Earth Science Week Update April 2014

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 12, No. 4: April 2014


Plan Activities Now for
Earth Science Week 2014

Don’t wait until fall to prepare for Earth Science Week 2014 (October 12-18)! Now is the perfect time to plan your activities. Take this opportunity to make a wish list: How would you like your students to celebrate Earth Science Week?

You can promote this year’s theme - “Earth’s Connected Systems” - by preparing activities to help your students understand the interactions of the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Start with the exciting classroom activities featured on the Earth Science Week web site at

Leading up to the October celebration, you’ll see more and more Earth Science Week events, both local and nationwide, listed online at For more ideas, read about successful past events at or see recommendations on how to get involved at

Celebration Highlights
Report Now on Web

Last year’s Earth Science Week celebration was a phenomenal success. The program reached an estimated 50 million people. Individuals in all 50 states and over six countries participated. Over 197,000 people visited the program web site. New partners joined the effort, new resources were introduced, and news of the event was carried by outlets ranging from The New York Times, Scientific American, and National Geographic to NBC and CBS.

Please see the Earth Science Week 2013 Highlights Report for details on last year’s success stories - and ideas on how you can participate this year. To continually improve Earth Science Week, AGI annually tracks the program’s impact, compiles new clippings, and commissions an independent external evaluation. To view the full report on Earth Science Week 2013, please see

Contest Spurs Students to
Environmental Research

NASA satellites and other observing instruments are vital to monitoring environmental changes. The 2014 Thacher Environmental Research Contest, sponsored by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, challenges U.S. high school students to submit research projects focused on the use of remote sensing and analysis tools.

Students are asked to identify a U.S. protected area of interest and design a research project that identifies why the area is unique, why it significantly contributes to our society, how this area has changed over time, and ways remote sensing and geospatial tools can be used to monitor these environmental treasures. Individuals or teams may enter. Top projects will receive cash awards of up to $2,000.

Entries are due May 5. Participation in the contest offers a great way for students to celebrate the theme of Earth Science Week 2014: “Earth’s Connected Systems.” Learn more at or

NRCS Offers Resources
For Soil Education

The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) operates an Educational Resources page featuring a treasure trove of teaching materials dealing with natural resources - including backyard conservation lesson plans, a database of standardized information about plants, and links to agricultural education sites (

For example, check out NRCS’s soil education web site (, where teachers can dig up a treasury of resources designed for both science educators and K-12 students. Also, teachers can order the “Dig In! Hands-On Soil Investigations” book. Dig in when you’re ready!

Join Earth Science Week
At DC Festival, April 26-27

If you’ll be in Washington, D.C. later this month, you are invited to join the staff of Earth Science Week and other AGI geoscientists at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on April 26-27, 2014.

Once again, hundreds of leading science and engineering organizations will offer free events and presentations promoting awareness of science at the festival. There will be over 3,000 hands-on activities and more than 150 stage shows. While having fun, participants also can obtain information about scholarships, internships, jobs, and more. 

AGI, founder and organizer of Earth Science Week, will be one of many groups representing the Earth sciences at the festival’s Science Expo. For more information, see

IGES Earth Day Contest
Spurs Activity in April

The 2014 IGES Earth Day Photo & Essay Contest is underway! Students are encouraged to rediscover their world through the lens of a camera, taking note of dynamic changes occurring around them this month.

Get busy today! Students in grades 5-8 are invited to take a photo between April 14 and April 25, 2014. The photo should capture something changing in the natural environment - in their backyard or neighborhood, near their school or local park, or anywhere they happen to be. Students then should research and write an essay of up to 400 words answering a series of questions on changes taking place in the photo.

Top entries will receive Visa gift card awards of $150 for first place, $100 for second place, and $75 for third place, along with a photo book featuring the top 10 photos. For additional information, visit

Selected Earth Science
Kits on Sale for $6 Each

Earth Science Week participants know that the program provides educational toolkits perfect for leading instruction on timely topics like energy and climate. Five kits are now on sale for a limited time:

* Mapping Our World
* Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences
* Our Ever-Changing Earth (Earth Systems)
* Exploring Energy
* No Child Left Inside (Outdoor Activities)

Each kit contains dozens of items ranging from informational brochures and posters to activity booklets and disks. Select kits are on sale for $6.00 each. This price includes Library Rate shipping to U.S. addresses via the U.S. Postal Service, allowing 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Faster shipping services are available. Please contact AGI Publications for details and pricing by phone at 703-379-2480 or by email at Or go to to order online.

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AGI’s ‘Faces of Earth’
Series in HD on YouTube

AGI, the international organizer of Earth Science Week, has released its award-winning “Faces of Earth” series on YouTube in full High Definition to promote wider use in K-12 classrooms. From the cacophony that originated Earth 4.6 billion years ago to the changes that shape it today, “Faces of Earth” explores the many facets of planet Earth.

“Building the Planet,” episode one in the four-part series, travels back in time and strips away layers of Earth to witness the explosion that formed the planet. Earthquakes rumble, volcanoes explode, and lands transform as viewers explore the science behind plate tectonics in “Shaping the Planet,” the second episode. In “Assembling America,” the third installment, viewers explore how time and natural forces have shaped the United States. Finally, in “A Human World,” viewers learn how Earth has shaped human evolution and how humans, in turn, are shaping the world.

Experience spectacular imagery, exclusive interviews, and captivating commentary from distinguished geoscientists. See the series online (

Find New Ways to Ensure
‘No Child Left Inside’

Any day can be “No Child Left Inside” Day - a time for outdoor activities allowing young people to experience Earth science firsthand. And the NCLI Day Guide now offers lots of learning activities to help you do just that!

This free online guide provides everything you need to start planning your own NCLI Day event, including activities designed specifically for elementary, middle, and high school students. Begin now to plan your NCLI Day event for Tuesday, October 14, during Earth Science Week 2014 - when educators and young people nationwide will be wading into creeks, climbing hills, and searching the skies to learn Earth science - or plan your own NCLI Day whenever it’s most convenient for you!

Find AGI’s NCLI Day Guide on the Earth Science Week web site at Have a great NCLI Day!

View ‘Why Earth Science’
Online With Your Students

AGI’s “Why Earth Science” video is now available for free viewing online on YouTube and TeacherTube. For an exciting introduction to the geosciences, you can’t do better than this six-minute clip, featuring eye-popping cinematography and computer-animation highlights from AGI’s “Faces of Earth” mini-series on The Science Channel.

The video, which won a Silver Telly Award, is ideal for illustrating the importance of Earth science to not only students, but also local education decision makers who may be weighing the subject’s place in the your curriculum. To view the clip on YouTube, go to, or on TeacherTube, go to

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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