Earth Science Week Update October 2007

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 5, No. 7: October 2007

* Earth Science Week 2007 a Roaring Success
* New Website Takes “Pulse” of Earth Science Education
* Earth Science Week Contest Winners, Finalists Announced
* EarthCachers Worldwide Kicked Off Weeklong Event
* “Faces of Earth” TV Series Now Available on DVD
* Earth Science Week Toolkits Selling Out in Record Time

Earth Science Week 2007
A Roaring Success

Record numbers of people gained a new awareness of the geosciences through the 10th annual Earth Science Week, held Oct. 14-20. More than 2 million people worldwide learned about Earth science through program promotions, education efforts, or media coverage, according to preliminary estimates. The event celebrated the theme “The Pulse of Earth Science” by encouraging students, teachers, and the public to take stock of strides made in the geosciences during the past decade. Earth Science Week events ranged from individual teachers and classrooms completing in-class Earth science projects to open houses at major USGS field stations.

As in past years, visitors to Baltimore’s Maryland Science Center were greeted and treated to a fun introduction to the geosciences by AGI staff throughout Earth Science Week. AGI staff were on hand to discuss Earth science, distribute educational materials, and conduct brief experiments and demonstrations with children. Visitors were invited to construct their own “earthquake-proof” structure and stomp their feet to register tremors on a real seismometer (courtesy of IRIS, an Earth Science Week program partner). They also viewed “Why Earth Science,” a brief educational video newly created by AGI as an introduction to the geosciences.

The weeklong celebration was covered by scores of newspapers, television stations, websites, and other media outlets, from the Los Angeles Times to NBC. In one of the week’s most highly visible instances of publicity for the event, two of Baltimore’s leading television weather forecasters - CBS’s Bob Turk and NBC’s Tom Tasselmyer - each devoted a few minutes of a daily weather forecast to promoting participation in Earth Science Week. Viewers throughout the region saw Turk and Tasselmyer hold up Earth Science Week T-shirts, explain ways to participate, and learned how they could find join the celebration at the Maryland Science Center.

In addition, events and outreach efforts reached many people nationwide. The University of Connecticut Center for Integrative Geosciences held a day-long Earth Science Week Celebration highlighting geoscience processes through hands-on activities for all ages, showing Earth science movies, hosting a “bring your own rock to be identified” table, walking field trips around campus, and offering demonstrations. Texas teachers, students, and scouts attended the North Texas Earth Science Fair to view mineral, fossil, and gem exhibits. The Alaska Geological Society guided elementary-school students in a hands-on activity that simulated buying prospects, mining, and reclaiming land.

International participation was significant also. Students demonstrated their Earth science knowledge in Geoscience Australia’s inaugural Geologi short film competition, the University of British Columbia’s Pacific Museum of the Earth held an open house, and geoscience scholars and students attended a series of lectures and videos at the Universidad Nacional de San Luis in Argentina.

Learn more about Earth Science Week at If you conducted a special activity to celebrate Earth Science Week, please let us know. Your activity will be featured in the Earth Science Week 2007 Highlights Report, which will be posted online and used to help secure support for the program in the future. Email information, news clips, and images to

New Website Takes “Pulse”
Of Earth Science Education

“The Pulse of Earth Science” is not only the theme of Earth Science Week 2007, but also the name of AGI’s new website tracking Earth science education nationwide. The site, which launched earlier this month, offers detailed, up-to-date information on the status of geoscience education in every state, as well as guidance for advocates.

For each state, AGI provides the most recent available data on:
* teacher certification requirements and numbers teaching related subjects;
* relevant courses that middle and high school students must take;
* K-12 enrollment levels in Earth science and related subjects;
* coverage of Earth science within state science standards;
* state assessment of students in Earth science;
* textbooks adopted and relevance of relevance to Earth science; and
* contact information for state education agencies.

The website features findings that many are likely to find surprising. While every state but Iowa includes Earth science in education standards, this priority seldom carries through to curriculum requirements or high school exit exams, for example. Only about one in five states offers Earth science as an elective within overall science requirements, and North Carolina is the only state requiring an Earth science course for graduation.

“The Pulse of Earth Science” also offers an Advocacy Guide, including recommendations for taking action within your state and local school systems. Partner with other Earth science supporters, influence decisionmakers, and ensure that your students get the Earth science education they deserve.

The information presented is based on available data collected from numerous sources. Viewers are invited to help update information by contacting AGI at

Earth Science Week Contest
Winners, Finalists Announced

Andrew Burkus of Columbus, Georgia, won first place in this year’s Earth Science Week photo contest with his picture of travertine deposits at Minerva Terrace in Yellowstone National Park. Finalists were Dawn Barrett, Josh Edelson, Diana Greenbaum, Jamie Held, and Rebecca Mehling. Submissions illustrated the theme “People Discovering Earth’s Treasures.”

Jay Purohit of Plano, Texas, won first place in the visual arts contest with his poster about the many aspects of our evolving planet. Finalists were Hector Chu, Rama Imad, Emily Pritham, Vanessa Rodriquez, and April Ye. Students in grades K-5 made a drawing, collage, or other two-dimensional artwork illustrating the theme “Changing Earth.”

Shanniqua Mendiola of Yigo, Guam, won first place in the essay contest with her writing about Earth science on her island home. Finalists were Cody Byrd, Benjamin Gastfriend, Avery Rasmussen, Dylan Rozier, and Moniyka Sachar. Students grades 6-9 wrote essays of up to 300 words addressing this year’s theme, “Earth Science In My Community.”

Congratulations to the winners, all our finalists, and the nearly 1,200 students and others who entered. Each first-place winner will receive $300 and a one-year subscription to AGI’s Geotimes magazine. Entries submitted by winners and finalists may be viewed at

EarthCachers Worldwide
Kicked Off Weeklong Event

Geocachers around the globe fired up their GPS units on Sunday, Oct. 14 , and celebrated the beginning of Earth Science Week 2007. Instead of searching for buried trinkets at ordinary geocache sites, however, GPS enthusiasts set their coordinates for EarthCaches and discovered Earth’s natural treasures. Oct. 14 marked the second annual International EarthCache Day.

“Every week, thousands of people are out with GPS units hunting for loot in hidden geocache boxes,” said Gary Lewis, director of education and outreach for the Geological Society of America (GSA). “With EarthCaching, they’re field geologists for a day. They have a great time exploring some of Earth’s most beautiful features without disturbing the land.”

Lewis explains that EarthCaching is an educational twist on the hugely successful game of geocaching. EarthCachers begin by registering and selecting a site to visit from After arriving at the chosen location via GPS technology, they perform a task specified on the EarthCaching site, such as measuring the size of fossils or height of a waterfall. Participants often take photos of the site, themselves, or their companions, then later log their experience and photos on the website.

GSA established the EarthCache program in 2004. According to Lewis, participants have developed an additional 1,600 EarthCaches in 47 countries, and more than 97,000 people have participated. For more information on EarthCaching or International EarthCache Day, contact Lewis at

“Faces of Earth” TV Series
Now Available on DVD

The new, four-part television series “Faces of Earth” is now available for order online from AGI at Produced by AGI and Evergreen Films in collaboration with The Science Channel of Discovery Communications, Inc., the series reveals the natural world through the perspectives of geoscientists, using computer-generated imagery to show how humans are both a force of nature and a product of our world.

Educators, students, and other viewers can explore the ways that the forces of nature have continuously remade Earth through time, giving it many distinct faces through history and many new ones into the future. “Faces of Earth” is shot in striking high-definition with extensive aerials, cutting edge animations, and engaging interviews with leading geoscientists. The series premiered on The Science Channel in July 2007. To learn more and watch trailers, visit

Earth Science Week Toolkits
Selling Out in Record Time

More Earth Science Week Toolkits were distributed by the week of the celebration this year than ever before. The number of AGI Member Societies requesting complimentary Earth Science Week Toolkits for distribution rose to 14. As in past years, Toolkits also were distributed through program partners USGS, NASA, the National Park Service, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Student Chapters.

The complete Earth Science Week 2007 Toolkit includes:
* a 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging;
* the new Earth Science Week poster, including an activity;
* a CD of geoscience fact sheets and other materials from USGS;
* an Earth science CD-ROM, postcards, and more from NASA;
* education materials, cloud chart, and careers info from NOAA;
* a CD on GIS technology and activities from ESRI;
* a microfossils poster from JOI Learning;
* a remote-sensing flyer from AmericaView;
* items from National Park Service, Smithsonian, and IRIS; and
* materials from groups such as AAPG, DLESE, AASG, and GSA.

Toolkits are selling out in record time. With only a handful of complete Toolkits remaining, Earth Science Week 2007 Highlights Toolkits soon will go on sale. The Highlights Toolkits, which typically are missing only one or two items out of dozens of materials, will be offered at roughly half off the original price. To order yours, go to

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. For contact information, please visit