As an assistant professor in the Geography Department at Bemidji State University, Samantha Jones teaches a range of GIS and physical geography courses. Prior to joining BSU, she worked for Beltrami County Natural Resources Management, the US Forest Service Northern Research Station, and the University of Minnesota. In teaching her suite of courses, she draws from extensive field and GIS experience provided by these occupations to integrate practical forest management, field research, and GIS applications into the coursework.
A rural, northern Minnesota native, Jones initiated her academic path in geography and GIS at Itasca Community College and went on to complete the Bachelor of Science in Geography with GIS emphasis at BSU. She attended Ohio University for her graduate studies and Master’s work in geography, which took her to a small village in the North Pare Mountains of Tanzania. Through the NSF-funded Local Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation Project (LKCCAP), she researched the local dynamics of forest knowledge, perceptions, and conservation practices. This endeavor was a continuation of research interests inspired by ethnobotanical fieldwork in Kenya, which focused on the prevalence and use of local trees and plants. She has presented her work at the West Lakes-East Lakes Regional conference of the Association of American Geographers (A.A.G.) and the Annual A.A.G. meeting. Her research interests continue to center on forest systems and the ways in which we know and utilize botanical resources.
With her spare time, Jones likes to explore new places, from the paths yet untraveled in her own back yard, to distinctive landscapes far-removed. She believes there is no substitute for actually experiencing the reality of a place if you wish to understand it.