News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: February 4, 2004 (04-14)
Contacts: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

PHOTO EDITORS: A high-resolution image to accompany this story is available at   /news/highresolutionimages/04/dimaria.jpg (photo credit: Don Rejonis) 

Montgomery College Professor’s Work in Environmental Encyclopedia
“Biological Corridors” Entry Written and Researched by Salvatore DiMaria 

What does a deer in the headlights have to do with Montgomery College Professor Salvatore DiMaria?  For the long answer, pick up the newly published Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (Routledge Publishing, New York), a mere three-volume, 1300-page answer book of humankind’s influence on its environment throughout the ages.

            Professor DiMaria recently authored a 500-word entry for the encyclopedia on “biological corridors” – the naturally occurring (or commonly manufactured) pathways that connect areas of wilderness with areas of urban development – or the path that leads the hungry deer from a woodland area to your neighbor’s back yard.

As a contributing author, Professor DiMaria now belongs to a select group of world historians, anthropologists, geographers, and biologists from 26 countries who have pooled their knowledge in the newly published reference set.  DiMaria’s 500-word “labor of love” entry on “biological corridors,” was the end-product of nearly 10 weeks worth of research and writing.

A Frederick resident, DiMaria says he chose the topic as a natural branching out from his Geography Information Systems (GIS) focus. Currently, he teaches GIS and Advanced GIS at Montgomery College, but historically he has done work in other biological topics, including landscape ecology.

According to DiMaria, the hardest part of his assignment was compressing the information into the limited space. “The shorter the article, the harder it is to write ...You try to become extremely pithy in the language you use.”

DiMaria, a New York native, received a B.S. in biology from the University of New Mexico (UNM), worked for the state of New Mexico, did a year as a VISTA Volunteer in Alaska, then returned to UNM to earn a master’s degree in geography. As a geographer, DiMaria’s main interests are physical geography, “especially remote sensing, GIS, and biogeography.” He worked for a private firm for a number of years, and then taught part-time at UNM before coming to MC in fall 2000 to teach full-time in the Applied Geography Department on the Rockville Campus.

As for “biological corridors” in Montgomery County, DiMaria says, “Since the sides of most major roads are well-vegetated in Maryland, this vegetation acts as a corridor, as well as habitat, for many animals. As motorists are all too well-aware, many animals have problems going across linear corridors to reach other ones because there is no vegetation cover, and because the roads are extremely dangerous to cross. Yet, they are often forced to do so because of the limited resources found in the individual corridors.”

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring.  The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.