Lisa and Dan CGEO

Two Cottonwood Teachers Selected for Summer Geography Institutes

Exciting news:
Lisa and Dan C
Two of our classroom teachers have been accepted into summer institutes held by the Center for Geography Education in Oregon (C-GEO)!


Lisa Colombo will be learning more about teaching Black history locally and nationally. Her institute includes a day of learning in Portland, another one in Coos Bay, and a week-long trip to Atlanta and Alabama this summer. Read below to learn more.

Dan Bowman will be exploring the landscape and Indigenous history of Eastern Oregon via a rafting trip down the Grand Ronde river. This trip will be led by knowledgeable guides and will include a land restoration act. Read below to learn more.

Both teachers were selected through an application process and the trips are supported through C-GEO funding. Housed in Portland State University, C-GEO is Oregon’s leading source for geography education professional development and has been a valuable resource and partner to the Cottonwood School. Thank you to C-GEO for offering such rich and valuable educational opportunities for our teachers, and a huge congratulations to Lisa and Dan! We can’t wait to hear about your experiences!

Teaching Black History With Geography and Primary Documents


Fall 2021 through Spring 2023


Participants will engage in a geographic experience of Black History and will ultimately be contributing authors to a published E-book of Black Histories and Geography lessons and activities for classroom use that will be freely available for educators. The initial phase of the institute consists of two workshops. The first Portland-based workshop last November, explored the geography of Black Oregonians and included techniques and discussions for teachers on multiple perspectives in analyzing primary sources. The second Coos Bay-based workshop in April dived deeper into working with primary sources and included an analysis of the history of Coos Bay (Marshfield), Alonzo Tucker, and Oregon’s only documented lynching.

The C-Geo institute’s second phase is a 6 day trip to Atlanta and Alabama from June 22-27, 2022. During this time, participants will explore the geography of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta, Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery. Some of the highlights of this portion of the institute include the Civil Rights Institute, 16th Ave. Church, Voting

Rights Museum, Rosa Parks Museum, Lynching Memorial, Equal Justice Institute, Ebenezer Baptist Church. Dr. MLK’s home, and a professional development workshop put on by university faculty from Alabama universities to include collaboration with Alabama K-12 teachers.


The Confluence of Geography, Tribal Histories and Exploration of our Natural Resources


Educators will experience the beauty, history, and union of natural resources and rural communities on this unique 4-day guided river trip through the Wild & Scenic section of the beautiful Grande Ronde River in Northeastern Oregon. Participants will take part in a restorative land action.


Learning Objectives


  • A better understanding of the geography and interconnections between the natural resources and the rural communities in Northeastern Oregon
  • An enriched sense of place and relationship to the Grande Ronde River system
  • Knowledge of the modern Nez Perce and other native experiences in Wallowa, including local stories of displacement (i.e., The Stevens Treaties and Chief Joseph)
  • How to teach tribal histories and experiences centered on native voices and through a lens of kinship to the land and shared resources and land management
  • How to use our natural resources (e.g., land and water) to teach history and geography for future generations



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