Earth Science Week Update August 2009

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 7, No. 8: August 2009


Earth Science Week 2009


Heading back to school? Now is the time to make plans for Earth Science Week, held Oct. 11-17, 2009. The 12th annual Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme “Understanding Climate” with a wide range of exciting activities, programs, and resources designed to help young people understand the large-scale weather patterns that make up climate.

Pitch in to promote geoscience literacy. Dig up fossil evidence of past life, record observations of cloud patterns, or visit science centers and parks. Conduct activities described on the Earth Science Week website at For more ideas, see recommendations at

This year’s event is shaping up to reach even more than last year’s total audience of over 20 million people. For more than a decade, AGI has organized Earth Science Week to foster public and professional awareness of the status of Earth science in education and society. To learn more or to order an Earth Science Week 2009 Toolkit, visit the event website at

AEG Promotes Environmental
And Engineering Geology

The Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG), an AGI member society, not only provides leadership, advocacy, and applied research in environmental and engineering geology - the association encourages educators to join and make use of its abundant resources.

Resources for members include technical publications, section and chapter meetings, and special educator sessions at the annual meeting. Opportunities for professional geologists to speak to classes are also available to members, as well as resume writing workshops and scholarships for students. The AEG 2009 Annual Meeting will take place at Lake Tahoe, California, Sept. 21-26. To learn more or register, see

AEG also links to AGI’s K-5 GeoSource online at K-5 GeoSource is an online professional development tool for elementary-level teachers who offer instruction on Earth science topics such as weather, fossils, rocks, soil, and water. To find out more about what AEG has to offer or become a member, visit

EPA Offers Climate Change
Toolkit for Middle School

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released a new free collection of resources to enhance middle school students’ understanding of climate change impacts on the United States’ wildlife and ecosystems.

“Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators” contains case studies and activities based on climate science, environmental education, and stewardship information. The toolkit is available online at For more information, see

Is Earth Science Education
At Risk in Your State?

Public schools have dropped Earth science from the required curriculum in recent years. Colleges have closed geoscience departments. Employers have said they need more qualified candidates for geoscience jobs. Does your public education system ensure that all students learn important Earth science content?

AGI now allows you to track the status of Earth science education nationwide. The “Pulse of Earth Science” website, launched in connection with Earth Science Week, offers detailed, up-to-date information on geoscience education in every state, as well as guidance for advocates. View online at

NASA Invites Projects
For Space Gravity

NASA’s Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) allows students in high school and in middle school to design and build an experiment that will be operated in a NASA research drop tower. This will put the students’ experiment in microgravity, just as if it were in space.

New for the 2009-10 school year will be a two-part DIME with separate competitions for high school teams and teams of students in grades 6-9. Four high school teams will be invited to visit NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and operate their experiment in the drop tower. Four additional teams will send their experiment to Glenn for staff to operate it. Teams of students in grades 6-9 will compete to build an experiment to be operated in the same drop tower by NASA staff.

Proposals are due Nov. 2, 2009. Selections will be announced in December, and drop tower operations will be conducted in April 2010. See for more information about this opportunity. Learn about other NASA education initiatives at

NAAEE Event Highlights
Environmental Education

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) 2009 Conference is being held October 7-10 in Portland, Oregon. Major conference strands will include climate change education, conservation education, early childhood and environmental education, and other areas.

Registration remains open. NAAEE has promoted excellence among environmental educators for 37 years. For information, see

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 45 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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