Earth Science Week Update November 2016

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 14, No. 11: November 2016


Earth Science Week 2016
A Global Success

Exact figures are still being counted, but it is estimated that once again more than 50 million people gained a new awareness of the geosciences through the 19th annual Earth Science Week last month. The event celebrated the theme "Our Shared Geoheritage" by promoting awareness of the many ways that science helps us understand, appreciate, and make the most of our geoscience heritage, or, as it is commonly known worldwide, "geoheritage."

Events ranged from students conducting classroom science projects to activities at science centers and museums on special Focus Days during the week. National Fossil Day, October 12, reached millions with paleontology activities and resources. Geoscience for Everyone Day enabled geoscientists to share the excitement of their careers with communities underrepresented in the field. And the fifth annual Geologic Map Day engaged students in learning about the vital uses of geologic maps.

In addition, Citywide Celebrations in Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., Houston, and Denver served as major centers of public awareness activities. These events both extended and deepened the reach of the campaign, often with special receptions, events, educational materials, online resources, and activities. To support these celebrations, AGI donated hundreds of Earth Science Week Toolkits and additional materials to schools in the cities' public school systems.

 If you conducted a special activity to celebrate Earth Science Week, please let us know. Your activity will be featured in the Earth Science Week 2016 Highlights Report, which will be posted online and used to help secure support for the program in the future. Email information, news clips, and images to

Earth Science Week Contest
Winners Announced

Sophia Findley of Kapolei, Hawaii, won first place in the Earth Science Week 2016 visual arts contest with a creative and colorful drawing of Diamond Head Volcano, an example of geoheritage near where she lives. Finalists were David De Costa, Jenna Eutsey Shrish Karthikeyan, and Taylor Redmond. Students in grades K-5 made two-dimensional artworks illustrating the theme "Seeing Earth Heritage."

Lily Wolfe of San Carlos, California, won first place in the photo contest with her image of seaside geology along with underwater life. Finalists were Charles Carrigan, Calder Laidlaw, Katy Sprinkle, and Vineela Vandanapu. Submissions illustrated the theme "Our Heritage in Earth Systems."

Logan Flanagan of Virginia Beach, Virginia, won first place in the essay contest with his paper on "An Untouched World." Finalists were Lalitha Aiyar, Isabella Fernandez, Emma Hutchinson, and Brent Wang. Students in grades 6-9 wrote essays of up to 300 words addressing this year's theme, "Sharing and Caring for Our Geoheritage."

Congratulations to the winners, finalists, and hundreds of students and others who entered. Each first-place winner receives $300 and a "Geoscience Handbook." Entries submitted by winners and finalists are posted online.

'One Shared Place'
Competition Winners Shine

Earth Science Week's organizer is pleased to announce the first-ever winners of its new "One Shared Place" video contest. AGI has named four winners from among the teams of educators and students invited to submit a 30- to 90-second original video informing viewers about an outdoor place that is special in terms of geoheritage and geoscience (alphabetically):

"Deal Island" - Educator Kolby Noble and students Ashlynn Merrit, Matthew Price, Lasadia Skelley, Dawson Daniels, Nathan Bradford, Jazmine White, Madison Mechalske, Ethan Scott, Alyssa Moisan, Kenny Stachawski, and Paige Barnes (Deal Island, MD).

"Rock Hard" - Educator Margaret Salter and students Nick Urbanic, Hayes Densman, Savannah Urbanic, and Drake Densman (Milton, FL).

"The Science Geeks" - Educator Karen Folleras and students Audrey Chang, Emilia Lazarova, Gousikaa Suresh, and Ashlyn Laubach (Colorado Springs, CO).

"Science Superbs" - Educator Karen Folleras and students Prarthana Mathad, Peter Richardson, Ashton Holmes, Beckett Shanon, Aashay Deshpande, and Lucian Ensell (Colorado Springs, CO).

View winning videos and read descriptions on the One Shared Place website, along with information about the other finalist teams. Winning videos also can be seen on the AGI YouTube page.

Congratulations to the winners and others who entered. Each winning team received a cash prize. A contest overview is provided in a brief One Shared Place Introduction video available via social media and YouTube.

Check Out Center for
Geoscience and Society

AGI's Center for Geoscience and Society aims to enhance geoscience awareness across all sectors of society. The Center accomplishes this by generating new approaches to building geoscience knowledge, engaging the widest possible range of stakeholders, and creatively promoting existing and new resources and programs. Explore the website's two main components:

The Education Resources Network (ERN) offers access to geoscience resources from a variety of providers. The goal is to provide visitors with the widest possible collection of curricula, classroom activities, teacher professional development opportunities, science education standards, virtual field trips, teaching ancillaries and much more. Visitors are encouraged to review this collection, suggest additional resources, and indicate when items are out of date or problematic for other reasons.

The Critical Issues Program provides a portal to decision-relevant, impartial geoscience information. By aggregating material from multiple organizations in one place, the Critical Issues website makes it easier for users to find comprehensive information from across the geosciences. Critical Issues features easy-to-digest peer-reviewed summaries, answers to common questions, and links to more detailed resources.

Learn more about the Center online.


National Parks' Web Rangers
Explore Geoscience

The National Park Service, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, wants you to become a Web Ranger! The interactive Web Ranger program helps people of all ages learn about the national parks. For example, enter White Sands National Monument in New Mexico from your desktop and identify animal tracks left in the 275 square miles of gypsum dunes that give the park its name.

"Rock Around the Park," another geoscience activity for Web Rangers, shows how erosion has shaped the landscapes of national parks such as Arches National Park in Utah and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Or you can explore over 220 national parks with fossils, including dinosaur fossils, including ones in your area. Learn about what dinosaurs munched on millions of years ago in "Dino Diets."

Find all this and more on the Web Rangers site. Play more than 50 games, invent a Web Ranger name, create a personalized ranger badge, and start learning about Earth science in the national parks online today!


Earth Science Week
Posting on Twitter

For all kinds of geoscience news, resources, and opportunities, follow Earth Science Week on Twitter! To sign up for instant updates from Earth Science Week, please log-in to your Twitter account and follow us on @earthsciweek.

If you don't have a Twitter account, you can sign-up on Twitter. All you need is your name and email address to get started!

AGI's Workforce Program
Illuminates Geoscience

AGI, organizer of Earth Science Week, operates a Workforce Program that collects and publishes geoscience workforce data, supports students focusing on the geosciences, supports university-level geoscience departments, and offers geoscience career information.

Since 1955, AGI has collected data about the human resources of the U.S. geoscience community. The central component of this effort has been the ongoing Directory of Geoscience Departments publication, now in its 50th edition. Additionally, AGI has collected data on the supply and demand of geoscientists, and works with other organizations and government agencies to ensure that the health of the profession is understood.

AGI's outreach efforts focus on not only helping students make a well-informed decision about studying the geosciences, but today has expanded in programs to both recruit top quality students to the geosciences as well as to prepare current students for entering the workforce as a geoscience professional.

The Workforce Program has a long history of supporting geoscience departments both in the U.S. and around the world. Whether it's providing critical data on enrollments and degrees, comprehensive information about faculty, or collaborating with AGI member societies like AGU on hosting webinars on critical issues for department chairs, AGI recognizes that a strong geoscience academic community is the key to a strong profession.

AGI also provides a wealth of information on careers in the geosciences for the public, educators, and interested students. You are invited to explore the diverse career pathways of geoscientists and find your way towards making a difference. Find out more online.

Cool Online Resource
Available from NASA

NASA has a new online science resource for teachers and students to help bring Earth, the solar system, and the universe into their schools and homes. Called NASA Wavelength, the site features hundreds of resources organized by topic and audience level from elementary to college, and out-of-school programs that span the extent of NASA science.

Educators at all levels can find educational resources through information on standards, subjects, keywords, and other details, such as learning time required to carry out a lesson or an activity, cost of materials and more.

Teachers can identify resources relevant to specific themes and current events, such as lessons dealing with NASA's Curiosity rover or using Earth science resources. For access to NASA Wavelength, visit online. Or learn more about NASA education programs.

Answering the Question:
Why Earth Science?

AGI's "Why Earth Science?" brochure promotes awareness of the importance of Earth science in K-12 education. In clear, concise language, this publication explains to students why they should study this significant discipline.

The brochure is available in large quantities while supplies last in both English and Spanish. If you're a science teacher or guidance counselor who would like to share this publication with students, request your free copies now. "Why Earth Science?" explains the importance of Earth science education for success in school, careers, informed decision-making, and civic engagement.

To view the brochure (also available for download), visit online. To request 50 or more print copies, email your request and address to


Earth Science Week Toolkit
A Great Holiday Gift

Looking for a gift for an Earth science teacher or geoscientist friend? The Earth Science Week Toolkit provides dozens of materials - from a calendar to posters and learning activities - that can be used all through the year!

Focusing on the theme "Our Shared Geoheritage," the 2016 kit includes:

  • 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
  • New Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
  • NASA DVD and material on Earth observation, energy, and more
  • National Park Service posters on geologic and air resources
  • Ecology DVD and more from Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • UNAVCO ruler on Earth's shape, gravity, and rotation
  • Mining, exploration, and reclamation resources from SME
  • Material on energy science from Student Energy
  • AmericaView Memory Game poster (Earth Observation Day)
  • Exploring Earth and Space coloring book by AGU
  • Geologic timescale bookmark from AIPG
  • Dinosaur worksheet from the Bureau of Land Management
  • Esri flyer on Topography and Our National Heritage
  • Geologic Map Day poster with geologic mapping activity
  • Climate worksheet from American Meteorological Society
  • Brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and more

For ordering, special shipping, bulk order discounts, and more, visit online or phone AGI Publications at 703-379-2480.