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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Galvin Middle School - Wakefield MA -- March 11

42° 30' 02" N71° 04' 10" W

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The EarthView Team is pleased to be going to the Gen. John R. Galvin Middle School in Wakefield -- not to be confused with the William H. Galvin Middle School in Canton, where we have worked with one of our BSU geography alumni in the past. Wakefield's General Galvin is a retired five-star general who was born in Wakefield and went on to command U.S. forces in NATO, among other duties. General Galvin speaks Spanish and some German, illustrating the value of learning languages!

According to the Wakefield Historical Commission, English settlement in Wakefield began in 1638, as settlers from Lynn, growing to a settlement of seven families by 1644, when it was incorporated under the name of Redding. Those settlers took "advantage of the enormous flocks of wild pigeons, wild turkeys exceeding fat, sweet and in abundance, fish in the rivers and ponds, grapes, blackberries, [and] blueberries in great quantities." As the population of the original town grew, it eventually divided into several other now-familiar towns, much as many other Massachusetts towns -- including Bridgewater -- did over the same period. The town of Wakefield was eventually to become known for a particular kind of furniture, its local industries helping to popularize rattan in the United States.

Six graders at Galvin will be using EarthView to learn about the world as a whole, especially Latin America -- which they have been studying recently -- and Europe (which is coming up next).

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has grown several times since its inception in 1949, and currently includes 34 countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Of these, Albania and Croatia are the newest members, having been admitted in 2009.

Many non-member European countries cooperate with NATO through the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and several non-European countries are in similar cooperative structures. An interesting geographic activity would be to construct a world map identifying NATO members and members of each of the other cooperative structures. What commonalities do members of each group appear to share? What interest might they have in common with -- or distinct from -- those of the NATO membership itself?

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