Hello everyone, Lazlow with River Action here. As a CRS intern, I have been helping the Quad Cities strengthen its flood resiliency since the summer. I'm currently a junior at Augustana College majoring in both Environmental Studies and Geography with a minor in GIS. Today I want to talk a little about what Geography is. I often think there is a misconception about what the field of Geography is. Geography is a dynamic and diverse field that goes beyond mere map reading. It encompasses a diverse range of topics and methodologies, offering a holistic understanding of our world. At its core, geography is the study of space, place, and the relationships between people and their environments.
So why is this important? Why should we care about learning the Geography of a given region? Geography provides insights into the Earth's physical features, including landforms, climate, ecosystems, and natural resources. This knowledge is crucial for environmental conservation, resource management, and predicting natural disasters. All of these topics being very prevalent in the Quad Cities. The quad cities have a deep history of resource management and natural disasters; that being agriculture and flooding. Though it may not seem like a benefit, flooding has helped agriculture thrive in the Mississippi River Watershed for tens of millions of years.
Floodplains, or areas adjacent to rivers that are periodically flooded, are often fertile due to the deposition of nutrient-rich sediment during flooding events. Many civilizations throughout history have thrived in these regions due to the availability of fertile soil for agriculture. This can be seen throughout Iowa and Illinois.
As a Geography student, I am always looking at different landscapes from multiple perspectives. My most recent interests are how drones and drone mapping can be applied to agriculture. Last week in my drone mapping class, I had the privilege of using a drone to fly around 50 acres of farmland. After the drone was done flying, my partner and I took the data back to the lab and were able to create a 3D model and identify which part of the land was subject to soil erosion, stormwater runoff, and overall neglect. As technology advances, so does our understanding of the geography. We start to learn more and more about the past, enabling us to make predictions about the future. This is what I believe to be the most exciting part about geography.
The Quad Cities is a special place on the Mississippi River, and I think that Geography highlights it perfectly. Whether you live in the bluffs or the floodplain, I think everyone can agree that the river has played a pivotal role in shaping the region's development, influencing trade, industry, and the overall character of the Quad Cities. Thanks for listening!