Earth Science Week Update November 2017


American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 15, No. 11: November 2017


Earth Science Week 2017 an Unparalleled Success

Exact figures are still being tallied, but it is estimated that once again more than 50 million people gained a new awareness of the geosciences through the 20th annual Earth Science Week last month. The event celebrated the theme "Earth and Human Activity" by promoting awareness of what geoscience tells us about human interaction with the planet's natural systems and processes. New program offerings marked the special anniversary.

Earth Science Week 2017 made some noise about geoscience with the help of National Public Radio's popular call-in talk show, Science Friday. Award-winning host Ira Flatow kicked off a Science Friday Science Club that invited listeners to share their favorite rocks online in a Neat Rock Challenge. Throughout October, the Science Club connected participants with informative articles, scientific expertise, and a webinar on educational explorations of rock collections.

A major focus of Earth Science Week was the eighth annual National Fossil Day. AGI joined the National Park Service in celebrating on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. AGI educated and entertained visitors with a greenscreen-equipped "Paleontology Play Space" photo booth, funded by the Paleontological Society. Attendees got their pictures taken virtually in the jaws of dinosaur skeleton fossils and other fantastic paleontological settings. In addition, Earth Science Week, in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey, celebrated Geologic Map Day with a "Geologic Open House" at Great Falls Park in Virginia.

Earth Science Week provided education materials and conducted geoscience demonstrations for visitors to Energy Day festivals in Houston and Denver. In addition, Earth Science Week Citywide Celebrations in those urban centers, as well as in Washington, D.C., benefited from the donation of hundreds of Earth Science Week Toolkits to schools.

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 2017 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 staff.

Earth Science Week Contest Winners Announced

David De Costa of Alexandria, Virginia, won first place in the visual arts contest with a creative and colorful drawing of earth, water, air, and living things. Finalists were Ian Lee, Vinuth Sumanasiri, Daniel Chia, and Pranavi Chatrathi. Students in grades K-5 made two-dimensional artworks illustrating the theme "People and the Planet."

Roxie Khalili of Foster City, California, won first place in the photo contest with an image of human-built infrastructure surrounding the lagoon and its inhabitants. Finalists were Taylor Russon, Andrew DePriest, Jill Holz, and Harrison Cho. Submissions illustrated the theme "Earth and Human Activity Here."

Tracy Peucker of Virginia Beach, Virginia, won first place in the essay contest with a paper on "The Effect of Geosciences on Landslide Prevention." Finalists were Ellie Kain-Kuzinewski, Hannah Shin, Madeline Marous, and Ryder Robins. Students in grades 6-9 wrote essays of up to 300 words addressing this year's theme, "Human Interaction With Earth Systems."

Sophi Schneider won first place in the video contest with her video on "Our Beautiful Earth." Finalists were Tahtinen's Firsties and Kolby Noble. Individuals and teams created brief, original videos that tell viewers how people affect Earth systems, or how Earth systems affect people, through "Earth Connections" in their part of the world.

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.

Teacher Fellow Program Targets Geo Educators

Applications are open for the 2018 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow program. This program is a professional development opportunity that recognizes current pre-K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators who demonstrate excellence in geographic education.

The 2018 program will accept up to 40 Fellows, hosted aboard NG Explorer, NG Endeavour II, and NG Sea Lion in the Arctic, Antarctica, Galapagos, and Southeast Alaska. Teachers from all 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools are eligible to apply.

The application deadline is January 5, 2018. For more information, please see the program website.

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 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 here. 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.

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. To learn more about NASA education programs, see the website.

Answering the Question: Why Earth Science?

AGI's "Why Earth Science?" virtual 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 virtual brochure is offered in both English and Spanish. If you're a science teacher or guidance counselor who would like to share this publication with students, go online now.

"Why Earth Science?" explains the importance of Earth science education for success in school, careers, informed decision-making, and civic engagement. To view or download the virtual brochure, visit here.

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 "Earth and Human Activity," the Earth Science Week 2017 Toolkit includes:

  • 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
  • New Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
  • NASA materials on Earth science and LandSat images
  • National Park Service posters on glaciers, fossils, and clean air
  • Geologic Map Day poster dealing with karst and sinkholes
  • Mineral Education Coalition's "What's In My Toothpaste" game
  • Association of American Geographers GeoMentors flyer
  • Bureau of Land Management dinosaur coloring page
  • CZO-sponsored The Earth Scientist newsletter
  • AmericaView board game using satellite imagery
  • Soil Science Society of America magnetic bookmark
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute posters on the biosphere
  • UNAVCO Tectonic Motions of Alaska poster
  • Switch Energy Project information on video resources
  • National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA postcard
  • Material on GSA's EarthCache in Education program
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service information on soils
  • CLEAN, AIPG, IRIS, NCKRI, Flyover Country information
  • Brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, postcards, and more

Under a new price structure, copies of the toolkit are free and available for the cost of shipping and handling ($8.50 for the first kit, $2.25 for each additional kit in the United States). For ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more, visit online or phone AGI Publications at 703-379-2480.

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.