Earth Science Week Update November 2018

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 16, No. 11: November 2018


Earth Science Week 2018: 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 21st annual Earth Science Week last month. The event celebrated the theme “Earth as Inspiration” by emphasizing artistic expression as a unique, powerful opportunity for geoscience education and understanding in the 21st century. New program offerings marked the special anniversary.

Earth Science Week 2018 widened their reach with the launch of the Earth Science Week Online Toolkit. This online toolkit gives educators and others an opportunity to download some of the materials provided in the physical toolkit, like the Earth Science Week calendar and other activities that explore 2018's theme.

A major focus of Earth Science Week was the ninth 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. 

Earth Science Week provided education materials and conducted geoscience demonstrations for visitors to the Energy Day festival in Houston. In addition, Earth Science Week Citywide Celebrations 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 2018 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

Namit Vernekar of Charlotte, North Carolina, won first place in the visual arts contest with a creative and colorful drawing of two sides (real and imaginary) of Earth. Finalists were Janiru Sumanasiri, Esther Gammill, Saachi Tamboli, and Abhiraj Das. Students in grades K-5 made two-dimensional artworks illustrating the theme “Earth and Art.”
Matt Meisenheimer of Janesville, Wisconsin, won first place in the photo contest with an image of Kalalau Valley in Kauai, Hawaii. Finalists were Hannah Kawar, Aaliyah Craven, Mary Francis Garcia, and Kate Ragusa. Submissions illustrated the theme “Inspired by Earth.” 
Udbhav Akolkar of Scottsdale, Arizona, won first place in the essay contest with a paper on earth in various forms of writing, from J. R. R. Tolken Edgar Allan Poe. Finalists were Caden Longwater, Vikram Kolli, Jaeho Lee, and Lluvia Perez. Students in grades 6-9 wrote essays of up to 300 words addressing this year’s theme, “Finding ‘Art’ in Earth.” 
Noah Resnik won first place in the video contest with a public service announcement about ways science (and the Earth) can be artful. Finalists were (team) Carrie Hunter and Austin Hermann; (team) Zihao Jiang, Chen Hong Xue, Yu Hongyi, Lu Yichang, Ding Keyi, Liu Zhengyi, Wang Yihan, Zhang Xin Yao, Ding Zi Jun, Chen Yan Yan, Hu Rui, Yin Hao Ran, Cao Yi Jia, Wu Di, and Sun Dasheng; (team) Vinuth and Janiru Sumanasiri and Malika Gunasekara; and (team) Rossalyn Buck and Emily Straetz. Individuals and teams created brief, original videos that tell viewers how artistic expression stems from the natural world, through “Earth Expressions” 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 at

Check Out the 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 GeoSource (EGS) 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.

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 . 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 53rd 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.

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 as Inspiration,” the Earth Science Week 2018 Toolkit includes:

  • 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
  • New Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
  • NASA materials on school resources and planetary exploration
  • National Park Service posters on caves, plants, and geology
  • Geologic Map Day poster dealing with artistic inspiration
  • Mineral Education Coalition “Quarry to Crop” postcard
  • IRIS material on seismology and earthquakes
  • AmericaView poster on exploring America through LandSat
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute poster on global change
  • UNAVCO materials on Geodesy and websites to explore
  • Fact sheet from Critical Zones Observatories
  • Switch Energy Project information on energy science
  • Bureau of Land Management dinosaur coloring page
  • Material on Constructing the Rock Cycle from GSA
  • Water Footprint Calculator information on water science
  • EarthScope material on what it means to be an Earth scientist
  • CLEAN, AMS, TERC, and GPS information 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 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 . To subscribe to this newsletter, visit and submit your email address.