Colorado Geographic Alliance - Three Decades of Support

For a review of the work of the Colorado Geographic Alliance from 2007 to 2018, please explore this storymap.

This material is being kept online for educational and historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, the content of this webpage is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit National Geographic Education for current information at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/education/.

Facebook Feed
Blog Feed

This is What Geographers Do

Keep Calm and Study Geography

The AAG offers a suite of resources designed to help students find information about undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as current available jobs, graduate assistantships, internships, and postdoc positions in geography.

The AAG Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas offers a comprehensive listing of undergraduate and graduate programs in all areas of geography and includes an interactive map that students can use to explore and discover geography programs, with easy-to-use search tools to find programs by degree type, region, and program specialization.

Students at all levels will also be interested in the AAG Student Opportunities Site (SOS), which features a wide variety of available graduate assistantships, internships, and postdoctoral researcher positions in geography and related disciplines. Academic departments may post their student and postdoc opportunities on the site at no charge. New opportunities are constantly being added, so be sure to return often to view the latest openings!

In addition, students on the job market are invited to begin their search for available positions using the AAG Jobs in Geography Center. This site offers the latest geography-related job openings in the academic, public, private, and nonprofit sectors, along with a wide array of practical resources that can assist students with career planning and the job hunt.

Visit the What Geographers Do Archive to learn about geographers.

Our Goal


  • Changing how you understand and experience the world


  • To instill and nurture spatial awareness and geographic literacy


  • Inspiring passion for Earth and its inhabitants
  • Connecting people with geography
  • Honoring inclusivity and diversity
  • Exploring physical and human environments
  • Developing spatial perspective

Investigate National Geographic's Explorer Mindset Learning Framework

Join National Geographic Explorers at the Denver Botanic Gardens on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

National Geographic Explorer Flyer

Read Thomas Jefferson Award winner and University of Colorado Colorado Springs Professor of Geography John Harner's observations about the importance of teaching geography as part of a liberal education. 

Visit the revised National Geographic Education site for information on teaching resources, mapping, and educator grants.

Giant maps logo

National Geographic releases information for purchasing Giant Traveling Maps! 

Order your own Giant Map of Colorado for your district or region. Visit the National Geographic website for details.

National Geographic State maps were created using the expertise of National Geographic’s cartographic division and research on elementary spatial thinking. Each state map comes with a downloadable pdf and a handbook with lessons which can be used on any state map. Shipping and handling is $25 for the 48 contiguous United States, and $80 for Alaska and Hawaii. The Giant Map of Colorado will cost $675.

Information about materials and lessons specific to Colorado will be available on the Colorado Geographic Alliance website.

Members of the board

Members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents took a break from meetings to learn about the state’s history and geography. Rebecca Theobald, assistant research professor in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department and coordinator for the Colorado Geographic Alliance, led the regents and campus leaders in lessons including shifts in the state’s industries and population using the Giant Map of Colorado. Find out more here.

DeGette Fourth graders

The Giant Map of Colorado recently captured the attention of Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette, Representative for the First District of Colorado. Rebecca Theobald, assistant research professor and coordinator for the Colorado Geographic Alliance, took the map to Denver’s Isabella Bird Community School on April 19th. DeGette joined in on the activities and helped teach facts about her district. Check out the article here.

Steven Jennings, PhD, Associate Professor Geography and Environmental Studies Department


Pairing a lecture with a tactile representation including math manipulatives, science labs, or geographic images creates opportunities for students who have visual impairments or have difficulty pairing 2D images with 3D models.

Dr. Jennings has taught GES 1010 Environmental Systems: Landforms many times, but spring 2016 was the first time he had a blind student in his class. Working with Leyna Bencomo, Assistive Technology Specialist, he created 3D images of the Earth’s surfaces as well as thermal/raised diagrams to accommodate the blind student. Dr. Jennings found that all of the students benefitted from the use of 3D models.

Read the complete interview with Dr. Jennings.

The Kristin Alvarez Memorial NCGE President Scholarship has been awarded annually since 2012. The scholarship recognizes and supports an educator who demonstrates effort and interest in furthering Spatial Literacy, Geographic Education, Pre-service Teacher Education, or Geospatial Technologies such as GIS, GPS, or online geospatial teaching and learning.

You are invited to contribute to the Memorial NCGE President Kristin Alvarez Scholarship. 2017 is the 5th and final year of the Memorial Scholarship.

Applications are DUE: December 31, 2016.

If you wish to apply, nominate a colleague, or contribute, please see the brochure and application forms.

2016 Golden Triangle Education Block Party

Enjoy free admission to the Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, and History Colorado Center and learn about the rich educational offerings available at each institution. You’ll get exclusive access to Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume at the Denver Art Museum.

This event is open to educators only and online registration is required (show your educator ID badge for entry). Light refreshment will be served.

Contact group sales with any questions at 720-913-0088 or email groupsales@denverartmuseum.org.

Betsy McMichael, Katelyn Foster, Dave Plumb and Kristen Gracy, the 4th Grade Team at Crystal River Elementary School, are using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to engage students in exploring Colorado history, geography, and culture, as well as energy resources, with interactive online maps. Check out this video to learn more.

The National Geographic Learning Framework communicates National Geographic’s key beliefs and values. The Learning Framework is established around a set of Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge that have been created to accompany products, resources, services, and experiences offered to educators by National Geographic. The Learning Framework was developed based on national standards for subject areas taught from kindergarten to high school. This framework was designed to embrace how children and youth can and should learn from experiences with National Geographic. Please visit National Geographic's website to read more about the National Geographic Learning Framework.

Over two hundred participants explored Sondermann Park in Colorado Springs during the first week in May as part of the Colorado BioBlitz. Early in the week, elementary, middle, and high school teachers practiced hands-on activities to support their students in exploring birds and mammals, microbes and insects, grasses and flowers, soil and lichen. They were provided with a variety of resources including plant guides and identification tools. On Friday, students from the Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning walked from their school through the park to the Catamount Center where they spent the day searching for bugs and plants in the riparian and grassland ecosystems. Volunteers and families filled Sondermann Park on Saturday before spring hailstorm moved in. They counted --- species, and learned about bee habitat, bird migration, pine-bark beetle infestation, and plant hydrology from local scientists. National Geographic Maps was on hand to share resources, and the Catamount Institute served as an excellent host. This BioBlitz was one of over 250 BioBlitzes happening across the country as part of the National Park Service Centennial.

The Colorado Geographic Alliance and the Catamount Institute are hosting the BioBlitz in Colorado, part of the celebration of the National Parks Centennial, in partnership with National Geographic. Join scientists, educators, and explorers to discover the variety of species in our area. The event will take place on Saturday, May 7th, from 9 am to 2 pm at the Beidleman Environmental Center, 740 West Caramillo Street, Colorado Springs.



Attending Paris climate-change conference flips CU-Boulder professor from pessimism to optimism. Check out this article on Peter Blanken's experience at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in December in Paris.



Proficiency in geographic education for primary and secondary grade students is on the decline. Rebecca Theobald of the Colorado Geographic Alliance states "Geography is an integrative discipline and can be used to shed light on hydromorphology." Read more here:


John O’Loughlin, CU-Boulder professor of geography and faculty associate in the Institute of Behavioral Science, has become the first foreigner in more than 100 years to win the Semenov-Tyan-Shansky gold medal for research on Russia. Read more about John's achievement here:


For a quick review of what the members of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies have been doing over the summer, check out the Fall 2015 Newsletter.


Gary Knell, President of the National Geographic Society, shared his thoughts on the importance of geography education at the 2015 Esri Users Conference in San Diego. Access the video here:


In honor of the National Geographic Bee, educators have the opportunity to host their own Free-Bee at their School!
Check out the link below to register for a Free-Bee!


Check out the Rocky Mountain Map Society! They are dedicated to the study and appreciation of maps and other items of cartographic interest. Check out their website!


From Sanatorium to Scholarship Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. OPENS May 9, 2015


Check out this historical map of UCCS compiled by the UCCS Department of Geography and Environmental Studies Chair John Harner, Marta Blanco-Castano, and Glenn Xavier.


Q&A with Tom and Carole Huber, "Geography: the common ground for UCCS couple’s diverse academic adventures."

The NCGE now has Future Geoleader Membership Program!

Benefits include:

Introduction to Human Geography Class