UNCG’s Dr. Jay Lennartson is a geographer, meteorologist, pilot and, most recently, a budding videographer. It’s a unique combination – and one that is making all the difference in the classroom.

Several years ago, Lennartson began to capture aerial photography and video from his plane as a way to combine his passions of geography, earth science and flying.

“I was thinking, ‘How neat would it be to take out my camera – my simple iPhone – and just photograph the landscape or the clouds as I’m flying through them?” he recalls.

Lennartson soon realized that incorporating these videos into his courses made the material come alive.

“I’d show some of these videos in class to my students, and it seemed to really engage them,” he says. “It seemed to make it more real for them.”

This past summer, Lennartson received funding to embark on a cross-country flight in his four-seater plane and document the journey with GoPro cameras. This footage and other video has allowed his geography students to observe weather, examine landscapes and understand critical environmental issues such as mountaintop removal.

When he’s not in the air, Lennartson uses his cameras to record hiking trips and scientific demonstrations.

The ultimate goal?

“It’s really to try and get students excited about geography and earth science. And if I create a few pilots as well” – he says with a smile – “it’s all gravy.”

Check out the full interview with Lennartson here:

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography and videography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications