GEOG 595: Field Geography of Oregon, 3 Credits

Official Course Description

Investigate how geographers use fieldwork to study landscapes such as mountains, forests, coasts, tundra and desert to understand how they were formed and explain how they have changed over time. Apply techniques for finding out how landscape processes impact humans and, in turn, how humans impact the environment around them. Apply geographic theories and concepts to synthesize, analyze and interpret the relationship between human communities and the environment through the planning and execution of field work in Oregon.

Instructor: Aaron Wolf (

GEOG 595 introduces the students to the widest possible range of topics on all aspects of Oregon geography within a limited time, then turns that experience into a viable research proposal.  While physical processes are the primary topic, resource and environmental effects are also stressed.  Travel is by university vans and costs are shared among the participants (students can expect to spend about $100 per person for food and incidentals, in addition to the $155 class fee for vans, gas, and camping fees).

Broad Schedule (subject to change):

This is a field-based course with a week-long field trip and then four modules where students meet four times during the term.
Module 1: Field trip (Seven days Week 1)
Module 2: Geospatial field methods
Module 3: Data sources and analysis
Module 4: Proposal design
Module 5: Ethics and field work

We will meet four times during the fall quarter to develop and present a research proposal based on a topic related to the course. Meetings are Fridays at 1pm, so do not schedule a conflict.

Required Materials:

We will operate in a wide variety of natural environments, travel by van and foot, and tent camp each night.  Temperatures can range from 20-100 degrees F, so pack to dress in layers and be prepared for cold and wet, as well as warm.  Some roads wind and are dusty – contact-wearers and those prone to motion sickness should prepare accordingly.  Basic camping gear (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent) will be required, which can be rented from the OSU Adventure Leadership Institute or borrowed from fellow CEOAS community members.  The college has some tents to loan. The department will furnish ice chests, stoves, lanterns and water cans for group use.  It is wise to pack staple foodstuffs at home and carry them along - we will make occasional stops at grocery stores every 3 or so days.