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Geography and Environmental Sustainability

College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, The University of Oklahoma website wordmark
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Geography and Environmental Sustainability


We are a dynamic and growing department located in Norman, Oklahoma, named one of the best small cities in America.

Our mission is to conduct innovative and socially relevant research; to expand students’ intellectual vistas via critical perspectives and valuable tools and skills; and to catalyze sustainable human-natural systems.

2019 Summer Abroad. Study in Arezzo!

Gardens of knowledge

Gardens of Knowledge and Delight

July 8-August 2, 2019

GEOG 3253 Enviromental Conservation

LA 4743 Garden History

Click Flyer for more information 


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Three DGES faculty have been selected to serve on an Extreme Events Advisory Group for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).  CEC is a high-level collaboration between the US (led by EPA), Mexico and Canada, established through the 1994 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation to facilitate and implement cooperation among the Parties to conserve, protect, and enhance the North American environment, promote sustainable development, and support the environmental goals and objectives of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Drs. Mark Shafer, Randy Peppler, and Renee McPherson have been selected to serve on the 15-member U.S. contingent of the Advisory Group.

The Advisory Group was established at the Summer 2018 CEC annual meeting to examine extreme weather and climate events that affect the health, safety, and socio-economic and environmental well-being of communities and populations across the the nations and to improve early warning, adaptation planning, and emergency management. The three DGES faculty bring perspectives from the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, and NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies to contribute to regional and international solutions to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change.

For more information about the CEC:

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The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Dr. Jeffrey Widener, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability (DGES) and Director, Center for Spatial Analysis. Dr. Widener started teaching for the department as a doctoral degree candidate in 2010 and continued to do so as an adjunct instructor after earning his PhD in 2015.  He joined the faculty of DGES in January 2018.  He has developed and taught a wide variety of courses ranging from introductory courses focused on geography to GIS-focused courses, and consistently receives outstanding evaluations from students.   Dr.  Widener also participates in institutes and workshops for K-12 teachers through the Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education (OKAGE).  


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The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research was presented to Dr. Thomas Neeson, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability.  Dr. Neeson joined the DGES faculty in 2015.  His main area of interest focuses on the impacts of global change on freshwater ecosystems. Dr. Neeson’s recent work includes resource allocation problems in conservation biology, invasive species management, sustainable fisheries, and trade-offs between biodiversity and infrastructure.  He has published fourteen papers since he arrived at OU, including four as first author. 



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Welcome to Dr Mike Wimberly!

DGES is excited to announce that Dr. Michael Wimberly joins the faculty this fall.  Dr. Wimberly earned his PhD in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University.  He comes to OU from South Dakota State University where he was a Senior Scientist in the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence and a professor of Natural Resource Management.



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Congratulations to our graduate student winners for 2018 Student Research and Creativity Day! 

1st place in Education/Fine Arts/Humanities/Social Science

Logan Gerber-Chavez

2nd Place in Oral Presentations 1

Zhen Hong