Earth Science Week Update February 2015

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 13, No. 2: February 2015

Independent Study Details
Earth Science Week Success
Earth Science Week succeeded in engaging education audiences and the public in geoscience experiences in 2014, according to an independent evaluation recently completed by PS International. Comparing participation last year and plans for the next year, 88 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing or maintaining level participation. That figure is up from 84 percent the previous year.
A large majority of participants (88 percent) once again said Earth Science Week offers opportunities for teaching and promoting Earth science that they wouldn't have otherwise. Participants commented on the "useful annual topics to focus on" and the way the "theme provides opportunities to explore new aspects of Earth Science."
Similarly, 91 percent said program resources and activities are "very" or "somewhat" important to educating students and others about Earth science. This figure is up from 86 percent last year. "Teachers really appreciate all the materials," remarked one participant.
Seventy-seven percent rated the program's overall usefulness as "excellent" or "good." When respondents were asked to rate 20 key items from the Earth Science Week 2014 Toolkit and the program website, all were rated "very useful" or "useful" by strong majorities of participants. To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2014 Highlights, coming soon at
NOAA Boosts Teaching
About Oceans, Atmosphere
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) promotes education about oceanic and atmospheric science - and not only during Earth Science Week. NOAA offers resources and opportunities for students and teachers all year long.
On the NOAA Education Resources site ( you'll find teaching tools and materials on oceans and coasts, climate, weather and atmosphere, marine life, freshwater, and other special topics. The "Water Cycle" page, for instance, offers multimedia resources, lessons and activities, real-world data, background information, and career profiles of water science professionals.
The portal likewise provides a wealth of resources on a wide variety of subjects. Whether you're looking for science-based news coverage of recent extreme weather events or a social networking link to reinforce learning activities, NOAA is your source for oceanic and atmospheric science education resources.
Esri Helps Teachers
Map Out Education
Looking for cutting-edge resources to help you explore the theme of "Visualizing Earth Systems" during Earth Science Week 2015? Leading the charge to incorporate GIS (geographic information system) technology and mapping software in Earth science education, Esri is one of the major organizational partners of Earth Science Week.
GIS technology - which can illuminate features such as local geology, watersheds, and roads - can require some training before it can be used effectively. That's why Esri offers instructor-led training classes as well as "virtual campus" web-based training courses. 
Instructor-led classes are held in small groups at Esri's training facilities worldwide, where attendees have access to knowledgeable staff and ample time to practice GIS skills. Virtual campus web-based training courses include software exercises, conceptual material, and instructional resources. For more information about training, go to To learn more about GIS and Esri, see
Energy Department Programs
Empowering Teachers
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), an Earth Science Week partner, provides learning opportunities for teachers and students at all levels. For example, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website offers classroom activities and materials for K-12 science instruction.
In "Geothermal Education," for example, online offerings include vivid infographics, lesson plans, energy literacy materials, and other educational resources (
With laboratories across the country, DOE scientists and instruments offer valuable resources. DOE programs for educators include the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, in which teachers work for a year in a congressional office or federal agency. See more on DOE programs for teachers and scientists ( The annual National Science Bowl ( tests students' science knowledge.
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 is the Teachers as Advocates Program (TAP). For more information on TAP, visit Teachers can take advantage of GSA's Teacher GeoVenture trips, offering field experiences in geologically dynamic locations. See to learn more.
OERB Provides Info on
Energy 'Career Paths'
Formed by industry leaders working in cooperation with state legislators, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) provides materials and services to improve the lives of Oklahomans and others through education and restoration.
Since its inception over 20 years ago, OERB has shared its exciting energy curricula and safety messages with more than one million Oklahoma students. OERB educational resources such as the "Career Paths" web page provide information on careers in the Earth sciences.
As in many other parts of the country, Oklahoma oil and natural gas producers are aggressively seeking qualified professionals - geologists, geophysicists, environmental specialists, and more. Learn more about the many professional careers in the petroleum industry nationwide (
Help NGWA Promote
Ground Water Awareness
Ground Water Awareness Week (March 8-14, 2015) will shed light on one of the world's most important resources - ground water. Ground water is essential to the health and well being of humanity and the environment, according to the National Ground Water Association.
To learn more about Ground Water Awareness Week, visit the Virtual Museum of Ground Water History ( or watch a "water well show" ( For additional educational activities and resources, create an account at
SSSA Offers Riches
Of Soil Science Education
Over six thousand members strong, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a scientific organization that aims to support geoscience teaching and learning about soils.
This AGI member society provides online educational resources tailored for teachers ( and for students ( Included are lessons, activities, fun facts, sites of interest organized by soil topic and grade level, and soil definitions for the novice soil scientist.
And you can visit the online version of "Dig It," an SSSA-sponsored exhibition on soil from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit includes interactive displays, hands-on-models, videos, and monoliths representing soils from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Check online for viewing times (
Study Plate Tectonics,
Rock Cycle Online
The Geological Society of London (GSL), an international Earth Science Week partner, offers a pair of online resources for learning about key geoscience topics. Electronic map-based resources are the focus of GSL's Plate Tectonics page ( In addition, a site is being launched to accompany GSL's Rock Cycle online module (
Founded in 1807, GSL is the oldest geological society in the world. Learn more about GSL, the United Kingdom's national society for geoscience, online (
Internship Offers Undergrad
Research Opportunity
Targeting young people with an interest in conducting research in the Earth or ocean sciences, Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Summer Intern Program offers students the opportunity to experience scientific research as an undergraduate. The program is open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have completed their junior or sophomore year in college with majors in Earth science, environmental science, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, or engineering. 
Students receive free housing and a stipend of $5,000 for this 10-week program. The application form must be submitted by March 15, 2015. For more information, 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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