Earth Science Week Update November 2009

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 7, No. 11: November 2009


Earth Science Week 2009
A Worldwide Success

More than 30 million people gained a new awareness of the geosciences through the 12th annual Earth Science Week last month. That’s how many people worldwide learned about Earth science through program promotions, education efforts, news media, and Web coverage. The event celebrated the theme “Understanding Climate” by promoting scientific understanding of the long-term weather patterns that make up our climate.

Earth Science Week events ranged from individual teachers and classes conducting playground science projects to activities at major USGS field stations, NASA facilities, and National Parks. Schools nationwide held activities for “No Child Left Inside” Day on October 13, encouraging students to explore climatology and other geoscience topics firsthand outdoors. And the first annual Women in the Geosciences Day, October 15, provided an opportunity for professional geoscientists to share the excitement of their careers with young women.

Internationally, educators, students, and geoscientists in Australia, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom participated in educational events, explorations, and competitions for Earth Science Week. And shutterbugs in many additional countries entered the International Year of Planet Earth-Earth Science Week Photo Contest.

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 2009 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

Earth Science Week Contest
Winners Announced

Taylor Jae Scott of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, won first place in the visual arts contest with a collage comparing landscapes, average sea levels, wildlife, and other climate indicators in his area today and 100,000 years ago. Finalists were Chris Carchi, Axl Avenido, Alex Noyes, and Damon Perkins. Students in grades K-5 made two-dimensional artworks illustrating the theme “The Climate Where I Live.”

Shreyas Havaldar of Dix Hills, New York, won first place in the essay contest with his writing about the climate and changing seasons on Long Island. Finalists were Brendan Hawkins, Tyler Wagner, Jerica Willden, and Shruthi Aravindan. Students in grades 6-9 wrote essays of up to 300 words addressing this year’s theme, “Climate Connections.”

Michael Badding of East Amherst, New York, won first place in the photo contest with his image of a chunk of melting ice recovered from a mountainous area. Finalists were Alexandra Cichon, Joseph Maa, Ari Moskowitz, and Tanya Morgan. Submissions illustrated the theme “How Climate Shapes My World.”

The number of people submitting photos, art, and essays to the Earth Science Week contests this year rose by 41 percent from 2008. Congratulations to the winners, finalists, and hundreds of students and others who entered. Each first-place winner receives $300 and a “Faces of Earth” DVD set. Entries submitted by winners and finalists are being posted online for viewing at

IYPE-Earth Science Week
Photo Contest Has a Winner

Amy Spaziani, a graduate student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, won first place in the International Year of Planet Earth-Earth Science Week Photo Contest. The prize-winning photo features a geology student examining soft sediment deformation during a field trip near the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas. The winner receives a prize of $500, a “Faces of Earth” DVD set, and placement of her photo online.

Cassidy Williams of Westland, Michigan, who came in second, receives $300. Daniel McGrath of Boulder, Colorado, who placed third, receives $100. Finalists were Edmund Nickless of London, England, and Kim Schmidt of San Diego, California. Submissions illustrated the theme “Exploring Earth Science around the World.”

The number people worldwide submitting photos to the contest in 2009 shot up 73 percent from last year. Congratulations to all who entered. Entries submitted by winners and finalists are being posted online for viewing at

You Can Help Improve
Earth Science Week 2010

Want to help make next year’s Earth Science Week an even better experience for you and other participants? Take a few minutes to fill out the participant survey that is being conducted by PS International, an independent evaluation firm.

The survey invites you to weigh in on questions such as which Earth Science Week resources and activities are most useful. If Earth science education is important to you, please complete the survey at today. The survey will close on Friday, November 27.

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 tens of 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, AAPG Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, ExxonMobil, and ESRI. In addition, year after year, Earth Science Week Toolkits are purchased in bulk quantities for distribution to teachers by numerous organizations such as NASA, National Park Service, Baton Rouge Geological Survey, Da Vinci Science Center, and Loudon County Public Schools.

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

Still Time to Enter
IPY Writing Contest

In its writing contest for Pan-Arctic youth, the International Polar Year (IPY) Youth Time Capsule Project Committee is calling for submissions about life in the north that will be included in the IPY Time Capsule, to be re-opened 25 years from now. The deadline has been extended to December 1, 2009.

So far, the IPY Time Capsule Project has included photography, art work, and youth surveys. The committee now seeks writing, so that a written interpretation of life in the north through the eyes of young people can be presented with visual components of the Time Capsule. All entries will be considered for inclusion in the IPY Time Capsule Project, and select entries will be displayed in a physical Time Capsule exhibit, slated for April-May 2010, as well as on an online exhibit, planned for 2009-2011.

Young people ages 12-18 may submit a one-page piece of writing in any format, such as prose or poetry. Entries will be accepted in any language currently spoken in the north, and prizes will be awarded to the first- and second-place entrants in the categories of English/French and Traditional Language/Other. For submission guidelines, see

Earth Science Teaching
Award Winner Announced

Stephen L. Houser, Jr., an Earth science educator at Providence Spring Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been named the 2009 recipient of the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. Houser, who has taught grades 3-5 for most of his 34-year teaching career, is a North Carolina certified environmental educator who serves as a talent development teacher, instructing gifted and high-ability students in areas including Earth and planetary science.

Providence Spring Principal Diane Adams says Houser is an “education legend here in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools” who serves as a science educator “24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.” In addition to the many students he has inspired, Houser has been active in shaping the curriculum of his school and school district - promoting the outdoor classroom sites, coordinating a Science Olympiad program, and serving on the district’s science committee.

Given annually, AGI’s Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award recognizes one classroom teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade for leadership and innovation in Earth science education. This award is named in honor of Dr. Edward C. Roy, Jr., who was a strong and dedicated supporter of Earth science education. To learn more, please see

Environmental Education
Conference Coming in 2010

The 39th Annual Conference of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) will be held in the Buffalo, New York, in 2010. Join the New York State Outdoor Environmental Educators Association as it hosts attendees from around the world at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, September 28-October 2, 2010.

The call for proposals closes February 1, 2010. Nine strands compliment the conference theme, “Building Connections - Bridging Gaps.” Visit NAAEE online to learn more.

‘Understanding Climate’
Toolkits Still Available

Packed with instructional materials focusing on the theme of “Understanding Climate,” a limited supply of Earth Science Week 2009 Toolkits are still available. Order now to ensure that you receive dozens of exciting educational resources, ideal for teaching throughout the year.

The Earth Science Week 2009 Toolkit includes:

  • A 12-month school-year calendar, with an activity each month
  • The new Earth Science Week poster, including a climate activity
  • USGS climate education resources, including volcano materials
  • NASA climate resources, including a “Dynamic Earth” DVD
  • A special report on “Ecological Impacts of Climate Change”
  • A National Park Service poster on glaciers nationwide
  • A new brochure outlining principles for Earth science literacy
  • A CD on GIS technology and activities from ESRI
  • A genuine geoscientist’s field notebook from Rite in the Rain
  • Climate literacy materials provided by NOAA
  • Information about the National Wildlife Refuge System
  • Activity sheets from the Association for Women Geoscientists
  • Brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and more


For ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more information, 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


To subscribe to this newsletter, visit and Submit your email address.