Earth Science Week Update February 2018


American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 16, No. 2: February 2018


Jewell Named Earth Science Education Ambassador

Sally Jewell, the conservationist, petroleum engineer, former President and CEO of Recreational Equipment, Incorporated (REI), and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, will serve as a major national spokesperson for AGI, organizer of Earth Science Week.

AGI has named Jewell as its Earth Science Education Ambassador; Jewell will highlight the need for strong Earth science instruction throughout K-12 education and will be the principal spokesperson for Earth Science Week 2018, which will focus on the theme "Earth as Inspiration."

"Throughout Secretary Jewell's distinguished career as an engineer, business executive, and public servant, she has demonstrated an appreciation for the Earth and how people connect to it," said AGI Executive Director Allyson Anderson Book. "And she is a recognized leader, particularly in the area of youth engagement on public lands."

As Secretary of the Interior, Jewell launched a four-year initiative to encourage millions of young people to play, learn, serve, and work in America's great outdoors, engaging 51 cities across the nation and leveraging funds from the private sector to support the effort.

An avid outdoor enthusiast, Jewell has climbed Mount Vinson, the tallest mountain in Antarctica, as well as Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest peak, and has ascended Mount Rainier seven times. Her dedication to creating deep connections between young people and our planet will inform her role as AGI's Earth Science Education Ambassador and makes her an ideal spokesperson for Earth Science Week 2018, which will showcase the visual and performing arts and how artists are inspired by the Earth's natural systems.

Anderson Book concluded, "I believe Secretary Jewell's enthusiasm - for learning about our shared Earth and inspiring children to understand how Earth is intertwined with our lives and culture - is universal, and we at AGI are delighted for the opportunity to work closely with her in the coming year."

Independent Study Details Earth Science Week Success

Earth Science Week succeeded in engaging education audiences and the public in geoscience experiences in 2017, according to an independent evaluation recently completed by PS International. Comparing participation last year and plans for next year, 81 percent of survey respondents said they anticipate either increasing or maintaining level participation.

A large majority (89 percent) said Earth Science Week offers opportunities for teaching and promoting Earth science that they would not have otherwise. Similarly, 92 percent said program resources and activities are very or somewhat important to educating students about geoscience.

Eighty-six percent of respondents rated the program’s overall usefulness as “excellent” or “good.” When respondents rated nearly 20 key items from the Earth Science Week Toolkit and website - such as posters, disks, and online activities - all were rated “very useful” or “useful” by strong majorities of participants.

Participants said they were active during Earth Science Week. Many reported specific activities that were highly active. For example, 95 percent reported activities categorized as “most active” (e.g., field trips and outside lessons), “active” (e.g., external speakers and open house discussions), or “somewhat active” (e.g., lesson plans and kit distribution).

To learn more, see Earth Science Week 2017 Highlights, coming soon online.

AAPG Offers Access to Distinguished Lecturers

With members ranging from professional geologists and corporate executives to students and academics, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) has plenty to offer Earth science educators. AAPG, a longtime AGI member society and a major Earth Science Week partner, aims to foster scientific research and promote the science of geology.

AAPG’s Distinguished Lecturers program, for example, allows colleges, universities, and geological societies to arrange for a geoscientist to make a presentation. For details, see Distinguished Lecturers online.

ExxonMobil, AGI Offer Training Opportunities

ExxonMobil Exploration and AGI will be holding a K-5 Earth Science/STEM Teacher Leadership Academy in Houston, Texas, June 24-29, 2018. In addition, a Middle School Earth Science/STEM Teacher Leadership Academy will be held in Houston on July 22-27, 2018.

Each academy will provide teachers with Earth science content, hands-on activities, resources and field experiences that they can use with their students in the classroom and with their colleagues in professional development settings. Also, each academy has space for 24 participants and encourages participation in teams of two or four educators from each state or school district.

For each academy, school administrators are encouraged to nominate teachers soon. Nominees will be sent an online application form and given instructions on how to complete the application process. The applicant review process will begin in March 2018.

Learn more online. Scroll down to “Earth Science Teacher Leadership Academy” and click on the appropriate option (K-5 or Middle School).

AGU On-Demand Offers Lecture, More

The American Geophysical Union, a longtime Earth Science Week Partner, offers “AGU On-Demand,” which provides free access to breakthrough research and scientific discussion presented at the AGU Fall Meeting - live-streamed and on-demand viewing - whenever you are ready to watch.

The recent AGU Fall Meeting was a great success, with more than 22,500 Earth and space scientists from across the globe gathering in New Orleans to exchange ideas, build their professional networks, and present their research.

If you were unable to join the meeting or are just curious about what you missed while there, visit the AGU “2017 Fall Meeting On-Demand” YouTube channel. With more than 80 lectures available to watch, you’ll be sure to find one that is worth sharing.

SSSA Offers Riches of Soil Science Education

Over 6,000 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 of virtually all ages. 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.

Help NGWA Promote Groundwater Awareness

National Groundwater Awareness Week (March 11-17, 2018) will shed light on one of the world’s most important resources: groundwater. Groundwater is essential to the health and well being of humanity and the environment, according to the National Groundwater Association.

Learn more about National Groundwater Awareness Week online. Also, see additional information on related events and educational resources.

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. 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.

Internship Offers Undergrad Research Opportunity

Targeting undergraduate students with an interest in conducting research in the Earth or ocean sciences, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Summer Intern Program offers students the opportunity to experience scientific research as an undergraduate. The program is open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have completed their junior or sophomore year in college with majors in Earth science, environmental science, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, or engineering.

Focusing on the theme of analyzing global databases, the program runs from June 5 to August 10, 2018. Students receive free housing and a stipend of $5,000 for this 10-week program. The application form must be submitted by February 18, 2018. For more information, see online.

Esri Helps Teachers Map Out Education

Looking for cutting-edge resources to help you explore the theme of “Earth as Inspiration” during Earth Science Week 2018? Leading the charge to incorporate GIS (geographic information system) technology and mapping software in Earth science education, Esri has long been a big part 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. See more information about training. To learn more about GIS and Esri, see 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.