Earth Science Week Update September 2013

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 11, No. 9: September 2013


Earth Science Week Houston
Puts City Event in Spotlight

Earth Science Week 2013 will feature the first city-specific celebration of the national geoscience awareness campaign, “Earth Science Week Houston,” which takes place October 13-19, 2013.Houston educators and organizations are longtime supporters of Earth Science Week. AGI is collaborating with the Houston Geological Society (HGS) and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) to extend and deepen the reach of the program throughout the Houston area this year with special events, educational materials, online resources, and activities in schools and other settings.To support this celebration, AGI is donating an Earth Science Week 2013 Toolkit to each of HISD’s approximately 280 schools. Each kit contains dozens of study guides, posters, disks, and other resources for Earth science education, which school district officials are working with teachers to use in inspiring activities in the classroom.AGI also recently launched the Earth Science Week Houston web site ( to provide links to additional educational resources as well as events and contests for Houston students. For more information, visit the event site or HGS online (

Earth Science Week 2013
Coming Soon: Get Ready

Now is the time to make plans for Earth Science Week, taking place October 13-19, 2013. The 16th annual Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme “Mapping Our World” with a wide range of exciting activities, programs, and resources designed to promote awareness of the many exciting uses of maps and mapping technologies in the geosciences.Pitch in to teach young people about the importance of maps. Conduct activities described on the Earth Science Week web site at For more ideas, see recommendations at year’s event is shaping up to reach even more people than last year’s audience of over 50 million. For the past 16 years, AGI has organized Earth Science Week to foster public and professional awareness of the status of Earth science in education and society. To learn more, visit the event web site at

Map Your Course With an Earth Science Week Toolkit

Every year, Earth Science Week tackles a different topic in its toolkit of materials for educators. Choose the kit that best fits your instructional needs. Focusing on the theme “Mapping Our World,” the 2013 kit includes:* A 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
* The new Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
* National Park Service items on geologic maps of national parks
* NASA education materials on map technologies and resources
* A poster on careers in mapping and GIS from Esri
* A DVD of the Switch Energy Project documentary on energy
* A genuine field notebook from Rite in the Rain
* The Energy Outlook highlights report from ExxonMobil
* A poster on how GPS works from NOAA
* Energy4Me material on energy science
* A poster on minerals that make up our world
* A soil science poster from Soil Science Society of America
* A dinosaurs flyer from Bureau of Land Management
* Brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and morePast years’ kits address other topics: “Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences” (2012) targets careers. “Our Ever-Changing Earth” (2011) focuses on change processes. “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.Each kit contains materials to help you prepare for Earth Science Week (October 13-19, 2013) and teach Earth science all year long. For ordering, special shipping, bulk order discounts, and more information, visit

Only a Month Left to Enter!
Earth Science Week Contests

With entries due near the end of Earth Science Week - Friday, October 18 - science students and enthusiasts across the country are busy completing submissions for the Earth Science Week 2013 essay, visual arts, and photography contests. Send yours soon!The visual arts contest is titled “Making Maps Through the Ages.” Students in grades K-5 are encouraged to draw, paint, or create a poster. Artwork entries should be two-dimensional and no larger than 24-by-36 inches.Students in grades 6-9 may enter the essay contest: “How Geoscientists Use Maps.” Each one-page essay must be no longer than 300 words. Describe how geoscientists use maps to monitor interactions of Earth systems.The photo contest, open to all ages, focuses on ways that “Mapping My Community.” Earth scientists study natural processes to help make maps. In a photograph, show how maps are used in your community.The contests offer opportunities for students and the public to participate in the celebration, learn about Earth science, and compete for prizes. Each first-place winner receives $300 and a copy of AGI’s “Faces of Earth” DVD set. To learn more, visit

Explore ‘Big Ideas’ in Videos, Classroom Activities

AGI now offers award-winning videos and related classroom activities to help students, educators, and others explore the “big ideas” of Earth science during Earth Science Week 2013 (October 13-19) and all year long. New this year are 35 additional activities selected specifically to help educators teach about the core concepts of Earth science.Big Ideas videos are brief video 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 YouTube ( or TeacherTube ( The Earth Science Week web site provides related resources. Educators can find a total of more than 100 classroom activities online to help students build understanding of the “big ideas” (

'No Child Left Inside' Day Comes to Your Area

On the Tuesday of Earth Science Week, you can make sure there’s “No Child Left Inside” (NCLI). Dedicate a day to outdoor activities enabling young people to experience Earth science firsthand.To help, the NCLI Day Guide is now available in PDF format for easy printing and outdoor use. This free guide provides everything you need to start planning your own NCLI Day event, including 17 outdoor learning activities recommended for elementary, middle, and high school students.Plan your own NCLI Day event, where educators and young people can wade into ponds, climb hills, or search the skies to learn Earth science. Find the NCLI Day Guide, including the new PDF version, at Have a great NCLI Day!

Visit DC’s National Mall for National Fossil Day Event

Join paleontologists and park rangers for the fourth annual National Fossil Day event in Washington, D.C. The National Park Service and Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History are collaborating to host the National Fossil Day Celebration on the National Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.Maybe most exciting, the Smithsonian will unveil its newly acquired Tyrannosaurus rex fossilized dinosaur skeleton! In addition, there will be dozens of presentations and activities for all ages, including a Fossil Bison game and presentations showcasing the diversity of prehistoric life. On hand will be paleontologists and geologists from the National Park Service, the American Geosciences Institute, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Science Foundation, and Maryland Dinosaur Park.The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please see

Prepare for Fifth Annual Women in Geosciences Day

Please join the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG), an AGI member society, in celebrating the fifth annual Women in the Geosciences Day - Thursday, October 17 - during Earth Science Week 2013! Women in the Geosciences Day offers you a chance to share the excitement and advantages of geoscience careers with women of all ages, especially those early in their education.What can you do? If you’re an educator, invite a female geoscientist to speak in your classroom or institution. If you’re a female geoscientist, visit a local school or volunteer at a science center. Organize a scout event, lead a 4H field trip, or hold a special “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” focusing on the geoscience workplace. No matter who you are, you can help show young women what it means to be a geoscientist.Watch for additional information online in the coming weeks at Earth Science Week ( and AWG (, where you can also find information on AWG’s scholarships for women pursuing geosciences education and careers as well as support for female geoscientist lecturers in classrooms. Have a great Women in the Geosciences Day!

How to Put Your Local
Event On the Map - Online
************************** **

If you’re hosting an event for the public during Earth Science Week 2013 (October 13-19), let people know about it! The best way is to post your event details on “Events in Your Area” ( This web page provides information on events taking place through program partners in each state.In addition, your event can be listed in “Earth Science Organizations” (, an online map that offers clickable links to Earth Science Week events taking place at parks, museums, science and technology centers, university geology departments, local geological societies, and other nearby locations. Anyone can find the map online, click on a nearby location, read a brief description - and even get driving directions!To post your event, please contact AGI at Be sure to provide a brief description of the event, time and date, street address, phone number, email address, and URL. We’ll be happy to direct Earth Science Week participants to your event!

Shine a Media Spotlight
On Your Great Activities

Energy! Climate! Jobs! Natural disasters! Earth science is breaking news. Educators can take advantage of journalists’ interest in geoscience to promote awareness of local Earth Science Week activities. Here are five effective strategies:

  • Plan a special event to draw attention to your Earth Science Week activities. Conduct an investigation or experiment, invite a prominent geoscientist to talk with students, host a ceremony or a banquet, stage an event with a nearby museum or science center, give awards to volunteers, or honor geoscience enthusiasts who make a difference.
  • Prepare a press release to alert the media about your Earth Science Week activities. Answer important questions, such as who, what, where, when, and why. Include data and quotes from key players. Provide contact information for followup. Print the release on your letterhead and fax it to editors and reporters at least three days before the event.
  • Be persistent in pitching your story to local news organizations. Besides noting the “hook” of Earth Science Week, show how your activities address issues that are urgent, timely, and relevant to the community. Write a brief, compelling query letter to the appropriate editor at each media outlet. Follow up with a phone call and email.
  • Write letters to the editor for print in local newspapers and magazines. You might respond to a recent geoscience-related article with a letter to the editor. If possible, schedule a meeting with the editorial board. Or instead of a letter, perhaps write an opinion editorial, or “op-ed,” to cite concerns and recommend solutions.
  • Use available Earth Science Week materials in promoting awareness. In the Earth Science Week Toolkit and on the event web site are print and electronic materials - poster, calendar, logo, and more - that you can use to “brand” your activity. Link your local activity to the larger national celebration to emphasize its significance. For more ideas, see


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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