Earth Science Week Update May 2007

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 5, No. 2: May 2007

* Contests Add Fun, Learning to Earth Science Week
* International Polar Year, Other Events in Spotlight
* EarthCaching a Great Way to Explore Earth Science

Contests Add Fun, Learning
To Earth Science Week

AGI is sponsoring three national contests during Earth Science Week 2007. The photography, visual arts, and essay contests allow both students and the general public to participate in the celebration, learn about Earth science, and compete for prizes.

The photography contest, open to all ages, focuses on “People Discovering Earth’s Treasures.” The visual arts contest, titled “Changing Earth,” is open to students in grades K-5. Finally, students in grades 6-9 are eligible to enter the essay contest: “Earth Science in My Community.” Essays of up to 300 words should highlight geoscience activity in a student’s neighborhood or hometown.

The first-place prize for each contest is $300 and a one-year subscription to AGI’s Geotimes magazine. To learn more about these contests, including how to enter, visit

International Polar Year,
Other Events in Spotlight

One of the major geoscience events being highlighted by Earth Science Week 2007 is International Polar Year (IPY). Earth Science Week resources and activities will enable participants to join in many research and educational opportunities tied to IPY, which takes place from March 2007 to February 2009. To learn more about IPY, visit the official website at

IPY is just one of four “international science years” being launched in 2007 to alert the public to scientific challenges and opportunities facing our world. This year also marks the start of the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), February 2007 to December 2009; International Heliophysical Year (IHY), February 2007 to December 2008; and the International Electronic Geophysical Year (eGY), July 2007 to December 2008.

These initiatives are planned to generate geoscience research and awareness integral to Earth science’s impact on society. You can learn more about IYPE at, about IHY at, and about eGY at Visit the Earth Science Week Resources at for more information.

EarthCaching a Great Way
To Explore Earth Science

As summer approaches, many teachers and students look for ways to continue their geoscience research where they can enjoy the weather - outdoors. EarthCaching, which blends recreation and education, offers an exciting, new option.

EarthCaching is a variation of geocaching. A geocache organizer posts latitude and longitude coordinates on the Internet to advertise a “cache,” a scavenger-hunt destination, which geocachers locate by using GPS devices. Today, 270,000 caches are active in more than 200 countries, according to Over one million people participate.

EarthCachers recently have added an educational dimension to the activity. When you visit an EarthCache, you learn something special about Earth science, the geology of the location, or how the Earth’s resources and environment are managed there. EarthCaching has been developed by the Geological Society of America - a major Earth Science Week partner - in association with Groundspeak, Inc., and the geocaching community. To learn more about EarthCaching, visit online.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 44 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources and interaction with the environment.