Download and view a current or past North Dakota Geographic Alliance newsletter.

NDGA Board of Directors Nominations

Nominations are open for two positions on the NDGA Board of Directors. Please contact Marilyn Weiser at

Tree Study goes International

Minot High School seniors Brandon Christman and Allison Rabe saw an opportunity to learn from the 2011 Souris River flood. "It was a terrible event and I am glad that we could take something positive from it and now we can show other people what trees to plant, what kind, and how tall you want them to be so we can mitigate damage in the future." North Dakota Geographic Alliance member Joe Super collaborated with a Minot State University professor to provide the students some guidance. They presented their work at an International Junior Forest Contest in St. Petersburg in September.

2013 Geographically FIT

“Forestry Institute for Teachers” August 5-8, 2013

The North Dakota Forest Service and North Dakota Geographic Alliance partnered to deliver their sixth Geographically FIT (Forestry Institute for Teachers) in 2013. Participants toured the west central section of the state.

To learn more about this event, download the final report.

The Great Nature Project

National Geographic invites you and your organization to take part in...

For 125 years National Geographic has been inspiring people to care about the planet. To mark our 125th anniversary, we will ignite the world's appreciation for biodiversity through a worldwide celebration of nature.

How it will work:
Working with organizations like yours, we will issue the following
invitation. From September 21st–29th:

  1. Go outside on your own, with friends and family, or with an organized group.
  2. Take pictures of plants and animals that you want to share with the world.
  3. Upload your pictures to photo sharing communities with the Great Nature Project hashtag (#GreatNature).

National Geographic will collect the photos on a Great NatureProject site to create a virtual snapshot of nature worldwide. Our goal is one million people around the globe working together to document biodiversity through photography. And in collaboration with National Geographic Kids, the Great Nature Project will attempt to set a world record for the largest online photo album of animals. Everyone can participate! Please join us in inspiring people to care about nature National Geographic is inviting organizations of all sizes from all over the world to join us in this exciting celebration by spreading the word and organizing their own Great Nature Project activities. Mark your calendars now for the Great Nature Project, September 21-29, 2013. And Sign up here to learn more. We will be sending out information about how your organization can participate in just a few weeks.

Wahpeton Educator Selected for Prestigious Outstanding North Dakota Geography Teacher Award

The North Dakota Geographic Alliance recently announced Brenda Maus Morman, who teaches Grade1 at Central Elementary in Wahpeton, as the winner of the 2012 Warren Kress Outstanding Geography Teacher Award. Well known as an outstanding teacher and advocate for the study of geography and an active community member, she was honored February 6 at a Central Elementary program.

“My students love to find places on the map and globe. So, I integrate geography into my daily teaching and help students explore maps and globe,” Morman said. “During writing activities, I may ask ‘Where could your story take place besides Wahpeton?’ My students learn about cultural geography by celebrating the Chinese New Year, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, and Christmas around the world and through units that use maps to take a trip to Alaska and to places where penguins live.”

Morman’s 34-year career includes teaching in North Dakota schools, South Dakota and Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Minot State University. Later, she received a Master of Education in reading with an emphasis in storytelling from East Tennessee State University.

While attending Minot State, the five-hour drive to Morman’s hometown of Golva made it impossible for her to go home every weekend. She often went home with friends, and she remembers her mom saying, “What a great opportunity to see how other families live and do things.”  Morman realized later that was probably her first experience of geography, including human life and the effects of human activity, outside a textbook. This led to Morman’s deep understanding that cultural geography can be experienced 10 miles away, 10,000 miles away or across the road, eating lefse at the neighbors.

A life-long learner, Morman enjoys travel and professional development that provides opportunities to see how other people live and do things in ways affected by habitat and resources available to them. She uses this knowledge and experience with her students so they develop world-mindedness and become geographically literate.

“Whether we are hearing a story about goats in Africa, singing ‘I Like Potatoes’ and learning about the potato famine that brought Irish families to America or writing to our adopted soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan, daily opportunities are available to experience geography in the classroom,” said Morman.

Morman has completed a variety of programs sponsored by NDGA. In addition, she received the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers Award in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 and the N.D. Reading Council Literary Award. She was also the N.D. Ag in the Classroom recipient and attended the National Ag in the Classroom Conference. She has presented at several reading and speech conferences at the state level; she is a member of many national, state and local professional organizations.

The Warren Kress Outstanding Geography Teacher Award, which was established with contributions from the Kress family and NDGA members, honors the life of Warren Kress, a long-time North Dakota State University faculty member. While at NDSU, Kress actively taught and advised students and helped found the College of University Studies and the Council of Latin American Geographers.

Jeff Beck Receives Distinguished Teaching Award

Jeff Beck has receieved the Distinguished Teaching Award. Jeff is a long-time member of the North Dakota Geographic Alliance (NDGA) and presently serves as president of the Board of Directors. He is an educator who is very well known in the Minot Public School system. Jeff is a member of the NDGA Strategic Planning Team and has been a dynamic leader and expert guide as we write a realistic and doable plan for the future of NDGA.

Jeff has drafted letters, opinions and comments that NDGA has used for official communication to stakeholders as well as for internal communication. He has let his cause for geography education be known at the local and state level by visiting local legislators, speaking with school district officials and administrators. He made it very clear that his mission is providing quality geography education at all grade levels and throughout the curriculum.

Jeff is an exceptional educator and his commitment to education goes beyond his classroom. He has a vision for students and himself that reaches into the future of life-long learning. Reflecting the current trend in education, Jeff’s quest is to bring geography into the everyday lives of students. His International Relations classes bring places, people and culture to the classroom. His students understand the meaning of tolerance and respect and learn how to be productive global citizens. His commitment, talent and energy for working with students, parents, colleagues and members of the community are admirable and deserving of recognition.

Jeff has made a significant impact on the education community in Minot and the state of North Dakota. He represents the very words of the mission of NDGA: “This mission of the North Dakota Geographic Alliance is to promote geographic literacy, foster innovation in geographic education, and encourage stewardship and conservation of Earth’s resources.” Frankly, he is a champion for geography education. Jeff is largely responsible for providing the leadership and energetic promotion of geographic literacy that has made NDGA what it is today: a respected leader of geography education in ND.


A total of 38 participants took part in the 2013 Geographically FIT (Forestry Institute for Teachers),
which was a broad-learning experience covering four days in west central North Dakota.