Earth Science Week Update January 2010

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 8, No. 1: January 2010


Independent Study Details
Earth Science Week Success

Earth Science Week participation soared in 2009, not only in terms of quantity - a documented 40 million people became aware through activities, media coverage, and the Internet - but also the quality of engagement, according to an independent evaluation recently completed by PS International.

Comparing participation last year and plans for next year, 92 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing or maintaining level participation. “My kids love these studies,” commented one respondent. Though some cited tight budgets as an obstacle, just 8 percent said they plan to decrease participation.

A large majority of participants (86 percent) said Earth Science Week offers opportunities for teaching and promoting Earth science that they wouldn’t have otherwise. “We conduct outreach events more than once a year, but Earth Science Week is a focused event that many organizations schedule each year,” said one. Similarly, 91 percent said program resources and activities are very or somewhat important to educating students and others about Earth science. “I am glad to have a one-stop shop to find what I need to teach,&rdquou; a respondent remarked.

Most respondents find Earth Science Week and related resources highly useful. The share rating the program’s overall usefulness as excellent or good rose significantly, from 77 percent in 2008 to 81 percent in 2009. AGI uses evaluation findings to improve the program. To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2009 Highlights, coming next month at

Earth Science Week to Be
Part of Science Festival

AGI is proud to be an official partner of the inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival to be held in October in Washington D.C. The event will follow closely on the heels of Earth Science Week, taking place October 10-16, 2010.

The festival, which will be the country’s first national science festival, represents a collaboration of over 500 of the country’s leading science and engineering organizations. The culmination of the festival will be a two-day expo on the National Mall on October 23-24, 2010, which will give children, teens and adults the opportunity to explore all facets of science and engineering through hundreds of fun, hands-on activities.

People across the Unites States are encouraged to hold satellite events in their communities the same weekend that hundreds of thousands of people celebrate science on the National Mall. For more information on all festival events and how you can get involved, visit

Energy Lab Program
Open to Schools

American high schools and middle schools are now eligible to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy-Related Laboratory Equipment (ERLE) program. For over 30 years, this program has enabled colleges and universities to acquire hundreds of millions of dollars in high-quality surplus laboratory equipment from the department’s National Laboratories.

The federal agency, an active Earth Science Week partner, invites schools to acquire equipment by reviewing the available equipment list at the ERLE website ( and completing an electronic application form. This new opportunity dovetails with the recent announcement of Earth Science Week 2010’s theme: “Exploring Energy.”

Prepare Now for Week of
Environmental Education

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), the nation’s largest environmental education event, held April 11-17, 2010, inspires environmental learning and stewardship. EE Week connects educators with environmental resources to promote K-12 students’ understanding of the environment.

In the United States, generating power consumes 3 percent of our water annually, and 13 percent of the energy produced each year is used to treat, transport, and heat water, according to the event organizer, the National Environmental Education Foundation. Promoting conservation of both water and energy, EE Week’s 2010 theme is “Be Water and Energy Wise.”

EE Week provides lesson plans and classroom resources on the water-energy connection at Register for EE Week at to receive certificates of participation, free online resources, information on professional development and funding opportunities, and access to discounts on educational materials.

AAPG Offers Instructors
Videos, Expert Speakers

With members ranging from professional geologists and corporate executives to students and academics, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has plenty to offer Earth science educators. AAPG, a longtime AGI member society and Earth Science Week partner, aims to foster scientific research and promote the science of geology.

In addition to AGI’s K-5 GeoSource and Earth Science Week sites, AAPG’s K-12 Teaching Resources site at features the AAPG video library of more than 300 educational videos. AAPG’s Youth Education Activities Committee is currently building and expanding this resource.

AAPG’s Visiting Geoscientist program allows colleges and universities to arrange for a geoscientist to visit with a group of students for a full day or a half-day. Programs can include technical talks, a review of geoscience careers, and informal discussions. K-12 teachers also may request visits, though availability at the pre-college level is limited. To arrange a visit, go to

Universities and geological societies can arrange similar visits through the Distinguished Lecturer program. For details, see

NASA Unveils
Stellar Education Offerings

NASA’s new programs for education include Mission:Science, a website where teenagers can access NASA spacecraft data for school science projects, conduct real experiments with NASA scientists, and locate space-related internships. The site also features social networking tools, links to science contests, information about college research programs, and an array of NASA images, animation, videos, and podcasts. Check it out at

Then join NASA&rsqou;s Digital Learning Network (DLN) to learn about an upcoming mission dealing with the sun and its impacts on Earth. The new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is scheduled to launch in February 2010. To energize high school students and teachers, DLN will host a one-hour interactive event with scientists of SDO on January 26, 2010. To be considered for participation, email your school name and address, grade level, number of students to participate, and a short description of how this event will benefit the curriculum to Dr. Marci Delaney at

Want to relive the last month of the International Year of Astronomy through a podcast on the Orion Nebula? Visit Want to sample the archive on the Solar System Exploration News page, including podcasts from each month? Visit

Or check out SciJinks, a highly interactive website that provides middle-school students and other audiences an amazing science education opportunity. Provided by NASA and NOAA, the website transports visitors to the wild world of weather to learn about predicting global weather patterns. Visit SciJinks at For suggestions on how to use the SciJinks resources in the classroom, see

Contest Recognizes Ideas
For Energy, Conservation

Students throughout North America can win a trip to Washington D.C., $1,000 for their school, or other prizes by submitting their creative energy ideas to the ninth annual Igniting Creative Energy (ICE) Challenge.

The National Energy Foundation and Johnson Controls are inviting kindergarten through 12th-grade students to submit innovative ideas to save energy and conserve the environment. Since 2002, more than 13,000 students have participated for a chance to win prizes.

This year, all qualifying submissions received before the early-bird deadline of January 30, 2010, will be eligible to win prizes that promote living in a sustainable manner. For more information on the ICE Challenge, see

Earth Science Week 2009
Made a Splash in Australia

Australia has been for many years one of the top international hot spots for Earth Science Week - and 2009 was no exception. During last year’s celebration, events were held across the nation to promote geoscience awareness and recognize the achievements of those who work in the Earth sciences. Activities included teacher professional development sessions, tours of geological sites, competitions, and “Open Days.”

Geoscience Australia organized various efforts, including a national student short film competition, the Geologi09. Winners were announced at an official screening and awards ceremony on October 12. The winning films can be viewed at

Earth Science Week concluded with Open Day at Geoscience Australia in Canberra on October 18. Some 1,300 visitors enjoyed a wide range of activities, displays, and discussions. They also took the opportunity to see planet Earth in 3D, tour the Australian Tsunami Warning Centre earthquake detection hub, and take part in a GPS treasure hunt. To learn more, visit

Apply Now for AGI
Fellowship, Internship

AGI is accepting applications for the 2010-2011 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellowship. The successful candidate will spend 12 months (starting September 2010) in Washington D.C. working as a staff member in the office of a member of Congress or on a congressional committee.

The fellowship represents a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience with the federal legislative process and make practical contributions to the effective and timely use of geoscientific knowledge on issues relating to the environment, resources, natural hazards, and federal science policy. The candidate must have a Ph.D. or master’s degree with three years work experience in geoscience. Applications are due February 1, 2010. Learn more at

In addition, AGI’s Government Affairs Program seeks outstanding geoscience students (masters or undergraduate) with a strong interest in federal science policy for summer, fall, and spring internships. Interns will gain a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and the operation of executive branch agencies. They will also hone their writing and web publishing skills. The deadline for summer is March 15, 2010, and the deadlines for fall and next spring are April 15 and October 15, 2010, respectively. For more information, go to

For Geoscience, Check
The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, offers more than just up-to-date weather forecasts for over 77,000 locations worldwide. “The Weather Classroom” is an educational, half-hour television program on the channel that explores the science behind weather. For local airtimes, see

In addition, the channel’s website at provides educational resources, interactive maps, and radar for regional and local purposes. For instance, “Weather Insights” is a free newsletter provided to educators every other month throughout the school year. Phone 1-800-471-5544 to get it by mail, or visit to print a copy.

Also online, “Teacher’s Lounge” offers weather materials for teachers, including a weather encyclopedia, careers in meteorology, weather glossary, weather games, climate change information, weather videos, and standards-based lesson plans. Visit for more.

Earth Science Week
Resources Online Year-Round

Earth Science Week is more than one week of the year. If you’ve got Internet access, you can teach and learn about Earth science all year long.

The Earth Science Week website offers loads of classroom activities, theme-based resources, research projects, local events and organizations, and careers information. Most importantly, the site features dozens of recommended lessons that teachers and parents can conduct with children. All are aligned with the National Science Education Standards. Check it out at today!

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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