INCREASING PUBLIC INTEREST IN GEOSCIENCES THROUGH GEOHERITAGE: A GEOLOGIC COMPANION TO JOHN MCPHEE’S RISING FROM THE PLAINS
The project builds upon a well-known extended essay by John McPhee set in Wyoming. The travelogue Rising from the Plains (1986) blends the stories of a young school teacher who arrived in rural Wyoming in 1905 and of her son, geologist David Love (1913-2002), together with evocative prose describing the visual impact and scientific significance of Wyoming geology. Students in the University of Wyoming’s Communicating Earth Science class constructed a web-based Story Map that is accessible on computers, tablets, and mobile phones. This “Geologic Companion to Rising from the Plains” illustrates important geologic features described in the book with maps, photographs, concise explanations of the rocks and their formation, along with the human dimension of these places. The “Geologic Companion” enables viewers to couple McPhee’s narrative of discovery with their own personal discovery of the narrative of landscape, and to increase their interest and understanding of Wyoming’s geoheritage.