Earth Science Week Update February 2016

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 14, No. 2: February 2016

* Independent Study Details Earth Science Week Success
* Esri Helps Teachers Map Out Education
* Register Now for DOE's Geothermal Design Challenge
* NOAA Boosts Teaching About Oceans, Atmosphere
* Apply for Grant for Mentoring and Travel
* Examine Natural Systems in 'Windows on Earth'
* Energy Department Programs Empowering Teachers
* Help NGWA Promote Groundwater Awareness
* SSSA Offers Riches of Soil Science Education
* Study Plate Tectonics, Rock Cycle Online at GSL

Independent Study Details
Earth Science Week Success

Earth Science Week succeeded in engaging education audiences and the public in geoscience experiences in 2015, according to an independent evaluation recently completed by PS International. Comparing participation last year and plans for the next year, 89 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing or maintaining level participation.

A large majority of participants (86 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 "exceptional materials" and the way Earth science "just fits in."

Similarly, 84 percent said program resources and activities are "very" or "somewhat" important to educating students and others about Earth science. "The resources are always up-to-date and pertinent," remarked one participant.

Seventy-one 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 2015 Toolkit, all were rated "very useful" or "useful" by strong majorities of participants. Online offerings received similarly high marks. To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2015 Highlights, coming soon at .

Esri Helps Teachers
Map Out Education

Looking for cutting-edge resources to help you explore the theme of "Our Shared Geoheritage" during Earth Science Week 2016? 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 .

Register Now for DOE's
Geothermal Design Challenge

Through its new Geothermal Design Challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites young people to design an infographic that can illustrate how geothermal energy is clean, safe, reliable, and renewable.

DOE's Geothermal Technologies Office, in partnership with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and the Idaho National Lab, urges high school and university (undergraduate and graduate) teams to explore the future of geothermal energy and literally draw the heat beneath your feet.

U.S. citizens, working in teams of two to three members, are encouraged to research data, interpret information, and design an infographic that tells a compelling story about the future of geothermal energy. Winning teams in each category will receive $2,500. The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 and a trip to the Geothermal Resource Council 40th Annual Meeting on October 23-26, 2016, in Sacramento, California.

Register for the competition today. The deadline to submit an infographic is March 1, 2016. For more details, please visit .

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, all part of our shared geoscience heritage. 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.

Apply for Grant for
Mentoring and Travel
The Geological Society of America (GSA), a longtime Earth Science Week partner, is accepting applications for a mentoring and travel grant program to the 35th International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, August 27-September 4, 2016.

Students and early career scientists within seven years of receiving their Ph.D. are welcome to apply. To be eligible, you must be a resident or citizen of the United States or enrolled or employed at a U.S. institution. Each award is anticipated to be a maximum of $3,500.
In addition to an online resume, requirements include a cover letter addressing your reasons for attending the meeting and a prioritized budget of expenses, proof of abstract submission and a copy of the submitted abstract, and two letters of reference. This program is organized in collaboration with the GSA Foundation, the U.S. National Committee for Geological Sciences (of the National Academy of Sciences), and AGI.

The application deadline is February 20, 2016. To apply, please visit .

Examine Natural Systems
In 'Windows on Earth'

Science teachers and students might want to gaze through "Windows on Earth," an online educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. Each day, astronauts take hundreds of photos of "our shared geoheritage" for science research, education, and public outreach.

This web site provides free public access to virtually all of these photos, updated at least weekly. The site is operated by TERC, an educational non-profit, in collaboration with the Association of Space Explorers (the professional association of flown astronauts and cosmonauts), the Virtual High School, and CASIS (Center for Advancement of Science in Space). Technical support is provided by NASA's Crew Earth Observation Program.

Windows on Earth also operates software on the International Space Station, as a window-side aide to help astronauts identify priority targets for photography. The images help show Earth from a global perspective. All images are in the public domain, credited to NASA. Visit .

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.

Help NGWA Promote
Groundwater Awareness

National Groundwater Awareness Week (March 6-12, 2016) 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 National Groundwater Awareness Week, visit the Virtual Museum of Ground Water History at . For additional educational activities and resources, visit .

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 at GSL

The Geological Society of London (GSL) - an international Earth Science Week partner and one of the most longstanding authorities on our planet's geoheritage - 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 at . In addition, a site recently has been launched to accompany GSL's Rock Cycle online module at .

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 at .

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 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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