When asked for my ethnic identity I always say "rural." With that I mean that nature and society are part of one system. I am from rural Maine, although I have traveled widely and lived outside Maine for longer than I lived there, culturally I am a rural Mainer. My interest in culture and natural resource management stems from being an agriculturalist, living in a forested area owned by paper companies, on land being mined for sand and gravel, and representing the interests of lobstermen on the Maine coast. I earned my BA in Sociology from Bates College, and a JD from NYU. I practiced law for 11 years, first as an attorney for Pine Tree Legal Services representing low income people, concentrating on Constitutional Rights, then in a private practice. Becoming tired of law, I went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study geography. I did my dissertation work in the Black Hills National Forest on the impact of community ownership on management of the National Forest. I joined the faculty of the Department of Geography at University of Maryland College Park in 1993 where my teaching and research interests center around the intersection of social and physical systems.

Areas of Interest

  • Society and Sustainability
  • Natural Resource Use
  • Human Dimensions of Global Change
  • Sacred Space
  • Social Construction of Space


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    New York University School of Law
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Geography University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Sociology Bates College
Teaching Philosophy
In my teaching I intend to equip students with the basic knowledge and skills in order that they may use them to explore fields of knowledge, ways of knowing, and appreciation for cultures.
My philosphy is based on inductive learning. Students find out as much as they can about a topic/question, and then try to make sense out of it.
In the areas of society and sustainability, culture and natural resource use, and sacred space I help students be able to know the markers of cultural systems, and how to observe dynamics of human and physical systems. Understanding how social systems function is essential understanding society and sustainability.
With my graduate students I feel that it is essential that they study something that they have a burning desire to know about. I do not give my students topics, I help them find what interests them most, and facilitate their path to being scholars. Students find out what they are interested in by studying a variety of topics through a variety of methods. Only after that period of initial exploration are they in a position to pick a dissertation topic.
Course Name Course Title Semester Syllabus
GEOG330 As the World Turns: Society and Sustainability in a Time of Great Change Fall 2014 Syllabus
GEOG431 Culture and Natural Resource Management Fall 2017 Syllabus
GEOG431 Culture and Natural Resource Management Fall 2014 Syllabus
GEOG202 Introduction to Human Geography Spring 2016 Syllabus

My basic research philosophy is that you have to talk to people to find answers about how they socially construct space, use resources, and make their environment sustainable, or not. What issues are important to people? My basis methodology is qualitative methods.

Community is the cornerstone of the operation of any institution. I take very seriously my responsibility to be an active member of the Department of Geography, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Univerity of Maryland, the Association of American Geographers in my professional life.
  • Regional Councilor Association of American Geographers 2004-2007, Nystrom Committee 2008, Arrangemen
  • BSOS PCC Chair, 2019-present
  • Adviser, MARYPirg
  • Middle Atlantic Division of American Geographers, President 2003-2004, 2011
  • Environmental Science and Policy Council
  • Provost's Committe on Sustainability
  • I course Review Committee

Current Students

Former Students

  • Dianne Thompson
    Departmen of Justice, Civil Rights Divsion
  • Nancy Beller-Simms
    NOAA, Director of Human Dimensions Programs
  • Catherine Carter
  • Claire Jantz
    Assistant Professor Shippensburg University
  • James Wilson
    Assistant Professor James Madison University
  • Francis Lindsay
    NASA Scientist
  • Barbara Kearney
    Adjunct Professor UMBC
  • Christopher Steele
    Assoc Provost UMBC
  • Ronald Luna
    Undergraduate Director, Dept of Geography, UMD College Park
  • Richard Russo
    Assistant Professor Frostburg State University
  • Timothy Heleniak
  • Jacqueline Waite
    National Council for Geographic Education
Martha E. Geores
2181F Lefrak Hall
Department of Geographical Sciences
mgeores [at] umd.edu