of Global Engagement, Fulbright Visiting Fellow at Yale School of FES, Dr. Shi Chul Lee from Kyungpook National University in South Korea, visited with faculty and students in early April.  He provided lectures on Planning for Health Cities in Korea in Dr. Halvorson’s GPHY 141 – Geography of World Regions (GenEd) course, and Dr. Shively’s GPHY 421 Sustainable Cities (CEP and Climate Change) course.  His lectures provided important context about Korean politics, economy, and society to our students.  He also participated in a GPHY 564 Planning Design studio site-plan presentation/critique session.  We value the connection and will be sure to maintain it.

Invited to UM by Dr. Halvorson, internationally recognized science writer and public speaker Andrea Wulf presented a lecture and seminar at the University of Montana as part of the 2017-18 President’s Lecture Series.  She spoke on “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World” at UM on April 4, 2018. The talk is the Brennan Guth Memorial Lecture in Environmental Philosophy, in collaboration with the Flathead Lake Biological Station.  She also presented the seminar “Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature and the Shaping of American Nation.”

Glenn Kneebone, a 2006 Geography graduate, is the 2018 recipient of the George M. Dennison Presidential Staff Award for Distinguished Accomplishment. Glenn, a native of Butte, is being recognized for his work at the Mansfield Library and his campus-wide service on a range of committees. Glenn has been a strong advocate for digital projects for the benefit of student and faculty users of the Mansfield Library. Given his enthusiasm for futurist technologies and based on his expertise in putting in place a video studio, Glenn was invited to Shanghai International Studies University to assist in planning digital projects. Congratulations, Glenn!

Fall 2017

Graduate student Stephen Shirley received a travel grant to attend the 2017 American Geophyscial Union Fall Meeting from 11-15 December in New Orleans.

Phillip Schuster, a graduate student from the Department of Geography at Humboldt Universität Berlin, joined us for an internship that focuses on the analysis of data that he downloaded from high altitude weather stations during his recent fieldwork in the Mongolian Altai.

Summer 2017

Caleb Pan, Ph.D. student in the Systems Ecology Program, received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for his project "Towards Understanding the Timing and Frequency of Rain-on-snow (ROS) Events in Mongolia". In 2018, Caleb will spend four months at the Department of Geography at the University of Heidelberg, Germany's oldest university founded in 1386, to join the research team of Dr. Lucas Menzel, Professor of Hydrogeography and Climatology.

Spring 2017

Graduate student Jonathan Byers received a Montana Space Grant Consortium Fellowship for his project "Measuring Snowpack in the Bitterroot Mountains Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)".

Graduate student Andrew Nemecek received a RedCastle Resources / MAGIP Scholarship for his project on spatial and temporal dynamics in irrigation practices in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. 

Undergraduate student Lily Elison was selected as a student recipient of the 2017 UM Sustainability Award. The award recognizes a student who advocates for holistic sustainability on campus. Lily founded Aero Student chapter, a club dedicated to promoting sustainable water, land, and food usage that has already established a community garden, and formed partnerships with other student groups to cooperate on events and outreach.

Graduate student Brianna Rick has won a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for carrying out research within the "Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring" (CALM) project. She will use the award toward earning her doctorate after finishing the master's program in spring 2018 and furthering research on vegetation/permafrost interactions in northern Alaska. NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are based on an individual’s potential to contribute to STEM fields within the United States. Awardees receive three years of support. The NSF awards around 2,000 individuals annually at institutions across the United States. Read the entire news story here.

Three (!) of our graduate students received awards in the poster competition of the Intermountain GIS 2017 Conference: 1st place - Brianna Rick: "Greening of the Arctic: Comparison of Trends in Measured Soil-surface and Air Temperature Data and Satellite-based Trends of Vegetation Change on the Alaskan North Slope (1995-2016)"; 2nd place - Chelsea Karthauser: "Juneau's Humpback Whales: Partnering Citizen Science Data and GIS for Environmental Communication"; and 3rd place - Morgan Voss: "Snow Avalanche Information Systems in Glacier National Park".

Graduate student Ashley Juric received the 2017 AAG Water Specialty Group Research Presentation Award for her lecture on "The Case of the Water Quality Governance in the Transboundary Kootenai" at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Boston. Ashley presented in the session "Untapped: Fresh Voices in Water Resources Geography".

The UM's GIS Sciences & Technologies Certificate Committee awarded the following 2017 GIS & Remote Sensing Scholarships to three of our Geography students: the Zurring/MAGIP GIS Scholarship was awarded to graduate student Morgan Voss for her thesis project "Snow Avalanche Information System for Glacier National Park, Montana"; MontanaView Remote Sensing Scholarships were awarded to graduate student Andrew Nemecek for his thesis project "Investigation of Changing Irrigation Practices in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin of Montana" and to undergraduate student Stephen Shirley for his project "Net Ecosystem Carbon Budget Model Comparison for the Alaska North Slope".

Graduate student Rebecca Kranitz received the 2017 Women in Geographic Education Scholarship Award from the National Council for Geographic Education.

Lecturer Kevin McManigal is the recipient of the 2017 David B. Friend Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award goes to a non-tenure-track faculty member in the College of Humanities and Sciences for superior teaching at the 100-200 level, for student advising and mentoring, and for a high degree of accessibility to students.

Dr. Ulrich Kamp and Ph.D. student Caleb Pan received a grant from the American Center for Mongolian Studies that will allow them to continue their field studies on glaciers, lakes and water resources in the Mongolian Altai in summer 2017.

"The Conversation" recently featured the research of Lillie Greiman and Andrew Myers, project directors at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, and Dr. Christiane von Reichert in the article “Six Charts that Illustrate the Divide Between Rural and Urban America.” Several media outlets picked up the article, including PBS News, US News & World Report and Salon.

Graduate student Brianna Rick received a Bertha Morton Fellowship. Each year, UM grants only three of its most prestigious award for graduate students. Brianna is developing her thesis project "Greening the Arctic: Plot-scale Analysis of Interactions between Climate, Vegetation, and Permafrost on the Alsakan North Slope (1995-2017)".

Dr. Christiane von Reichert has been named a Student Wellness Advocate by UM's Curry Health Center - Wellness Department for demonstrating both excellence as educator and great support to our students’ well-being.

Dr. Sarah Halvorson and Dr. Ulrich Kamp received a grant from United Nations Environment (UNE) for their project "Enhancing the Curricula for the Environmental Science Faculty, Kabul University, Afghanistan” as part of UNE’s program “Building Environmental Resilience in Afghanistan” (BERA) that takes a collaborative approach to crosscutting capacity development and intersectoral coordination to building resilience in Afghanistan. Key areas of the project include curriculum mapping, integrating practical components, developing comprehensive course and professional training packages, as well as integrating a quality assurance framework into curricula. The team also includes graduate students Sophie DeMartine, Ashley Juric and Meghan Montgomery as well as Ph.D. student Kelly Franklin, who also works as Environmental Education Expert for UNE's Afghanistan Country Programme.    

Graduate student Rebecca Kranitz hit the Spotlight for the National Council for Geographic Education. Read about her story and experience in our program!

Geography's famous "Polebridge" field course (GPHY 144 Montana's Mountains) led by Dr. Sarah Halvorson and Lecturer Rick Graetz has been featured in the Missoulian. Check it out!

Polebridge in Winter, 2017 Polebridge Course Group 2017

Graduate student Jonathan Byers received a stipend from the Montana Water Center for his research project "Remote Sensing of Snowpack in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)."

Dr. Ulrich Kamp has been invited to serve on the editorial board of the "Journal of Mountain Science" by Springer.

Fall 2016

Geography graduate student Rebecca Kranitz is the top winner of the 99 Problems Contest this fall. The contest was initiated by UM's Blackstone Launchpad, with a first place prize of $750 to support the student's efforts to address an identified problem affecting the campus community. Rebecca's project "Increasing Geographic Literacy at UM" competed against 10 other project and received 45% of the online votes.

Geography Lecturer Kevin McManigal’s presentation on the Panthera project at the North American Cartographic Information Society meeting received a standing ovation!

Geography Lecturer Kevin McManigal and Shonna Trowbridge won the Great Owl Award for their 'Certificate in GIS Science & Technologies' website in the 'Best Study Page' category of the 2016 UM Pinecone Award competition.

Graduate student Jonathan Byers received for his work "Memories of Ice: The Changing Landscape of Patagonia" the 1st Place Award of the GIS Day 2016 – ArcGIS Online Map Contest, Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals (MAGIP).

The Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) initiative, funded through USAID and several US Government (USG) supported agencies and administered by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), awarded a grant to Mrs. Fahimeh Salehi from the Green Social Research Organization in Herat, Afghanistan, Dr. Daniel Fagre from USGS, and Dr. Ulrich Kamp for their project "Impact of Climate Change on Runoff from Glaciers, Snow and Rainfall in the Pamir and Hindu Kush Mountains: A Comparison of the Amu Darya and Kabul River Basins". The team also includes Ph.D. student Caleb Pan.

Dr. Fernando Sanchez-Trigueros and Dr. Alan Watson (USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station) received three grants from the US Forest Service"Tribal GIS on the Flathead Reservation: the contribution of local and technical knowledge in adaptation planning for forest management", "Guidance for federal managers in the Bighorn Basin to incorporate local traditional phenological knowledge into climate-related disturbance restoration", and "Land management trends on tribal lands and comparison with values and benefits in federal wilderness areas: national review and case studies in the Northern Rio Grande Basin". The collaboration responds to an increasing attention in government and academia to climate-change resilience of coupled human-environment systems, and focuses on GIS applications for multi-stakeholder problem-solving and adaptive natural resource management. Outreach activities are also planned in partnership with the UM Elouise Cobell Land and Culture Institute, the Little Big Horn College on the Crow Reservation, the Tribal Forestry Department on the Flathead Reservation, and the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico.

Dr. Fernando Sanchez-Trigueros is a new instructor in our department. His background is in GIScience with foci on systems thinking, soft computing, and others. Learn more about Dr. Sanchez-Trigueros on his webpage.

Brendan Hoover graduated with a M.S. in Geography with option in GIS and Cartography in 2013. He is currently a Ph.D. Student at the University of Texas, Austin in the Department of Geography and the Environment, where he is developing new ways to quantify the interaction of Animals using GPS-Telemetry data. Brendan recently received a Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Energy, which allowed him to do research at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). At LANL Brendan worked to develop a software tool that models pipeline networks for CO₂ sequestration.

Summer 2016

Dr. Ulrich Kamp and graduate student Jonathan Byers carried out a fieldwork for their project "Glacier and Snow Monitoring Using Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Flights in the Rocky Mountains of Montana", a collaboration with Empire Unmanned and Dr. Daniel Fagre from USGS.  

Dr. Ulrich Kamp received a grant from the U.S. Geological Service for the project "Snow Avalanche Information System (SAIS) for Glacier National Park, Montana". Graduate student Morgan Voss and Ph.D. student Caleb Pan are part of the UM research team that collaborates with Dr. Daniel Fagre from USGS.

Spring 2016

Dr. Anna Klene was promoted to Full Professor effective Fall semester 2016. 

The UM GIS & T Certificate Committee is happy to announce that the 2016 MontanaView Remote Sensing Scholarship winners are Rachel Powers, Systems Ecology, for her project "Using NAIP Imagery to Assess Riparian Ecosystem Succession Following Fire Disturbance on the North Fork of the Flathead River" and Nicholas Kline, Geography, for his project "Socio-economic Reorganization in Response to Climate Change: A GIS Application in Vietnam's Mekong Delta". The 2016 Zurring\MAGIP GIS Scholarship winner is Philip W. Williams, Forestry, for his project "Autonomous Aerial Systems For Wildfire Management In Montana".

The 60-year celebration of UM Geography (on 4-28) was a great event with fine refreshments, slideshow, and a brief program on our history with highlights of faculty and student awards. The Liquid Galaxy turned out to be a major attraction! Nice to see our students, staff and faculty, administrators and Friends of Geography mix and mingle, chat and laugh.

Geography Open House 2016

Geography 60 years

Verena Henners received the 1st Place Award for a Web Map / Application presented at the Montana Association of Geographic Information Professionals 2016 Intermountain GIS Conference in Great Falls. Verena is a student in GIS classes instructed by Lecturers Kevin McManigal and Kyle Balke. Her awarded app is an Esri Storymap about recent refugees to Europe.

Dr. David Shively received the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Across the Curriculum Award of the College of Humanities & Sciences. The award recognizes full-time, tenure line faculty who offer superior teaching at both the upper (300+) and lower (100-200) levels of the curriculum. Student advising and mentoring (especially at the undergraduate level), and accessibility to students beyond the norm is highly valued as well. The award will be presented by the H&S Advisory Board at the Fourth Annual Humanities & Sciences Dialogue event on Thursday, April 14, 7 pm, Interdisciplinary Science Building Room 110. Students and alumni are invited to attend.

Lecturer Kevin McManigal has secured a grant extension from Panthera, the world’s premiere big cat conservation organization. He and his students are working on creating a set of 10 topographic maps of the Manas National Park in India. The paper sheets will be the highest-resolution maps ever created of the park and will help define and secure vital ground for the tigers. Recently, the first version of the maps were used in a very successful Ranger training in India (see pictures below).

Panthera project students and maps

Several UM Geographers shared their research at the 2016 American Association of Geographers National Meeting in San Francisco, March 29 to April 2. Dr. Diep Dao presented on Linking Daily Travel Mobility and Pain Experience. Dr. Jeffrey Gritzner served as discussant and panelist in the session Local economy flattening by extractive industries and obstacles to human-environmental resilience: evidence and policy implications from Africa and Latin America. Dr. Ulrich Kamp shared his research on Glaciers and Stream Flow in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Basins, Pamir and Tien Shan Mountains. Dr. Christiane von Reichert presented the paper Migration and Spatial Patterns of Disability. Sophia Albov spoke about Closing the Biomass Loop: Impacts on the Rural Agricultural Geography in Hyvinkää, Finland. Lillie Greiman displayed the poster The geography of home for people with disabilities. Andrew Myers’ poster focused on Person-Environment Fit in Rural Communities: Toward an Ecology of Disability. The AAG meeting is the largest gathering of geographers on earth.

Dr. Sarah J. Halvorson, geography professor at the University of Montana, recently received a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research on climate change perceptions and adaptation scenarios in the south-central European country of Slovenia during spring semester 2016. Her research concentrates on the social, health and policy aspects of water-related problems, including the implications of climate change for the governance of mountain watersheds and community water supplies. While in Slovenia, she will collaborate with other geographers and environmental social scientists to focus on two major projects: an assessment of experiences and observations of climate change risk and vulnerability among Slovenia’s mountain communities; and an analysis of the perceived effectiveness of current climate change policies and planning tools. Dr. Halvorson also will deliver guest lectures in environmental geography courses at the Univerza v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana) and the Visoka Šola za Varstvo Okalja (College of Environmental Protection), her second institutional host, which is located in Velenje. During her stay, she plans to contribute to field courses and work on geography education outreach activities in collaboration with Slovenian colleagues. (Picture: Dr. Irena Mrak, left, and Dr. Sarah Halvorson tour a gorge in the southeastern Alps while visiting a citizen science site to plan an event there later this year).

Dr. Irena Mrak, left, and UM Professor Sarah Halvorson tour a gorge in the southeastern Alps while visiting a citizen science site to plan an event there later this year.

Kelly Franklin, Ph.D. student in the Systems Ecology program is working for the project “Current Status and Needs for Enhancing the Curricula for the Department of Natural Disaster Management, Kabul University, Afghanistan” of the U.N. Environment Programme. The team also includes her advisor Dr. Sarah Halvorson as well as Dr. Ulrich Kamp and Systems Ecology Ph.D. student Shah Faisal Khan. The team will develop several syllabi for new courses.

Caleb Pan, Ph.D. student in the Systems Ecology program, received a research grant from the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia for his project "Capacity Building for Environmental Monitoring in the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia". Caleb is spending ten months in Mongolia as a Fulbright fellow. Part of the project is a six-day workshop about climate change and snow leopard habitats in collaboration with WWF Mongolia. The project also aims to install weather stations in higher elevations for a long-term monitoring. 

Rachel Powers, graduate student in the Systems Ecology program, received a research grant from the Montana Water Center for her thesis project "Riparian Ecosystem Succession Following Fire Disturbance on the North Fork Flathead River, Montana." 

Paul Paeth, a senior in Geography, recently returned from studying abroad in Chile. Paul benefitted tremendously from this opportunity and highly recommends it to others. Several students studied or are going to study in Argentina, Austria, New Zealand, Schotland, and more. The Geography Department strongly encourages studying abroad and coursework from abroad can be applied toward meeting degree requirements. For details on tranferring requirements or electives, students planning on studying abroad should see their advisor.

During the 2016 wintersession, undergraduate and graduate students from Geography and allied disciplines enrolled in a two-week workshop on WebGIS, instructed by Geography adjunct faculty Kyle Balke.