Faculty & Staff

Heather Almquist

Heather Almquist

Faculty Affiliate

Email: heather.almquist@umontana.edu

Current Position

Faculty Affiliate, Departments of Geography and Geosciences

Associate Researcher, Geoscience and Geospatial Education, College of Arts and Sciences


Ph.D. Quaternary Geology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, 1994
M.Sc. Ecology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1986
B.Sc. Botany, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, 1983

Field of Study

Geoscience and Geospatial Education, Paleoecology, Historical Geography.

Research Interests

Heather Almquist is interested in landscape change over millennial to decadal time scales, including both what controls these changes and how they in turn affect human populations and other biota. Before moving to Montana in 2003, Dr. Almquist was a research assistant professor in the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine. Her early work focused on the physical and vegetational development of salt marshes along the coast of Maine in relation to local geomorphology and differential rates of sea-level rise, which continue to the present day. She later studied Holocene changes in vegetation, water balance, and the spatial configuration of wetland complexes of the Penobscot River Valley, Maine, in relation to prehistoric human settlement patterns. Heather received her Ph.D. in Sweden, where she investigated changes in lake levels, vegetation, fire regime, and cultural land-use at the southern margin of the northern boreal forest. These studies also allowed her to determine the influence of regional climate and local geomorphologic factors controlling the development of various types of peatlands in the Bergslagen region. Her current research interests focus on past and future  landscape-scale changes in the nature, abundance, and distribution of wetlands of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem and their ecological implications.

In addition to Quaternary science, Dr. Almquist is keenly interested in geoscience and geospatial education. Over the past 10 years, she has led several teacher professional development, curriculum development, and museum-based science education projects. Her current work involves helping teachers and students develop and apply geospatial skills to further their understandings of rich and complex, geography and earth system science content. Her recent grants include:

National Science Foundation (2011-2013) $249,972. CI-TEAM Demo: Project-based, Collaborative Learning with Google Earth and Wikis (GooWi). H. Almquist, S. Halvorson, and L. Blank Project Website

National Science Foundation (2009-2012) $449,461. Cyber-Enabled Earth Exploration: Development of Materials for Middle School Earth Science Instruction. H. Almquist and L. Blank. Project Website

National Science Foundation (2006-2010) $1,335,182. Paleo Exploration Project (DinoMap): Spatial Analysis of Fossil Finds in the Northern Plains. H. Almquist and G. Stanley. (This project was selected as an NSF Highlight for 2010.) Project Website

National Atmospheric and Space Administration (2005-2006) $744,000. Explore the Extreme. H. Almquist and C.W. Snyder.

Teaching Experience

Dr. Almquist is dedicated to helping pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers harness the power and excitement of geospatial technologies for hands-on, inquiry-based learning. She has been involved in numerous teacher professional development workshops and programs in Montana and the surrounding region, including the 2013 Montana Google Geo Teachers Institute and other Google training sessions.

Professional Experience

Dr. Almquist develops geoscience and geospatial educational materials for K-12 audiences. She has received several grants from the National Science Foundation to explore the use of geospatial technologies in inquiry-based learning, and also works as a freelance writer, developing science education materials for various national outlets. Recent projects have included  development of a Google Earth (GE) -based earth science curriculum and an online framework for GE and wiki-based, collaborative, geographic inquiry projects, both for middle school classrooms. A current project involves developing GE-based training materials for pre-service geoscience educators.

Dr. Almquist also has considerable experience in research administration, having held various administrative positions at The University of Maine since 1994, including Associate Vice President for Research from 1996 to 2002. In that capacity, she worked on both state and federal legislative affairs, oversaw the Maine Sea Grant program, and co-directed the Maine NSF EPSCoR program.  She is an accomplished grant writer, having received competitive research grants from federal agencies totalling more than $3 million, and overseeing the successful development of research infrastructure awards amounting to over $16 million. She has served on program steering committees for the National Science Foundation, the European Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Atmospheric and Space Administration, and regularly serves on NSF proposal review panels.

Selected Publications

Geoscience & Geospatial Education

Almquist, H., Blank, L., Crews, J., Stanley, G., and Hendrix, M. 2014. Design Experiments in Field-based Professional Development: Teachers Investigate the Geologic History of Eastern Montana Using Geospatial Technologies, In, J.G. MaKinster, N.M. Trautmann, & M. Barnett (Eds.), Teaching Science and Investigating Environmental Issues with Geospatial Technology: Designing Effective Professional Development for Teachers. Springer Publishing Co.

Almquist, H., Crews, J. & Blank, L. 2013. Cyber-Enabled Earth Exploration (CE3): A new approach for teaching about volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. In R. McBride & M. Searson (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2013 (pp. 4620-4626). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Almquist, H., Blank, L., and Estrada, J. 2012. Developing a scope and sequence for using Google Earth in the middle school earth science classroom. Geological Society of America Special Papers 2012; 492; 403-412.

Blank, L. M., Plautz, M., Almquist, H., Crews, J., and Estrada, J. 2012. Using Google Earth to teach plate tectonics and science explanations. Science Scope, Summer 2012:45-52.

Almquist, H., Stanley, G., Hendrix, M., Blank, L., Hanfling, S. and Crews, J. 2011. An integrated field-based approach to building teacher's geosciences skills. Journal of Geoscience Education 59: 31-40. link to article
link to Field Trip Guide

Almquist, H., Blank, L., Crews, J., Gummer, E., Hanfling, S. & Yeagley, P. 2009. Embedding Spatial Technology in a Field-Based Science Education Course for Teachers. In, C. Crawford et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2009 (pp. 3708-3713). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. link to article

Stanley, G., and Almquist, H. 2008. Spatial Analysis of Fossil Sites in the Northern Plains: A Unique Model for Teacher Education. GSA Today 18(2): 24-25. link to article

Quaternary Science

Sanger, D., H. Almquist, and A.C. Dieffenbacher-Krall. 2007. Mid-Holocene cultural adaptations to Central Maine. Chapter 12, pp. 435-456, In, D. Anderson, K.A. Maasch and D.H. Sandweiss (Eds.), Climatic Change and Cultural Dynamics: A Global Perspective on Holocene Transitions, Academic Press.

Grimm, E.C., W.A. Watts, G.L. Jacobson Jr., B.C.S. Hansen, H. Almquist, and A.C. Dieffenbacher-Krall. 2006. Evidence of warm wet Heinrich events in Florida. Quaternary Science Reviews 25 (17): 2197-2211. link to article

Almquist, H., Dieffenbacher-Krall, A., Brown, R., and D. Sanger. 2001. An 8000-yr Holocene record of lake levels at Mansell Pond, Central Maine, U.S.A. The Holocene 11: 189-201. link to article

Almquist-Jacobson, H., and D. Sanger. 1995. Holocene climate and vegetation in the Milford Drainage Basin, Maine, U.S.A., and their implications for human history. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 4: 211-222. link to article

Almquist-Jacobson, H., and D.R. Foster. 1995. Toward an integrated model for raised-bog development: theory and field evidence. Ecology 76(8): 2503-2516. link to article

Almquist-Jacobson, H. 1995. Lake-level fluctuations at Ljustjärnen, central Sweden and their implications for