Blog Post created by bkolberg2013 on Dec 15, 2014

Bridget (Olberg) Johanning moved back to her home town of Yuma in September of 2012 after accepting her new position as Cartographic Technician with the Bureau of Reclamation.  She had been gone for 28 years and didn’t know anyone.  She began to search for local GIS professionals in the Yuma area and soon formed a local user group with professionals from all agencies and local entities participating. 

Her effort to form a GIS Day event in Yuma in 2013 resulted in a registration of five kids through the local 4-H office plus the committee members children to total 19 children.  They still held the event.  Had a few presentations and had a small geocache demonstration at the end of the day.

Then in September 2014, Mr. Todd Pinnt of Cibola High School,  was visiting the Bureau of Reclamation office and was introduced to Johanning.  Johanning learned that Mr. Pinnt was studying for his Masters degree in GIS.  She quickly invited him to the next local GIS user group meeting.  On the agenda for the next meeting was,  of course GIS Day.  After the user group meeting, Mr. Pinnt went back to the school and approached the school administration about hosting the event and the participation reaction was impressive.  Thirteen teachers responded to attending the initial schedule for the event.  

This involved searching and scheduling 47 blocks of classroom time with local GIS professionals from the community who were willing to come to the high school to give a presentation.  


So, Johanning and Brian Brady GIS Administrator for  City of Yuma, , spent several afternoonsbrain-storming and calling individuals who they thought could fill the class blocks with an appropriate presentation for the teachers and students.  Classes ranged from Environmental Sciences, Digital Technology, Horticulture, Government, U.S. History, Economics, Science Research, Biology, Engineering, App Bio Systems (Ag) and Business Leadership.    The event also resulted in the school receiving software from ESRI to install on the teacher’s computers for the classroom. 

Each classroom averaged 30-35 students.  This gave the youth outreach program for Bureau of Reclamation around 1945 students to add to their goal for the year.

It was nice to have the larger captive audience this year.  The 50 minute blocks gave the speakers just enough time to give the kids a short introduction about their subject. 

On the school administrative side of the event, Mr. Pinnt arranged for the Army, Border Patrol, Yuma Fire Department, Yuma Police Department, Mellon Farms brought a tractor with GPS equipment installed to set up displays in the walk area during the lunch breaks.  It was a career outreach day also at Cibola High School. 


“This event was definitely a joint effort and could not have gone any smoother.  I am quite pleased, ”said Johanning.    “Planning and Coordination and  were the key to our success.  I’m sure they don’t want to see another email from me for a long time, she says jokingly.”

Participating agencies include Thomas Plicka and Jonathan Gholson of MCAS, Terry Staggs, Jim Condit, Jay Nemeth, Fred Croxen (Mr. Croxen is also a professor at AWC), Nick Heatwole and Owen Fulsome from Bureau of Reclamation, Brian Brady, Daisy Guzman, Betsy Bowman, Espy Matlock, **** Stamp and Angelique Hernandez from City of Yuma, Joe Oddi of Pictometry.com, Stacey Bealmear-Jones and Dr. Kurt Nolte of University of Arizona, Brandan Zimmerman of Bureau of Land Management, Tina Clark from Yuma Crossing, National Heritage Area, Jeff Byrd and Brian Geren of Mohave State Bank, Nate Caswell of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Elaine Johnson of USFWS, Daniel Cruz and Ed Jin of Yuma County GIS/IT Department. 

A special thanks go out to Alondra Amarillas (Pres. of Cibola Assoc. of Geographers) .  She organized the student help during the event.