Colorado Geographic Alliance

COGA and Catamount Insitutute Host Colorado BioBlitz on Saturday, May 7, 2016


In 2016, over 200 BioBlitzes will be held across the country as teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, educators, and other community members work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible in a specific geographic location.  The Colorado Geographic Alliance and the Catamount Institute are hosting the Colorado BioBlitz in Colorado Springs.  Teachers throughout the state have signed up for professional development workshops while the general public is invited to participate in exploring urban ecology on Saturday, May 7, 2016, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.  The event will take place at Sondermann Park at the Catamount Institute, 740 West Caramillo Street, Colorado Springs, 80907.  All ages are welcome.  Participants will explore six stations divided into two ecosystems--riparian and grassland.  They will have the opportunity to help collect data, identify species, and learn how to use scientific tools.  The first hundred students under 18 to participate will receive BioBlitz bags to help them collect their finds.  For more details, contact  If you are interested in learning about how to volunteer for the BioBlitz, click on this link to Volunteer Match for a list of opportunities.

UCCS to host the 4th Annual GeoQuiz Night, in honor of GAW

COGA will be partnering with the GeoClub, Global Engagement Office, Global Intercultural Research Center, and Students for Environmental Awareness and Sustainability to host the 4th Annual GeoQuiz Trivia Night at UCCS on November 19th at 6 pm in Clyde's Cafe in the University Center at UCCS.  Students, staff, faculty, and the Colorado Springs Public are welcome to come participate in the quiz and get the chance to win some prizes.  There will be free parking in lot 220 just south of Cragmore Hall from 6-8 pm and there will be food and beverages at the event.

New Colorado STEMworks database spotlights successful STEM programs 

The Colorado Geographic Alliance is proud to announce that "Moving GIS into the Classroom" is one of the first seven programs to be accepted into the new Colorado STEMworks database, which was launched in January through a partnership among The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), Colorado Technology Association (CTA), and Change the Equation (CTEq) to identify and promote effective STEM education programs. The programs also will become part of CTEq's national database.  Read more about the project here.  If your school or district is interested in exploring geospatial technology instruction for teachers, please contact us at

GeoFest in Estes Park

COGA BoothBiosphereAtlas Winner

GeoFest, a community-wide celebration of our planet, had a turnout of almost 200 people on Saturday, April 25,2015 in Estes Park.  GeoFest, organized by the Estes Park Learning Place, offered visitors a whole new way to wonder about the world.  Colorado Geographic Alliance Leadership Council member and National Geographic Society Maps manager Kevin Lance hosted the COGA booth.  Multiple people stopped by to enter a raffle for National Geographic prizes including inflatable globes, geography books, and road atlases.  The grand prize, a National Geographic Atlas of the World, 10th Edition, was awarded to Shraddah Subash.  Thanks to Kevin and the Estes Park community for providing this opportunity to increase geographic knowledge and spatial understanding.

Colorado Geographic Alliance Receives Esri ConnectED Teacher Professional Development Award in Geospatial Technology

South Platter River ProjectIn February 2015, Esri awarded 40 grants to support professional development of educators to foster implementation of Esri's ConnectED offer in communities across the country to address needs of digitally-disadvantaged youth.  Click here to see Schools with GIS from Esri and ConnectED.

Along with Castle View High School, COGA received a $5,000 grant to help teachers to become proficient in ArcGIS Online.  COGA will be working with GIS professionals from plan-it GEO, a geospatial technology firm specializing in urban forestry, planning, and natural resources located in Arvada, and the Englewood Schools, which is developing curricula based on the South Platte River. 

The South Platte River Project builds on the work that COGA undertook with school districts in Elizabeth, Grand Junction, Limon, and Windsor to support teachers as they work to move geospatial technology into their classrooms.  If your school or district is interested in hosting a workshop on this topic, please contact

Teaching Geography with Primary Sources

TPSEducators from Geographic Alliances in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon gathered in Portland at the beginning of July with facilitators from the Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Western Region program.  This design workshop provided direction on developing workshops and state-based model lessons using primary sources to teach geography at any grade level.  The Library of Congress website has a treasure trove of primary sources, including maps, images, and text documents, that can enrich teaching in all areas of social studies, including geography.  The TPS program offers instruction on teaching with primary resources, and together with Geographic Alliances across the country this project will plan, implement, and evaluate workshops that will structure ways to guide teachers in making the best use of geographic analysis for primary resources in classrooms.  If you or your district is interested in being part of the next round of workshops in Colorado, please email

COGA Teachers Provide Lessons for Students Considering Life on Mars

Garden of the Gods When joining the Colorado Geographic Alliance workshop focused on geospatial technology this past June, inservice and preservice teachers may not have realized that they were going to be expected to think about using GIS on Mars.  In addition to developing lessons they will use in their classrooms in the fall, participants created projects to analyze efficient routes on Mars, calculate effects of soil temperature, and assess optimal places for settlement. Students  conducted some of their lessons at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  For additional information about summer science camps sponsored through the Center for STEM Education, visit the UCCS website.

APHG Teachers Experience South Korea!

Tea Ceremony

This summer, COGA nominated 2 Colorado APHG teachers- Unity Hartman and Rob Gilliam- to be part of the 2014 Korean Delegation and learn about Geographic Education for a Harmonious Global Society. Organized by the Northeast Asian History Foundation, a total of 15 delegates participated in a field experience in Seoul. Read about their journey here!

Geographic Alliances in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon receive $50,000 grant from National Geographic Education Foundation 

Feb 17 2014  The Colorado Geographic Alliance at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs recently received an inaugural collaborative planning grant of $50,000 from the National Geographic Education Foundation, one of three such grants awarded to members of the Network of Alliances for Geographic Education. Using the grant, the Colorado Geographic Alliance, in partnership with The Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources and the geographic alliances in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, will create a program to develop a workshop model for teachers. The workshop model will incorporate historical maps, primary source thematic maps, and other geographic representations. This information can be used to obtain, describe and compare spatial patterns and information about people, places, events, regions and environments as an essential resource for answering key questions. Teacher leaders in these four states will serve as the initial developers for this project, which has potential to affect how students think about maps across the country.   For further information, please see  this UCCS press release

Geographic Alliances Logos
Teaching with Primary Sources Logo

Network of Alliances for Geographic Education meets in Washington DC Feb 16 2014

Stan Hickory with Colorado Representative Michael Bennett

Each year Alliance Coordinators from across the United States come together in Washington DC to hear about new programs and processes at National Geographic, develop new skills, share information, and visit our legislators on Capitol Hill to advocate for geography education. This year the Alliance Network incorporated a training for policy point people in our Alliance. Stan Hickory,  member of the Leadership Council, seen in this photo with Colorado Representative Michael Bennett, agreed to take on that role. He accompanied the Coordinators to Washington DC, spent a day in meetings, visited the National Geographic museum, and talked about the importance of geography in schools. Stan notes that “One of the most fascinating and truly educational exercises was a legislative simulation. We were asked to take on the persona of a fictional legislator and put through a number of decision making processes that an actual legislator would be asked to do. The experience gave me a new perspective of the difficult job our legislators have. We were able to meet with every one of our Colorado representatives (or his aid). Washington rejuvenated my faith in our democratic process and lit in me a desire to actually become an elected part of the process. The take-away here is that we live in an amazing country and during an amazing time in history. Education is the biggest part of the puzzle that will help us continue to grow and take part in shaping what the world will look like in the future. Hopefully, our small bill is just one of many that will make it through Congress to help fund our tomorrow.”

Grant Awarded to Coga by the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado

Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado LogoThe Colorado Geographic Alliance recently received a grant of $15,000 from the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado as part of its focus on support for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. COGA will use the funds to provide stipends for teachers who are working to increase the use of geospatial technology in K-12 classrooms across the state. Geospatial technology includes geospatial information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and readily available computer-based platforms such as Google Earth. Inservice and preservice teachers will participate in a five-day workshop in June on the UCCS campus. In addition, five teachers in rural and underserved areas, including Windsor and Arickaree, have identified needs in their schools that can be addressed to move geospatial technology into the classroom. COGA will undertake professional development in these districts, as well as provide funding for materials and resources. We are excited about this partnership to develop an effective framework to provide instruction in geospatial technology implementation in more secondary and elementary schools.

COGA Leadership Council Strategic Planning Meeting

COGA Leadership Council Meeting February 2014

Feb 1 2014 The winter meeting of the Colorado Geographic Alliance's Leadership Council was held at History Colorado Center on Saturday, February 1st. While the meetings in spring and fall usually last about three hours, this meeting focuses on discussing the strategic direction for the year ahead, and provides an opportunity for the members of the Leadership Council to delve deeper into opportunities and challenges. We approved COGA's Strategic Plan for 2013-2015; discussed opportunities to reach out to educators, students, and the community through events such as "Night with a Geographer"; brainstormed about ways to improve the COGA website; and considered the possibility of developing a giant traveling map of Colorado. Liz Cook, History Colorado's Environmental Educator, provided a guided tour of the "Living West Exhibit". I am excited about the variety of people involved in COGA's work, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to make sure geography education is available to all students across the state.



National Geographic Announces Geography Legislators of the Year

James Law and Steve Jennings with Sen. Bennet

Feb 28 2013  The National Geographic Education Foundation awarded its Geography Legislator of the Year Awards to key congressional leaders for their commitment to making high-quality geography education available for all K-12 students, preparing young Americans for success. Among those recognized for their dedication to geography education was Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)  For the full press release from National Geographic, follow this link.




The Importance of Geographic Literacy in the Denver Post

During the Teaching Geography is Fundamental campaign, the Denver Post published a letter from COGA Coordinators Steve Jennings and Rebecca Theobald reinforcing the need for geographic literacy.  Check out the full article on the Denver Post website.