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Graduate Research Spotlight: Taylor Tappan

Friday, June 1, 2018


Group photo of 35th Conference of Latin American Geographers

Graduate student Taylor Tappan is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Kansas Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science.  We asked him to share news from his research group and his work with the 35th Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers. 

We recently returned from San José, Costa Rica, where Dr. Peter Herlihy and I were privileged to help organize the 35th Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG) with collaborators from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Formal group photo at the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers 2018

Our research group culminated our five-year DoD Minerva Initiative Grant, through which we developed long-term participatory research mapping collaborations with various Indigenous Federations, state agencies, universities, and NGOs in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Through these partnerships, we worked closely with indigenous communities in particular in all three countries to help them document their land and resource use patterns, ancestral toponyms (place names), and cultural patrimony. Just two weeks ago we completed our collaboration in Costa Rica and submitted the final maps to our Cabécar Indigenous Association partners.

Cabecar Indigenous Association partners review paper maps

In the coming months, we plan to continue our on-the-ground participatory collaborations in the indigenous Lenca area of western Honduras and the Muskitia region of eastern Honduras. I'm also preparing to extend our relationship with the Cabécar Indigenous Association and Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica through my dissertation field research on land use and forest cover change in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica.

View the CLAG Conference 2018 website and conference program

Learn more about the CLAG organization.

Top: Dr. Peter Herlihy and Taylor Tappan with Cabécar Indigenous Association partners. Middle: Dr. Peter Herlihy on the left, with colleagues at a ceremony. Bottom: Cabécar Indigenous Association partners review a map. 

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