Earth Science Week Update February 2011

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 9, No. 2: February 2011


Independent Study Details
Earth Science Week Success

Earth Science Week participation soared in 2010, not only in terms of quantity - a documented 46 million people gained awareness 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, 88 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing or maintaining level participation. “Earth Science Week for me is every week,” commented one respondent. Though some said participation depended on the relevance of the annual theme to the curriculum, just 12 percent said they plan to decrease participation.

A large majority of participants - 85 percent - said Earth Science Week offers opportunities for teaching and promoting Earth science that they wouldn’t have otherwise. “Although we initiate and participate in many public Earth science awareness activities throughout the year, have a nationally recognized week set aside for it provides a forum and setting for a more focused effort,” said one.

Similarly, 86 percent said program resources and activities are very or somewhat important to educating students and others about Earth science. “Online AGI materials and printed materials are very useful,” a respondent remarked.

Most respondents find Earth Science Week and related resources highly useful, with 74 percent rating the program’s overall usefulness as excellent or good. AGI uses evaluation findings to improve the program. To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2010 Highlights 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 web site ( 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

Earth Science Week at
NSTA 2011 Conference

Visit the organizers of Earth Science Week in the Exhibit Hall of the National Science Teachers Association Conference next month in San Francisco. We’ll have materials and demonstrations dealing with Earth Science Week as well as additional curriculum, training, and other products and services available from AGI.

The conference expo takes place at the Moscone Center on March 10-12, 2011. Please stop by our booth for activities, resources, and information from AGI and a host of Earth Science Week partners. For more information on the conference, see

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, DOE’s Energy Education & Workforce Development web site offers hundreds of K-12 lesson plans. For activities aligned with national standards and covering topics from energy basics to biofuels, hydropower, and wind energy, 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. 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 Resources
In Spanish and English

If you’re looking for Earth science education resources in both Spanish and English, look no further than the recently launched SEED Earth Science Week Online Toolkit.

The web site - a partnership of Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development (SEED) and AGI - has been created to provide educational materials, activities, and other resources for Spanish-speaking students and teachers, as well as English speakers, in U.S. and SEED schools around the world. The resources featured on the site have been developed by SEED, AGI, and other geoscience organizations.

Visitors can view dozens of lessons, posters, fact sheets and other materials in both Spanish and English. Materials provide users with introductory information on Earth science, as well as in-depth items on earth, water, air, and life science. Find the free toolkit online (

IRIS Reaches Students
At 'Teachable Moments'

Want to delve into the science behind current events with your students? Start with a visit to the web site 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 New Zealand earlier this week. 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.

Get Geoscience Community
News From 'GeoSpectrum'

The winter issue of AGI’s GeoSpectrum, the geosciences newsletter, is now available online. This issue’s highlights include a full range of news and information from AGI's 49 member societies, as well as several opinion pieces, news on recent NSF research grants, meeting and publication announcements, and educational, scholarship and career opportunities within the earth sciences.

The quarterly news source features geoscience society news, award announcements, scholarship postings, articles about Earth science education, classified ads, calendar postings, and more. GeoSpectrum is available as a free PDF at

Sign up for notification emails when new issues become available. And to stay up-to-date on the latest news, see the GeoSpectrum blog, featuring short notices on upcoming events, calls for nominations, and other time-sensitive postings at

Help NGWA Promote
Ground Water Awareness

Ground Water Awareness Week (March 6-12, 2011) will shed light on one of the world’s most important resources - ground water. Ground water is essential to the health and well being of humanity and the environment, according to the National Ground Water Association, an AGI member society.

To learn more about Ground Water Awareness Week, see Visit the Virtual Museum of Ground Water History ( or watch a “water well show” ( To find information on ground water and water well stewardship, visit NGWA’s web site for well owners,

Earth Science Week to Be
Part of Science Festival

AGI, the organizer of Earth Science Week, is proud to announce it once again will present at the USA Science and Engineering Festival to be held in Spring 2012 in Washington, D.C. The event will follow on the heels of Earth Science Week 2011, taking place October 9-15.

The festival, which debuted in 2010 as the country’s first national science festival, represents a collaboration of hundreds of leading science and engineering organizations. Last year’s festival culminated in a two-day expo on the National Mall, where over 500,000 children, teens, and adults explored all facets of science and engineering through hundreds of fun, hands-on activities.

The upcoming festival is still in the planning stages. For information on all festival events and how you can get involved, visit

Partners Teach Kids About
Science of Conservation

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

PRE’s signature project, Hands on the Land, connects students, teachers, and parents to public lands and waterways. Education specialists work closely with teachers to develop programs that meet state standards and engage students in hands-on activities. Technologies such as distance learning and the project web site at enable students to take part 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, electronic field trips, and live interaction with scientists, visit

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 staffs and resources, the agencies educate young people, introduce them to natural resource careers, and cultivate the next generation of land and water stewards.


The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 49 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, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment. For contact information, please visit


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