Students create "green" map of Ogden

[media-credit id=35 align=”alignright” width=”272″][/media-credit]Ogden’s Green Map project, an ongoing venture which aims to place eco-friendly locations such as businesses, recreational areas, transportation and gardens on a map, will be in Weber State University’s Shepherd Union Building next week.

At noon on Tuesday, the WSU Geography Club will begin providing resources, such as a global positioning unit, for students to collect information about Ogden’s environmentally sustainable locations. Starting at the same time on Thursday, the club will be there to map the locations the students return with. The event is a highlight of Geography Awareness Week and its theme of “Adventure in Your Community.” Ogden’s Green Map project is part of Green Map System, a nonprofit organization, which is a worldwide collaboration to supply communities with ways to find eco-friendly locations.

Jordan Porter, a student heading the development of Ogden’s Green Map, said the project aims to pinpoint any location that promotes “sustainability, green living, recycling (and) local businesses.”

“So . . . you can say, ‘I want to see all the recycling plants in Ogden,’ (and) they’re going to pull up on a map on the computer,” Porter said.

He said the biggest initiative is to unite “the community in an effort to make it more sustainable for the future.”

Although Ogden’s map will not be published until the end of the spring 2012 semester, in doing the project, Porter said he was surprised and impressed at how many sustainable businesses Ogden has to offer, and the project has already gathered information for more than 100 businesses.

Many different factors determine if a location is “green.” According to Julie Rich, the Geography Club adviser, when mapping a location, she follows the rules and guidelines provided on Green Map System’s website,

During the spring 2011 semester, Ogden’s Green Map project partnered with Repertory Dance Theater in Salt Lake City and WSU’s Moving Company to create a cross-curriculum arts and environmental residency program for Ogden’s public schools.

Rich said the outcome was in the form of dance lectures, which aimed to develop in children “an awareness of the environment through . . . dance and green mapping concepts.”

“This assembly helped the students understand the concepts of place, personal health, civic responsibility and environmental sustainability,” Rich said.

Zensho Gushiken, a dancer for the Moving Company, said he and the other dancers would illustrate the different types of environmental practices and locations through dance.

“For example, for the bicycle paths we (do a running dance), and for the local restaurant, the Repertory Dance Theater (dancers) sit in a chair and (make eating motions),” Gushiken said.

Rich said she was surprised with the way the fusion of dance and geography allowed students to become more engaged with learning.

“There was a student that had some physical and mental challenges . . . but for some reason, when we brought this program into the school, he seemed to want to become really involved and integrated into the program,” Rich said. “The teachers were amazed to see how the dance . . . was a way that he could learn when so many other methods had been tried and not been really successful.”

In conjunction with Geography Awareness Week, Chris Soelberg, an associate professor of the construction management program, will be speaking about his experiences in Iran on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Social Science Building Room 318.

Rich said she hopes Geography Awareness Week will promote a consciousness of geography on a global scale.

“The Green Map project . . . gets us the excitement that we need to learn about our own little environment, which will then, hopefully, give us a desire to find out about the broader world around us.”