Earth Science Week Update September 2008

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 6, No. 9: September 2008


Attention, Teachers!
Earth Science Week Wants You

During Earth Science Week 2008 (Oct. 12-18), students will explore mines and caves, sample groundwater, monitor the weather, visit museums and science centers, prepare science projects, and conduct investigations. Leading them will be teachers like you.

You’re encouraged to lead your own celebration. Conduct an Earth science lab activity, using one of the many activities on the Earth Science Week website at In the process, you can heighten awareness of the importance of Earth science education to students’ informed decision making, responsible citizenship, and career success.

Remember, you need not work alone. Talk with your school’s guidance counselor about how a schoolwide celebration can promote science literacy. Work with your science supervisor, coordinator, and fellow teachers to develop activities. Communicate to your principal, superintendent, school board members, and PTA representative the importance of Earth science. And collaborate with a nearby museum, science center, geoscience company, or civic group to organize local events.

For more ideas, go to Or order your Earth Science Week Toolkit, which includes a geoscience activity calendar, posters, brochures, bookmarks, CDs and more. To order, visit

Field Notebook for Students
Featured in 2008 Toolkit

Just one of dozens of educational materials in the Earth Science Week 2008 Toolkit - from posters and calendars to activity books and CDs - is the “No Child Left Inside” Field Notebook. But the Field Notebook, made possible by contributions from USGS and Rite in the Rain, is a special part of this year’s celebration.

Rite in the Rain, which manufactures full-size notebooks for fieldwork by professional geoscientists, has created this miniature Field Notebook - with “all-weather writing paper” and charts on types of clouds, soils, and geological map symbols - for Earth Science Week 2008 (October 12-18). By recording their observations and conclusions here, students get a taste of the work performed by professional geoscientists..

“No Child Left Inside,” the theme of Earth Science Week 2008, has become a rallying cry for a growing movement. Efforts by government agencies and nonprofit groups - from USGS to the National Park Service - are helping young people experience the joys of outdoor activity. Inspired by Richard Louv’s bestseller “Last Child in the Woods,” these activities aim to curb what the author calls “nature-deficit disorder” among America’s youth. Most recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “No Child Left Inside” Act (HR 3036) on September 18, funding efforts to strengthen environmental education.

For Earth Science Week 2008 Toolkit ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more information, visit

Kick Off the Fun on
International EarthCache Day

Earth Science Week begins again this year with International EarthCache Day on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or just someone who enjoys Earth science firsthand, EarthCaching provides a great way to kick off the celebration.

EarthCaching is a variation of a recreational activity known as geocaching. Typically, a geocache organizer posts latitude and longitude coordinates on the Internet to advertise a “cache,” or scavenger-hunt destination, which geocachers locate by using GPS devices. Today, more than 270,000 caches are active in over 200 countries, according to The activity has attracted over one million participants worldwide.

EarthCachers 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.

You are invited visit or establish an EarthCache in your area on the second annual International EarthCache Day, Oct. 14. To learn more, visit

Three Weeks Left to Enter
Earth Science Week Contests

With entries due near the end of Earth Science Week - Friday, October 17 - science students and enthusiasts across the country are busy completing submissions for the Earth Science Week 2008 essay, visual arts, and photography contests. Send yours today

The photography contest, open to all ages, focuses on “Earth Science Beyond Your Front Door.” Whether you are a young person yourself or an adult who works with youngsters, you can lead an educational outdoor adventure. Show your geoscience excursion.

The visual arts contest is titled “Studying Our Earth.” Students in grades K-5 are encouraged to draw, paint, or create a poster. Artwork entries should be two-dimensional and no larger than 24-by-36 inches. Show yourself as an Earth scientist using the inquiry approach to answer a question in nature.

Students in grades 6-9 may enter the essay contest: “Earth Connections.” Each one-page essay must be no longer than 300 words. Discuss how various natural processes on the Earth are interconnected and how they affect each other where you live..

The contests offer opportunities for students and the public to participate in the celebration, learn about the Earth sciences, and compete for prizes. Each first-place winner receives $300 and a copy of AGI’s “Faces of Earth” DVD set. To learn more, visit

How to Put Your Event
On ‘My Events Map’ Online

If you’re hosting an event during Earth Science Week (October 12-18) for the public, you want to let people know about it. The best way is to post your event details on the new “My Events Map” (

“My Events Map” provides clickable links to Earth Science Week events taking place at parks, museums, science and technology centers, university geology departments, local geological societies, and other nearby locations. Anyone can find the map online, click on a nearby location, read a brief description of the event - and even get driving directions!

To post your event on the map, please contact AGI at Be sure to provide a brief description of the event, the time and date, and the street address. We’ll be happy to direct Earth Science Week participants to your event!.

Shine a Media Spotlight
On Your Great Activities

Energy! The environment! Natural hazards! Earth science is breaking news. Educators can take advantage of journalists’ interest in geoscience to promote awareness of local Earth Science Week activities. Here are five effective strategies:

  • Plan a special event to draw attention to your Earth Science Week activities. Conduct an investigation or experiment, invite a prominent geoscientist to talk with students, host a ceremony or a banquet, stage an event with a nearby museum or science center, give awards to volunteers, or recognize geoscience enthusiasts who have made a difference.
  • Prepare a press release to alert the media about your Earth Science Week activities. Answer important questions, such as who, what, where, when, and why. Include data and quotes from key players. Provide contact information for followup. Print the release on your letterhead and fax it to editors and reporters at least three days before the event.
  • Be persistent in pitching your story to local news organizations. Besides noting the “hook” of Earth Science Week, show how your activities address issues that are urgent, timely, and relevant to the community. Write a brief, compelling query letter to the appropriate editor at each media outlet. Follow up with a phone call or an e-mail.
  • Write letters to the editor for print in local newspapers and magazines. You might respond to a recent geoscience-related article with a letter to the editor. If possible, schedule a meeting with the editorial board. Or instead of a letter, perhaps write an opinion editorial, or “op-ed,” to cite concerns and recommend solutions.
  • Use available Earth Science Week materials in promoting awareness. In the Earth Science Week Toolkit and on the event website are print and electronic materials - poster, calendar, logo, and more - that you can use to “brand” your activity. Link your local activity to the larger national celebration to emphasize its significance.

AGI Thanks Its Generous
Earth Science Week Sponsors

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, who support our education outreach efforts, Earth Science Week is able to promote awareness and appreciation of the geosciences among millions of people every year. AGI would like to express its appreciation to the many government agencies, nonprofit groups, and corporations that make the program possible.

Earth Science Week couldn’t do its important work without the support of organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey and the AAPG Foundation. In addition, year after year, Earth Science Week Toolkits are purchased in bulk quantities for distribution to teachers by numerous organizations such as NASA, the National Park Service, the Geological Survey of Alabama, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, the Jackson School of Geosciences, BMC Aggregates LC, Cimarex Energy Co., and ExxonMobil.

To learn how your organization can become an Earth Science Week Sponsor, visit online. To order Earth Science Week Toolkits for science teachers in your area, 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

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