Visualizing a Park System: Creating an Interactive Timeline

One of the most challenging aspects of my dissertation is figuring out how to analyze the development of four different park systems (Pennsylvania, Idaho, Ontario, and Alberta) over a period of about one hundred years. The sources tend to blur together in my mind, making analysis nearly impossible. I am a visual learner, and about…

Bittersweet Sounds of Home

One of the bittersweet parts of my dissertation research is that I’m continuously reminded of or encountering things that remind me of my childhood homeland: Northwestern Pennsylvania, namely Cook Forest State Park and the forests of the region. I stumbled on this video today. Ignoring the narrator, I closed my eyes and took in the…

Social Media Comments as Sources: How?

As an accidental social media guru, I’ve grown increasingly interested in how to use social media to assist with my research. Not just to connect with other academics and to propagate my opinions and ideas to the wider public, but as a source–a place from which to garner public opinion on historical topics and contemporary…

Notes from the Field

Originally Published for Rachel Carson Center’s blog, Seeing the Woods Outsider. Insider. My academic journey thus far often seems like a tightrope act between these two desires. My background and passion for state parks and nature has led me to become an environmental historian who focuses on parks. My dissertation is a comparative history of the…