Earth Science Week Update February 2010

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 8, No. 2: February 2010


Earth Science Week Is
‘Exploring Energy’ in 2010

AGI is pleased to announce the theme of Earth Science Week 2010: “Exploring Energy.” Being held October 10-16, Earth Science Week 2010 will engage young people and the public in learning about Earth’s energy resources.

Activities and resources will address key questions: Where do energy resources come from? How are they found and harnessed? How has energy use changed over time? What is the importance of renewable energy? What does science tell us about timely issues such as conservation and public safety? Where are the energy careers of the future likely to be?

“Energy is a topic that always generates electricity in education,” says Ann E. Benbow, Ph.D., AGI’s director of education and outreach. “We all understand the vital role that energy plays in our lives. That’s why we’re taking the opportunity during Earth Science Week 2010 to explore energy as a subject of scientific inquiry.”

Earth Science Week offers opportunities to discover the Earth sciences and engage in responsible stewardship of the Earth. Each year, local groups, educators, and interested individuals organize celebratory events. The program is supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, the AAPG Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, Exxon Mobil, NASA, the National Park Service, ESRI, and other major geoscience groups. To learn more, go to

Energy Department Programs
Empowering Teachers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a major Earth Science Week partner, provides learning opportunities for teachers and students at all levels. For example, the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website offers over 350 K-12 lesson plans. For activities aligned with national science standards and covering topics from energy basics to biofuels, see

With laboratories across the country, DOE scientists and instruments offer valuable resources for geoscience education. DOE programs for teachers and professors include the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, in which teachers work for a year in a congressional office or federal agency to improve science education. For more on teacher programs, visit

The annual National Science Bowl ( tests middle and high school students’ science knowledge. The Real World Design Challenge ( invites high school students to team up to solve real engineering problems.

DOE also offers internships for undergraduate and community college students studying or preparing to teach science, math, and engineering. Find out more at

Earth Science Week
Founder Releases Video

Ever wonder about the organization that has hosted Earth Science Week since launching the event more than a decade ago? Learn more about the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) through a new video entitled “This Is AGI,” available on the AGI website.

See our involvement in ensuring America’s students receive a quality Earth science education. Find out about AGI’s role in building a strong geoscience workforce. Learn about services we provide to the professional communtiy, such as GeoRef and archives. Watch to see how AGI promotes the geosciences among policymakers.

This eight-minute video provides comprehensive information on AGI’s mission, history, and services. To view the video, please visit

Partners Teach Kids About
Science of Conservation

Partners in Resource Education (PRE), a new Earth Science Week partner, provides programs and activities designed to get young people excited about the geoscience of conservation. Focusing on national resource priorities such as invasive species, fire, threatened and endangered species, pollinators, wetlands, oceans, and climate change, PRE teaches people about sustaining and safeguarding wild living resources in their own backyards.

PRE is a consortium of seven federal agencies: Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency. By combining their staffs and resources, the agencies educate thousands of young people, introduce them to natural resource careers, and cultivate the next generation of land and water stewards.

PRE’s signature project, Hands on the Land, connects students, teachers, and parents to public lands and waterways. Educational specialists work closely with local teachers to develop programs that meet state education standards and engage students in hands-on activities. Technologies such as the project website ( and distance learning enable students to participate in environmental monitoring and other activities.

A new project, PollinatorLIVE Distance Learning Adventures, shines a spotlight on the major role that various pollinators play in production of food, the future of wildlife, and the health of flowering plants. For information on teacher training and student webinars, a student satellite broadcast, live electronic field trips, and live interaction with scientists, visit the project online (

EARTH Magazine on
Ranking Snowstorms

Battering the Mid-Atlantic, this month’s winter storms were described as “historic.” But really, how do we know? Is the total amount of snow important, or is it how it affects people? EARTH Magazine Online looks at NOAA’s efforts to categorize snowstorms - like rankings of other natural disasters - and gauge their effects on society.

Snowstorms traditionally have been ranked only in terms of inches fallen. Now a team of NOAA researchers is trying to change that. Read EARTH Magazine Online’s featured story at to learn about the criteria scientists are using to rank snowstorms.

Keep up to date with the latest happenings in earth, energy, and environment news with AGI&rsqou;s EARTH Magazine, available on local newsstands or online at

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

IRIS Reaches Students
At ‘Teachable Moments’

Want to delve into the science behind current events with your students? Start with a visit to the website of Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), an Earth Science Week partner.

IRIS offers a set of online resources - “Recent Earthquake Teachable Moments” - dealing, most recently, with the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti last month. View PowerPoint presentations, animations, and visualizations, as well as links to Spanish-language materials and USGS data. Additional resources address other quakes worldwide.

Founded in 1984 with National Science Foundation support, IRIS is a nonprofit consortium of over 100 universities engaged in the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data. To explore “Teachable Moments,” visit online.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 46 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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