Earth Science Week Update November 2011

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 9, No. 11: November 2011


Earth Science Week 2011
A Worldwide Success

While figures are still being tallied, it is estimated that over 45 million people gained a new awareness of the geosciences through the 14th annual Earth Science Week ( last month. The event celebrated the theme “Our Ever-Changing Earth” by promoting scientific understanding of the ways Earth systems - the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere - interact to produce change.

Events ranged from classes conducting playground science projects to activities at USGS field stations, NASA facilities, and National Parks. Students explored geoscience outdoors on No Child Left Inside Day, October 11. Women in the Geosciences Day, October 13, enabled professional geoscientists to share the excitement of their careers with young women. And the second annual National Fossil Day, October 12, reached millions with paleontology activities and resources (

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 2011 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

Kristine Zheng of Ann Arbor, Michigan, won first place in the visual arts contest with a colorful drawing of planetary change taking place in the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Finalists were Jahow Yu, Zaina Tarafder, Hillary V. Constanza Barrientos, and Bhavya Sethi. Students in grades K-5 made two-dimensional artworks illustrating the theme “A World of Change in My Community.”

Amanda Hackett of Virginia Beach, Virginia, won first place in the essay contest with her writing about the changes undergone by pyrite and other facets of interacting Earth systems. Finalists were Marika Livingston, Annie Fick, Marcus Weeks, and Corvyn Kusuma. Students in grades 6-9 wrote essays of up to 300 words addressing this year’s theme, “How Change Shapes Our Planet.”

Susan Tate of Montague, Michigan, won first place in the photo contest with her image of people monitoring a wind storm on the shore of Lake Michigan. Finalists were Patricia delli Vernneri, Jonathan T. Canfield, Gurneet Kaur Chhabra, and Claire Kobold-Vettraino. Submissions illustrated the theme “Picturing Our Ever-Changing Earth.”

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

Give Your Support for
Earth Science Week

At a time of public concern about energy, climate, and natural disasters, the importance of Earth science education is growing. Earth Science Week plays a leading role as the geoscience community’s premier public awareness campaign. While much of the program’s budget is generated from grants, individual donations represent a significant source of support.

Your tax-deductible contribution can make a big impact. AGI’s online donation form ( makes giving easy. On the form, just be sure to check the box to ensure your donation is applied to Earth Science Week. Thank you for your support of the geosciences!

Earth Science ‘Big Ideas’
Now on TeacherTube

TeacherTube now features free AGI videos to help students, educators, and others explore the “big ideas” of Earth science. Previously available only on YouTube, these TeacherTube videos are supplemented by additional electronic educational resources including related classroom activities.

Big Ideas videos are brief clips that bring to life the big ideas of Earth science - the nine core concepts that everyone should know. The Earth Science Literacy Initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, has codified these underlying understandings of Earth science which form the basis of the Big Ideas videos.

View the Big Ideas videos on TeacherTube ( Big Ideas videos also appear on a DVD included in the Earth Science Week 2011 Toolkit (

The Earth Science Week web site provides related resources. Educators can find dozens of classroom activities to help students build understanding of the “big ideas” online (


Today Is GIS Day:
Celebrate With Esri

GIS Day - November 16 - is raising geographic awareness throughout our world. The event provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that make a difference in society.

From Aruba to Hong Kong, GIS Day 2011 events are scheduled to be held in 48 states and 66 countries. Participation is easy and can be as simple as making a presentation at a school, hosting an open house, or holding a user group meeting.

The GIS Day web site ( offers information and resources tailored for GIS professionals, educators, and students. Many free materials are available. Activities for young people are organized by grade level.

Esri, a GIS Day sponsor and longtime Earth Science Week partner, also offers a wealth of related educational resources. Esri provides instructor-led training classes as well as “virtual campus” web-based training courses. For information on training, go to To learn about GIS and Esri, see

National Parks’ Web Rangers
Explore Geoscience

The National Park Service, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, wants you to become a Web Ranger! The interactive Web Ranger program helps people of all ages learn about the national parks. For example, enter White Sands National Monument in New Mexico from your desktop and identify animal tracks left in the 275 square miles of gypsum dunes that give the park its name.

“Rock Around the Park,” another geoscience activity for Web Rangers, shows how erosion has shaped the landscapes of national parks such as Arches National Park in Utah and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Or you can explore over 220 national parks with fossils, including dinosaur fossils. Learn about what dinosaurs munched on millions of years ago in “Dino Diets.”

Find all this and more on the Web Rangers site. Play more than 50 games, invent a Web Ranger name, create a personalized ranger badge, and start learning about Earth science in the national parks at today!

Earth Science Week
Is Now on Twitter

For all kinds of geoscience news, resources, and opportunities, follow Earth Science Week on Twitter! To sign up for instant updates from Earth Science Week, please log-in to your Twitter account and follow us on @earthsciweek.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can sign-up on All you need is your name and email address to get started!

Get Benefits, Become an
Earth Science Week Fan

Earth Science Week now reaches a whole new audience through Facebook, the Internet’s most popular social networking site. Facebook enabled us to connect geoscience educators, students, and others with people who work, study, and live around them. Now we’re taking that group to a new level.

AGI recently launched an Earth Science Week Fan Page on Facebook. When you become an Earth Science Week Fan, you instantly gain access to geoscience videos, begin receiving important updates and information, and help spread the word about Earth Science Week.

You can join the group by creating or using your own Facebook account. To become an Earth Science Week Fan, go to

Summer Course to Teach
‘All About Mining’

Curious about mining? The Colorado Mining Association Education Foundation spread the word about an exciting course coming up next summer, titled “All About Mining: Total Concept of the Mining Industry.”

The course at the Colorado School of Mines is designed to provide K-12 teachers of all disciplines, administrators, counselors, and librarians with an overview of all phases of the minerals, aggregates, industrial minerals, and solid fuels industries. Ten half-days of classroom instruction are supported with a one-day geology trip plus eight full days of field trips to operating mines and associated plants. Some financial assistance is available for non-Colorado applicants who apply before April 1. Six hours of licensure/recertification credit are awarded upon completion of the course.
See to apply. Contact Dan Witkowsky, course coordinator, at for more information.

Earth Science Week Toolkit
A Great Holiday Gift

Looking for a gift for a geoscience educator or enthusiast friend? The Earth Science Week Toolkit provides dozens of materials - from computer disks to posters and learning activities - that can be used all through the year!

Choose the kit that best fits your needs. Focusing on the theme “Our Ever-Changing Earth,” the 2011 kit includes:

* A 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
* The new Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
* A “Big Ideas of Earth Science” DVD linked to online activities
* National Park Service items on fossils, air, and geologic heritage
* NASA education resources examining Earth from space
* A GIS-in-science-education resource from ESRI
* A poster by SPE on renewable and nonrenewable energy
* A genuine field notebook from Rite in the Rain
* Brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and more

Still available for a limited time, past years’ kits address other topics: “Exploring Energy” (2010) deals with energy science. “Understanding Climate” (2009) covers climate science. “No Child Left inside” (2008) features materials designed to help young people explore the geosciences outdoors. For ordering, special shipping, bulk order discounts, and more information, visit

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 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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