CWUNews FeedNews Feed Of Rail Services Could Be Good For Local Agribusiness, 11 Aug 2017 07:55:01<p><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 475px; height: 267px;"></p><p>Could passenger rail services soon return to Central Washington, and how could that benefit the Ag industry?&nbsp; John Bowen [geography chair] teaches at Central Washington University.&nbsp; He and several of his students are conducting a survey to determine interest in returning rain service, connecting the Tri Cities, Yakima, Ellensburg and other communities to the greater Seattle area.</p><p>Bowen told the Washington Ag Network while many have expressed an interested in using the train to travel from east to west, there could also be a huge boon for local ag.</p><p>Read more of this story&nbsp; on the <a href="" target="_blank">Washington Ag Network</a>.</p><p>August 11, 2017</p>CWU Professor, Student Extend Passenger Rail Study, 18 Jul 2017 11:39:02<p><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 475px; height: 317px;"></p><p>Although passenger rail service disappeared from central Washington in the 1980s, rail fans and citizens are funding studies to determine local interest in restoring services. Central Washington University geography professor and chair John Bowen and alumnus Noah Westbay received support from the rail advocacy group All Aboard Washington (AAWA) to conduct surveys on potential public demand for future rail travel in this area.</p><p>"More than a year ago, I was asked by All Aboard Washington to work with CWU students to evaluate the proposed restoration of scheduled passenger rail service between the Tri-Cities and Seattle over the Stampede Pass corridor (right through Ellensburg)," Bowen explained. "This line has not had scheduled service since the last Amtrak train went through in October 1980, but there is hope—and at least a little interest by Amtrak—in a potential resumption of service."</p><p>Bowen, who specializes in transportation, worked with Geography Capstone students in fall 2016 and again in spring quarter to do various kinds of background research about the idea. They also conducted an online survey of people in Ellensburg and other nearby communities about what they think and how often they would use the train if service were restored. Additionally, in April, the students conducted face-to-face surveys at the Super 1 in Ellensburg.</p><p>"I presented some initial results from the surveys at a rail conference in Seattle in May. The leaders of AAWA liked the work we’ve done and supported having the scope of the survey extended to other communities along the Stampede Pass corridor," Bowen continued. "Our goal is to have responses throughout the planned corridor."</p><p>The planned corridor runs from Pasco to Yakima, Ellensburg, Cle Elum, over Stampede Pass to Auburn. In Pasco, the line would join with the Amtrak Empire Builder service linking Portland and Chicago. In Auburn, the line would link with north-south routes including Amtrak Cascades trains between Eugene and Vancouver, BC.</p><p>Westbay is working with Bowen to determine if it is economically feasible to restore service to places that haven't had rail service for nearly 40 years. However, over the past few decades, more and more people are working in central Washington, and commuting over the pass to work in the Puget Sound area. And in addition to the growing commuter need, there is also the tourism draw of a passenger train through Washington's booming wine country as well as the many CWU students who might take a train between campus and their homes on the west side of the Cascades.</p><p>"There are lots of unknowns at this point," Bowen admitted. "Although the rail line does exist, it would have to accommodate a mix of passenger and freight lines, all with different schedules. There are a lot of unknowns. The goal of the research is replace some of those unknowns with data."</p><p>AAWA provided more than $3,000 in funding for the study, Restoring Scheduled Passenger Rail Service to the Stampede Pass Corridor. The CWU Provost's Office also provided $1,300 in financial support.</p><p>"I'm pleased that Central sees the value in this research," Bowen said. "There are other stakeholders who we hope will be contributing to the study of restoration as well."</p><p><em>Map of Stampede Pass Corridor by David Cordner, CWU Geography Department</em></p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br>Glenn wins Distinguished Faculty Non-Tenure Track Teaching Award, 07 Jun 2017 16:15:10<p>Elaine Glenn has been selected to receive this year’s Distinguished Faculty Non-Tenure Track Teaching Award. Elaine has been an instructor at CWU since 1994 and has taught thousands of students in World Regional Geography, Political Geography, Geography of Russia, Geography of the Middle East and other courses. Elaine was recognized for enthusiasm for teaching, her devotion to keeping abreast of developments in her subject areas, and especially her compassion for her students.<br>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;"></p><p><br>Photo: Elaine with Elvin Delgado (tenured and promoted to associate professor) and John Bowen (promoted to full professor) at the 2017 Faculty Recognition Ceremony, May 22, 2017.</p></br></p style="text-align: center;"></br>Patricia Snyder and Gavin Schag Honored For Student Achievement, 05 May 2017 12:31:11<p>Patricia Snyder and Gavin Schag were honored for student achievement at the Celebration of the Sciences 2017 Honors Banquet. The College of Sciences awarded students who exemplify the mission, vision, and purpose of their departments.<br><br>Patricia Snyder serves as the president of CWU's Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Association, where she coordinated various events and panels for Food Day and Earth Day, instituted a monthly series of lunch presentations on resource management issues, drafted a composting resolution for CWU's campus, and organized a Wage Negotiation Workshop for women in STEM. Her classmates and professors have found Patricia to be a very articulate, intelligent, capable, hardworking, and engaged colleague, with a great sense of humor and excellent baking skills. Patricia has been recently hired as the Lead Entity Coordinator with Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board.<br><br>Gavin Schag was recruited to play on CWU's rugby team, which he did for four years as both a starter and team captain. His team was in the top 4 nationally each year; and ended up 3rd last year. They would have done better had Gavin not broken his leg midway through the semifinal game. After a clerical error accidentally put him in a geography class, Gavin discovered the exciting interface between environmental topics and computer science. Geography allowed him to pursue both interests through the GIScience specialization. After completing an excellent Advanced GIS project, Gavin did a project through the McNair program titled: UAV Photogrammetry: Structure from Motion Data Evaluation for Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Generation. This work was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference student poster session. In a field of mostly PhD students, Gavin won Honorable Mention in the Technology, Engineering, and Math category. Next fall, he will be attending San Diego State University, fully funded to work in the Geography Department's MS program.<br>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 640px; height: 480px;"></p><p>From left to right, Dr. Robert Hickey, Gavin Schag, Dr. John Bowen, Dr. Jennifer Lipton, Dr. Anthony Gabriel, and Patricia Snyder.</p></br></br></br></br></br></p style="text-align: center;">Maps That Make a Difference by Guest Speaker Jon Hoekstra, PhD, 26 Apr 2017 17:33:57<p>Thursday, April 27th at 1 PM<br>Dean Hall 103</p><p>Executive Director of Mountain to Sound Greenway, Jon Hoekstra will be a special guest speaker in the Department of Geography and Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Program.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 400px; height: 400px;"></p></br></p style="text-align: center;">CWU Geography encourages applications for 2017 scholarships., 25 Apr 2017 17:27:26<p>Geography majors and CERM graduate students, 2017 scholorships are available. For additional information, check out the links under the Scholarships heading on the <a href="/geography/node/2559">Forms</a> page</p>CWU Geography Student Wins Honorable Mention at AAAS Annual Meeting, 18 Apr 2017 16:40:50<p>Gavin Schag (undergraduate, Geography) presented his McNair research at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting.&nbsp; His poster, titled UAV Photogrammetry: Structure from Motion Data Evaluation for Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Generation, was in the Technology, Engineering, and Math category - where he won <a href="">Honorable mention</a>.<br><br>It’s worth noting, that, over the 10 different poster categories, he was the only awardee not from a major research or exclusive private university.&nbsp; Finally, the names and titles of all winners made it into the 24 March issue of Science.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;"></p></br></br></p style="text-align: center;">CWU Geography Students Attend the AAG Annual Meeting, 10 Apr 2017 12:27:40<p>Students attend the American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual meeting in Boston (from left: Floyd Bull, Trinity Turner and Tricia Snyder).</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 500px; height: 375px;"></p></p style="text-align: center;">CWU Geography Students Take Part in Global Humanitarian Digital Mapping Network, 06 Mar 2017 11:12:41<p><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 450px; height: 367px;"></p><p>The CWU Geography Club has joined the YouthMappers, a global network of universities working on humanitarian mapping projects. Central Washington University is the first university in Washington state to open a chapter.</p><p>In the United States, most people take easy access to maps—like Google Maps—for granted. However, in many areas of the world, digital map data is nonexistent, outdated, or inaccessible by civilians. Up-to-date online maps are crucial for providing emergency response to natural disasters, planning, and mitigation.</p><p>YouthMappers ( is an organization that works with college students around the world to provide data for places where online maps may be sparse or missing. This is accomplished by tracing and tagging detailed satellite data and aerial photographs in social gatherings called "map-a-thons." YouthMappers is largely funded by USAID and much of the satellite data used in mapping is donated by Microsoft and Yahoo.</p><p>The data is placed in a publicly-available database called OpenStreetMap ( The maps are used for delivering humanitarian aid, planning for disaster response, and other essential services. At one such map-a-thon this past November, CWU students and faculty traced roads and residential areas in Zimbabwe to help Doctors Without Borders plan the delivery of medical services to rural populations.</p><p>"We are very excited for our new partnership and we look forward to working with YouthMappers on a variety of humanitarian mapping events," said Caleb Valko, Geography Club president. "This gives us a chance to make a difference in the lives of others while becoming more familiar with digitizing and OpenStreetMap."<br><br>Geography professor Sterling Quinn encouraged geography students to become involved in OpenStreetMap and YouthMappers because it gave students meaningful hands-on experience in cartography and enhanced their geographic information systems (GIS) skills.</p><p>"Students can download a satellite image, and start investigating what geographical landmarks are in the area, such as buildings, bridges, roads, or significant landscape features such as rivers or lakes," Quinn explained. "They then trace the outlines of the feature with a mouse or stylus, and tag it. It works best when you have someone local to verify what you've tagged."</p><p>But most people can identify a building or lake, he added.</p><p>Quinn has had his students trace and tag the terrain around Ellensburg, things like basic roads, businesses, windmills, and other structures.</p><p>"It really inspires them to look around and pay attention," he noted.</p><p>Quinn's students participated in a Map-a-thon on March 3, where they traced roads and structures in Siaya, Kenya to help the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) determine the optimal geographic allocation of health services. For more information about this project, go to and</p><p>More information can be found at or by contacting Sterling Quinn,</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>March 6, 2017</p></br></br></br></br>CWU Geography Alum Heads Snoqualmie Avalanche Control, 23 Jan 2017 13:36:35<p><img alt="" src="/geography/sites/" style="width: 220px; height: 226px; float: left; margin-left: 3px; margin-right: 3px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;">John Stimberis’ office looks nothing like that of a typical state employee.</p><p>Sure, there’s an ancient coffee pot in the corner, cheap carpet and old computers humming quietly.</p><p>But you’re also liable to trip over a stray pair of ski boots, and pasted to a glass door is a bumper sticker that reads: “There are very few problems which cannot be solved by the suitable application of high explosives.” The other tools of his trade include skis, snowmobiles, Sno-Cats and an M60 tank.</p><p>Stimberis, 47, is one of two avalanche forecaster supervisors working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).</p><p>Read more of this story in the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Seattle Times</em></a>.</p>