Earth Science Week Update February 2009

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 7, No. 2: February 2009


Climate to Be Theme of
Earth Science Week 2009

AGI is pleased to announce the theme of Earth Science Week 2009: “Understanding Climate.” Being held October 11-17, Earth Science Week 2009 will promote scientific understanding of a timely, vital topic: Earth’s climate.

Begin planning now for activities and resources designed to help students and citizens answer key questions. How do geoscientists determine the causes of weather patterns? What is the difference between weather and climate? How has our climate changed in the past - and how is it changing now?

AGI hosts Earth Science Week in cooperation with sponsors as a service to the public and the geoscience community. Each year, local groups, educators, and interested individuals organize celebratory events. Earth Science Week offers opportunities to discover the Earth sciences and engage in responsible stewardship of the Earth.

The program is supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, the AAPG Foundation, and other major geoscience groups. To learn more about Earth Science Week, related resources, and ways to participate, go to

Make Connections With
Geoscience Partners Network

To facilitate partnerships between educators and others in the geoscience community, AGI is launching the Geoscience Partners Network (GPN). Soon you’ll be able to use a powerful online tool - the GPN Map on the Earth Science Week website at - to identify geoscience partners near you, access relevant information, and network with colleagues to forge meaningful partnerships.

Want to organize a field trip or a classroom visit? Teachers can make the most of Earth Science Week and other educational opportunities by working closely with professional scientists, university professors, local employers, nonprofit representatives, environmental educators, and government leaders in the geosciences.

Planned to launch in the months prior to Earth Science Week 2009, the GPN Map will pinpoint local contacts near you for AGI Member Societies, state geological surveys, agencies such as USGS and NASA, universities offering geology programs, parks, museums, and other groups. To recommend an organization for inclusion, please contact AGI’s Jason Betzner (

NASA Webcasts Target
Grades 3-8 Teachers

NASA Langley Research Center, working in cooperation with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Virginia Department of Education Region 2 Math/Science Coalition, is offering a series of professional development webcasts for teachers of grades three through eight.

Airing 4-5:30pm EST, upcoming webcasts on Earth system science topics will include:

  • Solar Radiation and the Atmosphere (March 19),
  • Tides (April 16), and
  • The Story of Ocean Heat Storage (June 18).

NASA is a longtime Earth Science Week partner. The webcasts can be viewed on the NASA Digital Learning Network at

AGI Reports on Geoscience
Education, Workforce

Trends in Earth science education are a major focus of “Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2009,” a report recently released by AGI’s Workforce Program. The first chapter, “Trends in Geoscience Education from K-12 through Community College” ( details U.S. students’ access to Earth science education.

For example, most states include Earth science in the curriculum for grades six to eight, according to the report. The number of states requiring Earth science has increased only slightly in recent years, however, from five in 2002 to seven in 2007. For the past 26 years, the share of high school students taking Earth science courses has not exceeded 25 percent.

Based on original data collected by AGI as well as from federal sources, professional membership organizations, and industry, the report describes the supply and training of students, workforce demographics and employment projections, and trends in geosciences research funding and economic indicators. Produced with support from the AGI Foundation, the entire report is available online (

Young Earth Scientists
To Gather in China

The Young Earth Scientists for Society (YES) network, an association of geoscientists under age 35 representing geological societies worldwide, in collaboration with the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), is organizing an international conference for young earth scientists, policy makers, advisors and decision makers.

The YES Congress will be held at the China University of Geosciences, in Beijing, China October 25-28, 2009. The conference will discuss global climate, environmental, and geological challenges and establish an interdisciplinary global network committed to solving these challenges.

Abstracts for oral presentations, poster presentations, and roundtable symposia are due by March 30. To learn more, visit

Ward’s Natural Science
An Earth Science Partner

Ward’s Natural Science, an Earth Science Week partner, provides a wide range of geoscience education materials, from classroom and field equipment to lab activities designed specifically for teaching Earth science.

Earth science materials available through Ward’s include geology apparatus and collections, fossil reproductions and specimens, meteorology equipment, lab activities, models, rock and mineral specimens, books, charts, maps, posters, audio-visual materials, and computer software. A supporter of education for nearly 150 years, Ward’s offers additional information and a free newsletter at

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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