Earth Science Week Update September 2017


American Geosciences Institute

Vol. 15, No. 9: September 2017


Earth Science Week 2017 Coming Soon: Get Ready!

Now is the time to make plans for Earth Science Week, taking place October 8-14, 2017. The 20th annual Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme “Earth and Human Activity” with a wide range of exciting activities, programs, and resources. All are designed to promote awareness of what geoscience tells us about human interaction with the planet’s natural systems and processes.

Pitch in to teach young people about Earth system science. Conduct activities described on the Earth Science Week website. For more ideas, see recommendations.

This year’s event is shaping up to reach even more people than last year’s audience of over 50 million. For the past 20 years, AGI has organized Earth Science Week to foster public and professional awareness of the status of Earth science in education and society. To learn more, visit the event website.

Find New Resources at National Fossil Day Online

To help you prepare for the seventh annual National Fossil Day (October 11) during Earth Science Week 2017, the National Park Service offers a website full of educational resources and information designed specifically for students and teachers.

On the site’s For Kids page, for example, you’ll find details about the National Fossil Day Art Contest, how to become a Junior Paleontologist, what it means to be a professional paleontologist, and more. On the Frequently Asked Questions page, you can learn the fundamentals of fossils.

And it is never too early to send your event information. Get the news out by using the event information form.

Just a Month Left to Enter Earth Science Week Contests

With entries due near the end of Earth Science Week - Friday, October 13 - science students and enthusiasts across the country are busy completing submissions for the Earth Science Week 2017 essay, visual arts, photography, and video contests. Submit yours soon!

The photography contest, open to all ages, focuses on “Earth and Human Activity Here.” Open to students in grades K-5, the visual arts contest is titled “People and the Planet.” Students in grades 6-9 are eligible to enter the essay contest: “Human Interaction With Earth Systems.” Focusing on one area of human life, explain how geoscience helps us to make the most of opportunities and manage challenges.

Finally, AGI invites educators and their students to enter the "Earth Connections" video contest. Individuals or teams will submit a brief, original video that tells viewers how people affect Earth systems, or how Earth systems affect people, in your part of the world.

For the contests, entries may be submitted any time up to the Friday of Earth Science Week, October 13, 2017. These contests allow both students and the general public to participate in the celebration, learn about Earth science, and compete for prizes. To learn more about these contests, including how to enter, visit online.

Empower Education at Energy Day Colorado

If you’re in Denver later this month, visit Earth Science Week’s booth at the first-ever Energy Day Colorado, a free family festival showcasing interactive demonstrations and exhibits across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)!

Energy Day invites students and their families to engage with industry experts and educators from a variety of organizations, helping to spark an interest in energy, environmental, and STEM careers for K-12 students. Participants will enjoy music, food, and fun educational activities.

Energy Day Colorado will take place September 23, 2017, from 11am-4pm in front of East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade, Denver, CO 80206. For more information, visit the Energy Day Colorado website and watch the event video.

Plan for Upcoming Earth Observation Day

Earth Science Week 2017 invites you once again to take part in Earth Observation Day during this weeklong celebration of the geosciences! Earth Observation Day (Tuesday, October 10, 2017) aims to engage students and teachers in remote sensing as an exciting and powerful educational tool.

The event is a STEM educational outreach event of AmericaView and its partners. AmericaView is a nationwide partnership of remote sensing scientists who support the use of Landsat and other public-domain remotely sensed satellite data through applied remote sensing research, K-12 and higher STEM education, workforce development, and technology transfer.

For lessons and activities by AmericaView and other organizations, as well as additional Earth Observation Day resources, please see the event website.

New Website Locates Geoheritage in Your State

Did you know that in the roughly 30-mile-wide Rio Grande Rift, running from Colorado through New Mexico, the continental crusting is thinning as it stretches to the east and west at a rate of a few millimeters per year? Or that West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio preserve fossil-rich reefs, remnants life that once thrived in shallows seas spanning eastern North America throughout the Paleozoic?

Places that are important to people are studied, used, and protected in many different ways. To learn about the ways people interact with geoheritage where you live, explore the Our Shared Geoheritage page of the Earth Science Week website and unearth the geologic history of your state. This new page on the program website also links educators and students to recommended resources including downloadable reports, articles, blogs, geoheritage locations, and learning activities.

View “Geoheritage by State” online. Learn more about “Our Shared Geoheritage” online.

National Natural Landmarks Offer Education Resource

The National Park Service’s National Natural Landmarks (NNL) program - which recognizes and encourages the conservation of sites that contain outstanding biological and geological resources - provides teachers and students with unique opportunities to study and experience geoscience in their part of the country.

NNL sites are designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior for their condition, illustrative character, rarity, diversity, and value to science and education. Many of the nearly 600 sites across the country have been given this designation for their significant geological resources. Each site tells a piece of the story of the nation's natural history, from various geological processes to characteristic landforms to evidence of plants and animals that lived thousands to millions of years ago.

To view “It’s About Time,” a learning activity focusing on NNL, visit NNL’s Earth Science Week page. To find out more about the NNL program, visit online.

Earth Science Week Toolkit Explores Human Interaction

Earth Science Week 2017 Toolkits are available now! To mark the occasion of the 20th annual Earth Science Week, AGI and key program partners are offering many new materials, tools, and other resources for participants.

The Earth Science Week 2017 Toolkit contains everything you need to prepare for Earth Science Week (October 8-14, 2017), which celebrates the theme “Earth and Human Activity.” The 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.

Shine a Media Spotlight on Your Great Activities

Energy! Climate! Natural disasters! Jobs! Earth science is breaking news. Educators can take advantage of journalists’ interest in geoscience to promote awareness of local Earth Science Week activities. Here are five effective strategies:

  • Plan a special event to draw attention to your Earth Science Week activities. Conduct an investigation or experiment, invite a prominent geoscientist to talk with students, host a ceremony or a banquet, stage an event with a nearby museum or science center, give awards to volunteers, or honor geoscience enthusiasts who make a difference.
  • Prepare a press release to alert the media about your Earth Science Week activities. Answer important questions, such as who, what, where, when, and why. Include data and quotes from key players. Provide contact information for followup. Print the release on your letterhead and fax it to editors and reporters at least three days before the event.
  • Be persistent in pitching your story to local news organizations. Besides noting the “hook” of Earth Science Week, show how your activities address issues that are urgent, timely, and relevant to the community. Write a brief, compelling query letter to the appropriate editor at each media outlet. Follow up with a phone call and email.
  • Write letters to the editor for print in local newspapers and magazines. You might respond to a recent geoscience-related article with a letter to the editor. If possible, schedule a meeting with the editorial board. Or instead of a letter, perhaps write an opinion editorial, or “op-ed,” to cite concerns and recommend solutions.
  • Use available Earth Science Week materials in promoting awareness. In the Earth Science Week Toolkit and on the event website are print and electronic materials - poster, calendar, logo, and more - that you can use to “brand” your activity. Link your local activity to the larger national celebration to emphasize its significance. For more ideas, see the Event Planning site.

Geoscience for Everyone Day: We Want You

Join the Earth Science Week team in encouraging everyone - including women, minorities, and people with a range of abilities - to explore geoscience careers on “Geoscience for Everyone Day,” Thursday, October 12, 2017.

If you’re an educator, invite a geoscientist to speak in your classroom. If you’re a geoscientist, visit a school or volunteer at a science center. Organize a scout event, lead a field trip, or hold a special “Take Your Child to Work Day.” Open a young person’s eyes to the world of Earth science.

In doing so, you’ll be supporting the efforts of AGI member societies such as the Association for Women Geoscientists and the National Association of Black Geoscientists in raising awareness of the remarkable opportunities available in the Earth sciences. Learn more about Geoscience for Everyone Day online.

Are you a geoscientist who’s not sure where to start? See “Visiting Geoscientists: An Outreach Guide for Geoscience Professionals,” a handbook co-produced by AGI and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Youth Education Activities Committee. You can provide unique enrichment opportunities, based on your education and experience. Download the handbook online.


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.