Earth Science Week Update May 2017


American Geosciences Institute

Vol. 15, No. 5: May 2017


Plan Activities Now for Earth Science Week 2017

Don’t wait until fall to prepare for Earth Science Week 2017 (October 8-14)! Now is the 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 and Human Activity” - by preparing activities that help your students explore the geoscience heritage of their neighborhood, city, state, nation, and world. Start with the exciting classroom activities featured on the Earth Science Week website.

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

New Event Registry Heightens Your Visibility

Are you hosting an Earth Science Week 2017 event, such as an exhibit, tour, lecture, or open house? The new Earth Science Week Event Registry enables you to promote your event more effectively than ever.

To register your event, simply provide a few key details. Fill out the easy-to-use online form, and let the Earth Science Week team and the world know about your event.

Any registered event will be listed on Earth Science Week’s Events In Your Area and acknowledged in the Earth Science Week Highlights Report following the event.

Focusing on ‘Human Activity,’ Consider Geoheritage

While exploring this year’s Earth Science Week theme of “Earth and Human Activity,” consider the ways that people worldwide relatively recently have begun to recognize, designate, and conserve special places and natural resources that represent our rich geologic heritage, or “geoheritage.”

In October 2015, AGI and the National Park Service jointly published “America’s Geologic Heritage: An Invitation to Leadership,” which provides a detailed overview and stunning pictures of the nation’s geoheritage.

Also, EARTH Magazine, a top resource for the latest geoscience news, published “Geoheritage: Preserving Earth’s Legacy” in June 2015. The article provides a geoscientist’s perspective on the global phenomenon of geoheritage studies, education, and conservation.

Look to CLEAN for Climate, Energy Science

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Portal is designed to steward a major collection of climate and energy science educational resources and to support a community of professionals committed to improving climate and energy literacy. The three key components are:

Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy, CLEAN was launched in 2010 as a National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathways project. It is led by the science education expertise of TERC, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. As of 2012, CLEAN has been syndicated to NOAA's portal.

You’re an Earth Educator? Rendezvous With Peers

Taking part in the third annual Earth Educators’ Rendezvous on July 17-21, 2017, at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque? On the program website, you can learn how the event’s combination of workshops, posters, talks, round-table discussions, and plenary presentations is designed to help guide participants through a suite of interrelated challenges that are characteristic of Earth education in schools, colleges, and universities today.

The program is designed to appeal to everyone from instructors and graduate students attending their first Earth education-themed meeting to experienced STEM education researchers and administrators who want to better support students in their programs.

Among many options, participants can learn about new teaching approaches, discover opportunities to get involved in research programs, prepare for an academic career, or discuss how to approach teaching and learning challenges in their classroom. See the conference program for more.

NSTA Provides Links to Free Science Resources

Looking for teaching resources? Check out a page called “Freebies for Science Teachers” on the National Science Teachers Association website.

Updated periodically, this searchable “array of free resources for you and your classroom” frequently features online links to publications, CD-ROMs, DVDs, videos, kits, and other materials for Earth science education. For more, go online.

Power Up Education With Energy Resources

What is energy? Where does energy come from? How much energy do humans use? Free, interdisciplinary education materials and videos are available to answer important questions like these - and to foster a more energy literate nation.

AGI’s Center for Geoscience & Society has produced corresponding education materials, including videos in English and Spanish, student and teacher guides, a “quick start” guide to energy literacy, lesson connections, and guidance on aligning energy literacy lessons with the Next Generation Science Standards. Also, AGI provides links to many resources available through AGI member societies and partners.

Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education resources, available on the U.S. Department of Energy website, are available online. Please visit for information on and resources of the Center for Geoscience & Society.

Discover Geoheritage on National Fossil Day 2017

Exploring the past is in your future! The National Park Service and AGI are collaborating to kick off the eighth annual National Fossil Day during Earth Science Week 2017. On Wednesday, October 11, you and your students can participate in events and activities taking place across the country at parks, in classrooms, and online.

Ever look at a fossil and see into the past? Understand why paleontologists protect the locations where fossils are found? Know what fossils can tell you about climate change? National Fossil Day resources and activities help you answer these questions, celebrating the scientific and educational value of fossils, paleontology, and the importance of preserving fossils for future generations.

Look for fossil-themed activities and materials in the Earth Science Week 2017 Toolkit. And stay up to date on emerging resources and events through the National Fossil Day website. For instance, the program’s 2017 logo depicts a primitive group of fish known as heterostracans (“different shields”), which represent an order of early jawless fish that existed between the Early Silurian and the Late Devonian when they became extinct (about 358 million years ago). Check out National Fossil Day.

BLM Helps Schools Explore Solar Energy

Does the need for carbon-free renewable energy outweigh the potential risks to wildlife habitats, cultural and historical resources, and recreation areas? Middle school teachers can explore this question with their students through “Solar-Generated Electricity,” the latest teaching guide in the Classroom Investigation Series of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The unit describes how solar facilities on public lands work, examines the tradeoffs in detail, and illuminates the factors that affect decisions about where to build solar electricity plants. Each activity includes learning objectives and teacher preparation steps, background information, lesson procedures, adaptations to consider, assessment, and student handouts. Find the PDF online.

Visit Your Nearby National Wildlife Refuge

Want a direct encounter with geoheritage? Overlapping with most of Earth Science Week this year, National Wildlife Refuge Week is being held October 9-15, 2017. The event celebrates the richness of the 550 units that make up America’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

Whether you prefer to study Earth science firsthand, admire the fall colors, thrill to a sky full of migratory birds, explore a mountain trail, or learn about the cultural resources that are part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s conservation mission, you can find what you like at a National Wildlife Refuge.

Sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a longtime Earth Science Week partner, this week focuses on lands and waters where wildlife and habitats are under federal protection. For information and educational resources, see online. Got to the National Wildlife Refuge Locator’s map to find refuges near you.


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 online. To subscribe to this newsletter, visit online and submit your email address.