Earth Science Week Update January 2012

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 10, No. 1: January 2012


Earth Science Week 2012:
‘Discovering Careers’

AGI is pleased to announce that the theme of Earth Science Week 2012 will be “Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences.” This year’s event will boost awareness about the geosciences and the many exciting career and job opportunities in the field.

Earth Science Week 2012 materials and activities will engage young people and others in learning how geoscientists gather and interpret data about the Earth and other planets. Through careers in geology, geophysics, oceanography, hydrology, paleontology, Earth science education, and many other fields, they enhance our understanding of Earth processes and improve the quality of human life.

“Earth Science Week provides a great chance for teachers and guidance counselors to spread the word to students and parents about geoscience careers,” says Ann Benbow, AGI’s Director of Education and Outreach. "With over 150,000 positions expected to open in the next decade, opportunities for building an exciting and meaningful career in the geosciences have never been better, even in this tough economy," says Christopher M. Keane, head of AGI's Geoscience Workforce Program.

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, NASA, the National Park Service, ExxonMobil, Esri, and other major geoscience groups. To learn more, go to

Independent Study Details
Earth Science Week Success

Earth Science Week participation improved in 2011, not only in sheer numbers - a documented 48 million people, more than ever before, gained awareness through activities, media coverage, and the Internet - but also in 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. “Very cool stuff,” commented one respondent. “I plan on using more of the resources next year.” While comments were overwhelmingly positive, some indicated that participation was limited by respondents’ budgetary constraints.

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. “The ESW packet provides content and resources that we would normally not be able to provide,” said one.

Similarly, 86 percent said program resources and activities are very or somewhat important to educating students and others about Earth science. “Keeps us up-to-date, and teachers appreciate a new resource,” a respondent remarked.

Most respondents find Earth Science Week and related resources highly useful, with 75 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 2011 Highlights, coming soon at

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, videos, Spanish-language 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!

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

Apply by February 1 for
Congressional Fellowship

One week left! AGI is accepting applications for the 2012-2013 William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellowship. The successful candidate will spend 12 months (starting September 2012) 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, 2012. Learn more at

Energy Lab Program
Open to Secondary Schools

American middle and high schools are now eligible to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Laboratory Equipment Donation Program (LEDP) 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 LEDP 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 and completing an electronic application at the LEDP web site (

AGU Resources Advance
Education and Outreach

The American Geophysical Union (AGU), an AGI member society dedicated to the furtherance of the geophysical sciences, offers an array of opportunities exposing students, teachers, and life-long learners to the freshest, most accurate scientific knowledge and the excitement of discovery.

This is accomplished through education- and career-focused events at annual AGU meetings, professional development workshops for teachers, special programs for pre-college and post-secondary students, awards for science educators, and printed and electronic resources. To learn more about AGU’s education and public outreach efforts, please visit online.

Contest Spurs Students to
Environmental Research

From the Gulf oil spill to the decline of Arctic sea ice, NASA satellites and other observing instruments have proved crucial in monitoring environmental changes. The 2012 Thacher Environmental Research Contest, sponsored by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, challenges high school students to conduct innovative research on our changing planet using the latest geospatial tools and data.

Top projects will receive cash awards of $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place. Individuals or teams of up to four students may enter. In addition to the student prizes, teachers or adult coaches of winning students will receive $200 gift cards. 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: A Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators” contains case studies, activities, and videos based on climate science, environmental education, and stewardship information. The toolkit is available online at For more information, see

GSA Geoscientists
Reach Out to Educators

Teachers and students alike can learn a lot from the Geological Society of America (GSA), an AGI member society and Earth Science Week partner. GSA is an organization of geoscientists in industry, government, business, and academia who are committed to the ongoing professional growth of Earth scientists.

One of GSA’s major education and outreach programs, the Teacher Advocate Program (TAP), provides “Explore Geoscience” CD-ROMs, lesson plans, educational materials, and resource links for Earth science teachers. For more information on TAP, visit Teachers also can take advantage of GSA’s Teacher GeoVenture trips, teacher workshops, and Distinguished Earth Science Teacher in Residence. GSA also offers a number of teacher awards and fellowships. See to learn more.

Students are encouraged to apply for GSA’s GeoCorps America program, which works with the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management to place young geoscientists in geoscience-related positions at national parks. Find out more at

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 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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