The New York Geographic Alliance (NYGA) was founded in 1988. Originally, our mission was to train teachers at summer institutes, with the plan that they would do professional development workshops in their local school districts.
The NYGA recently completed its strategic plan, with a goal of increasing active membership and raising the standards of geographic education in our state. One of our most important projects is the development of teaching modules that are aligned to the Common Core. We must keep geography as part of the curriculum in all classes, K -12. Our first module is for Grades 4/5 on the Erie Canal. We will be starting work on a middle school module in the summer of 2014. Meanwhile our Policy Committee will be working on a white paper to introduce our efforts to the Board of Regents.
The purpose of NYGA is to coordinate a comprehensive effort, through cooperative arrangement with the National Geographic Society (NGS), to improve the quality of curricula and instruction in geography in schools and colleges in the State of New York.
Why is New York the Empire State? We have the largest city in America (NYC) and the largest wilderness area (the Adirondack Mountains). New York is the only state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes, and the Erie Canal connects them. We are the home to baseball, the women's rights movement, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, forts and battlefields of three wars, and a very proud and diverse population. What makes us special? It's ALL about geography! Ask us, and we'll tell you why.
The NYGA is also part of a grant from NOAA through National Geographic on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative. We are training teachers throughout the state about watersheds from a geographic perspective. Part of the training involves using our own Water Testing Kits, developed by Prof. Stephen Vermette of Buffalo State College. There are several watershed workshops planned for the spring of 2014, and a Waterways of New York Conference in July.
New members to our Alliance are always welcome. Just email Tim McDonnell or go to the website and you can join for FREE.