Geography 141:
The Natural Environment
Fall, 2016

Instructor: Daniel Gavin (
Office: 110 Condon Hall; Phone: 346-5787
Office Hours: Mondays 9:30 to 11, in 110 Condon, or by appointment.

GTFs & weekly lab sections (all in 206 Condon)
Ollie Gaskell (
Tuesdays 9, 10 ,and 11
Office Hours: Thursday 12:00-2:00 in 246 Columbia
Geoffrey Johnson (
Thursdays 9, 10 and 11
Office Hours: Mondays 11:00-12:00 in 217 Pacific
Schyler Reis (
Wednesday 9, Friday 10 and 11
Office Hours: Mondays 10:00-11:00 in 247 Columbia

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday: 2:00 – 3:20 in
177 Lawrence.

Required Materials:
  1. Physical Geography, 5th Edition by Mason, Burt, Muller, and de Blij. Available in the UO Bookstore. Also available to rent or own as an eBook through RedShelf.
  2. iClicker2 remote. Do NOT purchase i>clicker REEF polling for your will need the physical device. You will likely need one for other classes at some point at UO.
  3. Google Earth desktop application, version 6 or higher. It will be difficult to use Google Earth on iPads or phones...please plan on using Google Earth on laptop or desktop computer. See detailed syllabus.
  4. Other material will be made available on

By Versageek - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Sunset obscured by a cumulonimbus cloud, viewed from New Haven Connecticut.

Course Overview
This course will introduce you to the major processes that shape the natural world, including the weather, climate, vegetation, and landforms that we experience each day.

You will develop an understanding of the major disciplines that comprise physical geography: meteorology (study of the atmosphere and weather), climatology (longer-term trends in weather and its variation over the earth), biogeography (distribution of life on earth) and geomorphology (processes that shape the surface of the earth).  This course serves as the prerequisite for 300-level physical geography courses.  Specific topics include:
  • Weather and Atmospheric processes
    • Seasons, eath/sun relations, controls of temperature including the greenhouse effect, long-term and recent climate change
    • Winds, moisture, clouds, atmospheric stability, and the basis of weather systems
  • Climate and Biogeography
    • Global climate regions
    • Patterns in vegetation
    • Global distribution of biomes
    • Factors controlling the distribution of species
  • Geomorphology
    • Weathering and mass wasting
    • The fresh water resource
    • Landforms made by rivers
    • Landforms made by glaciers
Grading will be based on:
  • Two exams covering the three main subject areas listed above.
  • Participation in in-class activities through iClickers and possibly other means.
  • Weekly laboratories and quizzes will be used for in-depth learning of the topics in lecture.
    • Laboratories will engage you in the tools of physical geography, including map analysis, aerial photography, interpreting weather and climate, and understanding patterns of vegetation and landforms.  The laboratories will be based mostly on the Pacific Northwest bioregion.

Further information and a detailed syllabus

Department of Geography, University of Oregon
Modified August 24, 2016