Friday Harbor Labs, Geography and Geology
Western Kentucky University
Dr. North is the Director of Education and Outreach for the Western Kentucky University Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES). She earned her doctorate in 2011 in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida. Her research and teaching interests include karst environments, water resources, climate change communication, informal science education, eye-tracking, and sustainability. Since she was first exposed to karst science as an undergraduate student, Leslie has focused her collegiate and research activities on understanding and protecting these fragile terrains and water resources. During her Master’s thesis research, which focused on evaluating anthropogenic karst disturbances, Leslie reached the startling conclusion that both the general public and policymakers have a very limited understanding of karst terrains, resulting in widespread misuse of these landscapes. As a result, for her dissertation, Dr. North conducted the first holistic study of karst-related educational programs implemented in the United States and abroad, and the tools, techniques, and feasibility of educating the general public at karst attractions, particularly show cave facilities. Through a large body of data collected from over 100 show caves worldwide, she was able to illustrate the existence of multiple missed opportunities and misconceptions about educational pursuits in informal learning environments that are ultimately hindering the pursuit of appropriate geologic education and encouraging erroneous measures of program success. Recently, her research has involved the use of stationary and mobile eye-tracking technology in ecotourism research. She is associate faculty at the University of Akureyri, Iceland, a country in which she frequently co-leads a study abroad course and has conducting ecotourism research.
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Educating about Karst Water Resources through University-City Collaboration part of NAGT:Professional Development:Serving Our Communities:Blog Posts
The Center for Human Geo-Environmental Studies (CHNGES) at Western Kentucky University is highly engaged in its Bowling Green community. Led by Dr. Leslie North and Dr. Jason Polk, CHNGES works with the Bowling ...