Earth Science Week Update March 2009

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 7, No. 3: March 2009


Apply Now for Award for
K-8 Earth Science Teacher

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the AGI Foundation once again are offering the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in Earth Science Teaching in 2009. Given annually, this award recognizes one classroom teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade for leadership and innovation in Earth science education.

The winner will receive a $2,500 prize and an additional grant of $1,000 to enable the recipient to attend the Geological Society of America’s 2009 Joint Meeting at the close of Earth Science Week 2009 to accept the award. To be eligible for this year’s competition, applications must be postmarked by May 31.

This award is named in honor of Dr. Edward C. Roy, Jr., a past president of AGI, who was a strong and dedicated supporter of Earth science education. To learn more, visit

NASA’s Healthy Climate
For Earth Science Education

NASA is gearing up for Earth Science Week’s “Understanding Climate” theme with a host of programs. Project BudBurst, a grassroots climate change research project, launched its 2009 field season on March 2. Students, families and volunteers are making observations such as first flower, first leaf, and seed or fruit dispersal of a variety of plant species. A website keeps track of the data with real-time Google Maps. Learn more at

NASA’s Langley Research Center and the National Alliance of Black School Educators are offering free, interactive webcasts and videoconferences. Upcoming webcasts will include “Global Warming: Causes and Consequences” on April 9. To find out more or submit a question, visit

Educators also can check out space science videoconferences on NASA’s Digital Learning Network. Upcoming videoconferences will include “Meteorology: An Educators Resource Guide for Inquiry-Based Learning.” Sign up at

And NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research are offering climate discovery online courses for educators. The seven-week summer courses, designed for middle and high school teachers, combine geoscience content, information on current climate research, hands-on activities, and group discussion. Register by May 31 for a discount. Learn more at

Plan Activities Now for
Earth Science Week 2009

Earth Science Week 2009 (Oct. 11-17) won’t take place for months - so now is the perfect time to start planning your activities. Don’t wait until the hectic first weeks of the next school year. Take this opportunity to make a wish list: How would you like your students celebrate Earth Science Week 2009?

You can promote this year’s theme - “Understanding Climate” - by planning activities to help your students learn the geoscience behind Earth’s climate. Consider some of the climate-related resources offered by leading partners of Earth Science Week featured in this newsletter, such as USGS, NASA, and NOAA. And conduct activities featured on the Earth Science Week website at

Last year, Florida’s Museum of Science and Industry celebrated Earth Science Week with forest hikes, tours of artificial wetlands, and demonstrations featuring Bay News 9 WeatherQuest. And the Puerto Rico Seismic Network celebrated with a full day of shows, interactive activities, and exhibitions by groups such as Tsunami Ready, USGS, and the National Weather Service.

For more ideas about what you can do, read about successful past events at or see recommendations at

Read All About Science

USA Today isn’t just the most widely read newspaper in America. It’s also a great source of geoscience education information, as evidenced by the USA Today lessons featured yearly in the Earth Science Week Activity Calendar, (

The education page ( provides breaking news on the latest education stories, a higher education blog, and more. Also available are e-mail news alerts, RSS news feeds, podcasts, instant-message alerts and widgets. In addition, the science-and-space page offers science news and features, including a “Week in Space” photo gallery.

Dig Into Earth Science
Education With USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a longtime Earth Science Week partner, offers a wealth of information on virtually every Earth science topic - from natural resources and hazards to geospatial data - for students, educators, and members of the general public.

The USGS education website ( includes lesson plans and other resources for K-12 and university educators. For example, GIS Lab focuses on using Geographic Information Systems to teach spatial analysis, and GPS Class provides lessons on Global Positioning Systems in education. USGS has more than 69,000 searchable publications such as maps, books, and charts online. The USGS photo and image collection, in addition, offers thousands of free images. If what you’re looking for still proves elusive, just “ask a geologist” (

And don’t forget to check out the USGS podcast series, CoreCast, featuring stories and insights on climate change, satellite monitoring, human health, wildlife disease, and more. To listen, go to

NOAA Guide Aims to
Improve Climate Literacy

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is offering a new guide to help people of all ages understand how climate influences them - and how they influence climate. A product of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, it was compiled by an interagency group led by NOAA.

“This guide is a first step for people who want to know more about the essential principles of our climate system, how to better discern scientifically credible information about climate, and how to identify problems related to understanding climate and climate change,” said Tom Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. The 13-page guide is available online at For print copies, e-mail or phone 301-713-1208.

Anticipated as part of the Earth Science Week 2009 Toolkit, the guide comes at the start of a new era for NOAA. Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist and founding director of Climate Central, was recently confirmed as the new administrator for NOAA, the nation’s top science agency for climate, oceans, and the atmosphere. To see NOAA’s education page, visit".

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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