Distinguished Johns Hopkins University Geographer Visits WSU

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University welcomes renowned Johns Hopkins University geographer Antoinette WinklerPrins, who will present “Amazonian Dark Earths:  Implications for Conservation and Development of the Region” Nov. 8 at 11:30 a.m. in the Wildcat Theater.

As the guest speaker for the university’s Distinguished Geographer Lecture Series, WinklerPrins will explore questions concerning the “black earth of the Indians,” which is amazingly fertile, coal-black soil created from ancient human activity and found in the Amazon Basin. She will discuss how it originated, whether or not it provides evidence of long-vanished, advanced Amazon civilizations, what its fertility could mean for tropical agriculture and if its carbon storage capabilities help with climate change mitigation.

“Dr. WinklerPrins will share her discoveries about Amazonian dark earths and take us on a virtual tour of the less-developed section of the Amazon Basin, a location most people may never explore,” said Julie Rich, WSU assistant geography professor.  “The lecture will help us learn about what the Amazonian dark earths tell us, and how land conservation in the Amazon will need to strike a balance between both the needs of society and nature.”

WinklerPrins’ research focuses on environmental knowledge systems, small holder agriculture, agro biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods in urban and rural areas of developing countries. Much of her research has been conducted in the Brazilian Amazon, but she has also been involved in research projects in Kenya, Mexico and the United States.

Program director of Johns Hopkins’ cluster of environmental studies programs, WinklerPrins says her work affords her opportunities to travel the world, but the Amazon Basin remains a favored destination.

“Much of the flood plain of the Amazon River is really quite inaccessible by road, so you have to travel by Amazonian river boats and sleep in hammocks,” she said. “This is difficult in practice but pretty amazing in that it really immerses you in a very different way of life that’s eye-opening.”

WinklerPrins’ visit is made possible by support from the Association of American Geographers Visiting Geographical Scientist Program and WSU’s Department of Geography.

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Julie Rich, assistant professor of geography
801-626-6209 • jrich@weber.edu
Julie Rich, assistant professor of geography
801-626-6209 • jrich@weber.edu