Geography & Environment: RU Discovers

Geography & Environment: RU Discovers

Travel Journals

Travel to Europe with Rowan Discovers Europe
May 2011

Students interested in traveling to/studying in France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium, and earning 3 Rowan credits are encouraged to contact Dr. Denyse Lemaire, Department of Geography and Environment: (856) 256-3976 or

The "Geography of Europe" trip will depart Philadelphia on May 22nd and return June 6th, 2011. We will visit France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Dr. Lemaire will lead the tour, and will be assisted by French geologist Bernard Langellier, and French geographer Bertrand Eveilleau.

Download the itinerary for the Europe trip.

Travel to the American West with the
Geology of the National Parks Course
June-July 2011

Students interested in traveling to/studying in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, and Oregon and visit Death Valley N.P., the Hoover Dam, Zion N.P., Bryce Canyon N.P., Grand Canyon N.P., Monument Valley, Gooseneck State Park, Arches N.P., Natural Bridge N.P., Salt Lake City (Mormon Temple), Great Salt Lake, Grand Teton N.P., Gros Ventre landslide, Yellowstone N.P., Glacier N.P., Mt Rainier N.P., Mt St Helens N.P., Mt. Lassen N.P., Mt. Shasta, Crater Lake N.P, Yosemite N.P., Devil Post Pile, Giant Sequoia N.P., Kings Canyon N.P., Mono Lake plus two ghost towns and earn 3 or 4 credits (science lab) are encouraged to contact Dr. Denyse Lemaire, Department of Geography and Environment: (609) 254-6048 or

The trip will depart Philadelphia around June 10th, 2011 and returns July 8th. The number of students will be limited to 21. You will earn 3 credits by taking the course "Geology of the National Parks," or earn 4 credits when with additional work this course can be substituted for Physical Geology which is a 4 credit-lab that satisfies the General Education Science Lab requirement.

The $3,300 price for 22 days is all-inclusive (airline ticket, all transportation, activities, visits, tips, hotels (most of them with a swimming pool), meals, drinks, snacks, and travel insurance). The three credit class will be paid separately by the students. A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required to secure participation in the trip. The class notes will be given to each student in a binder (included in the total price).

The trip is budgeted at cost. No travel agency is involved in the organization of the trip and I am making no financial profit.

Download the itinerary for the National Parks Trip.

Vacation Learning: No Summer Bummer

For the fifth straight summer, Rowan geography professor Denyse Lemaire led students around the globe in 2009 for instruction way too big for the classroom.

Some landed on the beachhead at Normandy, France, and scaled the rocky cliffs for a Memorial Day lesson in freedom and courage.

Others toured the American West and 14 National Parks including Yellowstone, a geologic wonder atop a massive caldera volcano.

Still others took a 25-day trip through New Zealand, Australia and Fiji where they learned about ancient aboriginal culture and the modern world down under.

Lemaire, who visited nearly 70 nations prior to the summer trips, believes travel provides a unique opportunity for learning that one simply cannot get on a campus.

In Normandy, for example, site of the June 6, 1944 World War II invasion by Allied forces, students imagined taking part in the assault.

"I bring them to the beach as if they're disembarking from the barges," Lemaire said days before her first group left. "I have them develop a strategy to get to the top where the German army was waiting. Then, I have them climb to the top where they imagine they are German soldiers trying to stop the invasion."

Lemaire expected the Normandy experience to make a huge impression on her charges. Following their assault on the craggy heights students were to meet two survivors from the invasion and attend a Memorial Day ceremony at the American cemetery nearby to commemorate the battle's dead and wounded.

"It's very emotional," said Lemaire, a native of France who grew up between Paris and the Belgian border. "I believe if history is lived it becomes more personal, not just a few lines in a book."

Lemaire, a Rowan faculty member since 1998, holds a Ph.D. in science from the University of Brussels and master's degrees in geophysics and geography, all of which is helpful in her travel with students.

For the National Parks trip Lemaire planned on discussing natural geologic activity such as that occurring within the massive, nervous caldera beneath Yellowstone and other volcanoes including Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens in Oregon and Mammoth Lakes in California.

She began the summer travel program, in which she arranges world-class trips for students at cost, in 2005, with a 17-day trip to China.

Prior to the 2009 trips, Lemaire composed an exhaustive Web site detailing her plans and maintained a daily travel to keep parents, faculty and friends informed en route.

In all, sixty-seven people took part in the 2009 trips, many of them returnees from previous excursions with Lemaire, earning 3-4 credits per trip. To qualify for the credits (which were not included in the cost of the trip) students were expected to make PowerPoint presentations and take part in discussions about what they saw, heard and felt along the way. In addition, rotating student teams took photographs of what they did and saw and contributed to the blogs each day.

The point of it all, Lemaire said, is fun, great food and developing an appreciation for other cultures.

"I don't use travel agencies or any bus company," she said. "If we go somewhere I've all ready been there first. I want my people to get the full experience as if they were local and that goes for the restaurants, too."