Katharine Parker
Year 3, BSc Geography

Spreading the Love for Geography

If you’re someone that has a real love for geography and an urge to enthuse other students, then the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Ambassador Scheme could be just the thing for you to get involved with!

Celebration Day 2014 (jazz hands)

Geography Ambassadors at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) headquarters in Kensington, London


Undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates can all apply to become an ambassador and once you have attended a training session you are free to go and spread the love for geography in classrooms and beyond. Throughout all of your visits there is amazing support provided to you and any resources that you need are sent to you though the post, including your I LOVE GEOGRAPHY pencils… that yes, it is true, both students and teachers go crazy for!

I Love Geography Pencils to give out t0 the students

You can get in touch with teachers yourself or check  on the Facebook page where potential visits are added daily. Schools may ask for a wide range of visit topics for example:

  • I love geography sessions
  • Careers in geography
  • What is geography like at university?

…or maybe they would like you to come up with a fun entertaining geographical activity that will enthuse their students. Lets face it, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘isn’t geography just colouring in?’…as an RGS-IBG Ambassador it is your chance to erase that stereotype!

I got involved as an RGS-IBG Ambassador during my first year at Queen Mary University of London. I saw it as great opportunity as I hope to become a Secondary School Geography Teacher. However, even if you are not interested in becoming a teacher it doesn’t matter as along with the social aspect, this scheme provides you with lots more invaluable skills that would look great on any C.V.  My first session was a children’s lecture at the Royal Geographical Society at its headquarters in Kensington – just down the District Line from Queen Mary – it was a great way to kick start being an Ambassador. I got to meet fellow geographers from both QMUL and other universities and I received my Ambassador t-shirt!

Following on from this I attended three events at schools in London that I arranged myself. First up was a lunchtime session for a group of sixth formers who wanted to know what geography was like at university. Secondly I attended an Open Evening at Addey and Stanhope School to encourage students and their parents that taking geography as a GCSE option is a really great way to widen future horizons. The RGS-IBG Ambassador scheme provided me with loads of great resources to give to the school, the students and the parents. I later returned to Addey and Stanhope School and had the chance to do an after school session based entirely on my own ideas. So despite others opinions, I decided to take a laboratory  into the classroom and do soil analysis, even though my flat mates joked ‘so… your just going to talk to them about dirt?!’ it went down really well, the students loved it and I got amazing feedback. Soil analysis was something that I had been studying in my first year, I provided the equipment and soil samples with the help of the geography laboratory staff at QMUL, and in groups the students tested soil texture, soil pH and soil colour.

Testing the pH of the soil

Testing the pH of the soil

Concentrating on getting that pH value just right

Concentrating on getting that pH value just right

Analysing the soil texture

Analysing the soil texture

Not wanting to get their fingers dirty didn't last long!

Not wanting to get their fingers dirty didn’t last long!

Using the Munsell colour charts

Using the Munsell colour charts

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From the short talk that I gave the students even managed to make some university style notes

The students made some university style notes from the short talk that I gave

Becoming an RGS-IBG Ambassador is really simple, you can download the application form from the Geography Ambassador Scheme website and a training session is happening at QMUL on the 13th February 2015. The scheme is really flexible and allows you to do something different around all of your university studies. For me this scheme has provided me with so much confidence, I really enjoy every moment of it and I cannot wait to do another session and eventually become a geography  teacher! Whether in London or your home city, there are lots of students out there waiting for you to come to their school and spread the love for geography… so what are you waiting for?

RGS throwing


Room for an extra New Year’s resolution?

St Paul's Cathedral, London

Don’t let the Christmas spirit of giving fade throughout the year

Every year, before we know it, New Year’s day arrives and its time once again to make those promises to make a fresh start. We have just had Christmas when we opened our presents, in front of a warm fire and watched Christmas television slumped on the sofa full of the Christmas dinner that we shared with our families. Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, have you spared a thought this year for those who aren’t as privileged as ourselves?

I attended a series of lectures within the second year module Society, Culture and Space, with Professor Jon May, a human geography lecturer at QMUL who has undertaken considerable research concerning the geographies of homelessness. I realised and became extremely passionate about the immoral way that homeless people are treated. I believe that it is appalling that those with power are able to authorise the removal of a whole group of  people from places of investment and tourist attraction based solely on property ownership. At a time of hope and change I think now is the time that we need to think of those who don’t experience ‘fun’ at New Year and ask ourselves how can we use New Year’s resolutions to create a change for others and not just ourselves.

As well as studying my degree in BSc Geography, I am a Girl Guiding Leader at both a Rainbow and Brownie group.  During their Christmas sleepover the 296th St. Michael’s Brownie Pack in Birmingham decided to pack and decorate shoe boxes and doggy bags and give them to a local charity that provides shelter and festivities for those who are homeless or less fortunate. With help from the 1st Bartley Green Rainbows, warm accessories, toiletries, sweets and dog treats and accessories were donated, placed in shoe boxes and given as Christmas presents.

Streetlink is a website through which anyone can alert authorities in England to a rough sleeper in their area. It acts as the middle man passing on your information to those who can help. It is extremely simple and free to report a rough sleeper online and they keep in contact with you to ask for more information and keeping you informed about what they did to help the person you reported. Streetlink is a really easy way for you to make a homeless person a bit more comfortable this winter.

Make this your New Year’s resolution for 2015.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, lets make 2015 a good one!


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