Earth Science Week Update January 2011

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 9, No. 1: January 2011


Earth Science Week 2011:
‘Our Ever-Changing Earth’

AGI is pleased to announce the theme of Earth Science Week 2011: “Our Ever-Changing Earth.” Being held October 9-15, 2011, the event will engage young people and the public in learning about the natural processes that shape our planet over time.

Earth Science Week 2011 materials and activities will show how evidence of change can be found everywhere, from the earth beneath our feet to the oceans and atmosphere around us. The fossil record of changes in plant and animal life likewise can be found around the globe. These changes touch our lives in many ways, as we see in headlines about topics such as resource availability, evolution, and climate change.

“Planetary change raises important questions among young people, educators, and the public,” says Ann E. Benbow, Ph.D., AGI’s director of education and outreach. “Earth Science Week 2011 will highlight the important roles that paleontologists, geologists, and other Earth scientists play in building understanding of the complex interactions among the earth systems - atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere - over time.”

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

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 web site 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!

Literacy Initiative Boosts
Earth Science Awareness

To know Earth science, what do you need to know? The Earth Science Literacy Initiative (ESLI), funded by the National Science Foundation, has gathered and codified the underlying understandings of Earth sciences into a short brochure.

The guide outlines the “big ideas” and supporting concepts all Americans should know about Earth science. This literacy framework is becoming the foundation - along with similar documents from the ocean, atmosphere, and climate communities - of a larger geoscience Earth systems literacy effort.

A community effort representing current state-of-the-art research, the document has been written, evaluated, shaped, and revised by the top geoscientists. To learn more and download the guide as a PDF, see

Energy Lab Program
Open to Schools

American middle and high 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 listing of free equipment available through ERLE is updated periodically, as new equipment is identified. It is made available for a limited time on a first-received application, first-qualified basis.

The Department of Energy, an active Earth Science Week partner, invites schools to acquire equipment by reviewing the list at the ERLE web site ( and completing an electronic application form.

Prepare Now for Week of
Environmental Education

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), the nation’s largest environmental education event, held April 10-16, 2011, inspires environmental learning and stewardship. Focusing this year on the theme “Ocean Connections,” EE Week connects educators with environmental resources to promote K-12 students’ understanding of the environment.

The ocean covers nearly three quarters of our planet's surface, provides 70 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and houses about 20 percent of the known species on Earth, according to the event organizer, the National Environmental Education Foundation. The ocean also regulates climate and weather and provides food and energy resources for humans worldwide.

EE Week provides lesson plans and classroom resources on ocean science - with a special focus on the Gulf oil spill - 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 Efforts

NASA’s new programs for education include the inaugural Google Science Fair. Google has partnered with NASA, CERN, National Geographic, Scientific American, and the LEGO Group to create this new competition, open to students aged 13-18. The science fair will culminate in an event in July 2011 at Google headquarters in California, where finalists will compete for internships, scholarships, and prizes.

Submissions are due April 4, 2011. To sign up for free resource kits for your classroom or school, visit the Global Science fair website at

In addition, an upcoming NASA webinar will address common misconceptions, misinformation, and inaccuracies regarding climate change. The presentation will offer pedagogic strategies for handling various misconceptions in the college classroom. Registration is free but limited to 20 participants. For those who cannot attend, the presentation file, related references, and a webcast of the session will be available after the event. To learn more and register, visit

Apply by February 1
For AGI Fellowship

One week left! AGI is accepting applications for the 2011-2012 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellowship. The successful candidate will spend 12 months (starting September 2011) 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, 2011. Learn more at

EPA Offers Climate Change
Toolkit for Middle School

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a free collection of resources to enhance middle school students’ understanding of climate change impacts on the United States’ wildlife and ecosystems.

“Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators” contains case studies and activities based on climate science, environmental education, and stewardship information. The toolkit is available online at For more information, see

Discovery Earth Web Site
Tackles Hot Topics

The U.S. National Committee of International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) has teamed up with The Discovery Channel to launch the new Discovery Earth web site. IYPE is providing content for the web site’s “Earth Top 10” feature, including detailed information and stunning images, on a regular basis.

Topics covered so far include climate change, environmental preservation, earthquakes, ocean movement, acid rain, and extinct creatures - and more are coming up. Check out Discovery Earth at

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 47 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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