Earth Science Week Update September 2019

American Geosciences Institute
Vol. 17, No. 9: September 2019



AGI Expands Coalition With Lyda Hill Philanthropies and Nautilus to Further Women in STEM Through IF/THEN® Ambassador Program

AGI, the organizer of Earth Science Week, is pleased to announce, along with its publishing partner Nautilus, that it will build upon its existing coalition with Lyda Hill Philanthropies by engaging the geoscience community in IF/THEN®, an initiative created and funded by Lyda Hill Philanthropies to encourage and elevate the participation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

AGI will feature a sampling of the 100 women geoscientists who have been named IF/THEN® Ambassadors in its publications and educational materials distributed to millions of science teachers and students through its education network, including Earth Science Week. This partnership will augment the resources and opportunities available for educators as they communicate with students about diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM and reinforce the worldwide Earth Science Week 2019 (October 9-13) theme of "Geoscience Is for Everyone." Additionally, the coalition will introduce educators to the IF/THEN® initiative, Nautilus' Women in Science & Engineering channel, and AGI/Nautilus' EARTH channel.

"This coalition will allow AGI, IF/THEN®, and Nautilus to collaboratively develop educational materials highlighting leading female scientists," said AGI Executive Director Allyson Anderson Book. "Our goal is to incorporate these inspirational women innovators into science instructional standards and investigative activities that teachers and students can then utilize in the classroom.  Curriculum connections will focus on the Next Generation Science Standards in Earth and Space Science and show how STEM topics can be explored across traditional disciplinary boundaries."

The three organizations in this collaboration are well suited to promote the IF/THEN® initiative. IF/THEN® Ambassadors selected by Lyda Hill Philanthropies encourage recognition of women in STEM fields in a wide range of educational and other settings. Nautilus, a respected science magazine, recently launched its Women in Science & Engineering online news channel, coinciding with the release of an anthology of articles about and by women in STEM. AGI, a federation of over 50 professional associations representing more than a quarter-million geoscientists, leads the geoscience community with Earth science curricula, teacher professional development opportunities, academic information resources, workforce support, and public outreach events.

The coalition is disseminating the IF/THEN® materials through the Earth Science Week 2019 Toolkit, the Earth Science Week website, the Nautilus Women in Science & Engineering Channel, and the AGI/Nautilus EARTH channel, as well as additional events and online outlets.

Earth Science Week 2019 Coming Soon: Get Ready!

Now is the time to make plans for Earth Science Week, taking place October 13-19, 2019. The 22nd annual Earth Science Week will celebrate the theme "Geoscience Is for Everyone" with a wide range of exciting activities, programs, and resources. All are designed to promote awareness of both the inclusive potential and the importance of the geosciences in the lives of all people.

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

This year's event is shaping up to reach even more people than last year's audience of over 50 million. For the past 22 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.

Celebrate National Fossil Day at Grand Canyon and Online

To help you prepare for the eighth annual National Fossil Day (October 16) during Earth Science Week 2019, the National Park Service offers a website full of educational resources and information designed specifically for students and teachers.

On the site's Art Contest page, for example, you'll find details of the competition, which focuses on the theme of "Extinct Giants and Survivors of the Last Ice Age." 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.

And if you can make it to Grand Canyon National Park later this month, you can take part in a variety of National Fossil Day 2019 Celebration events taking place there:

Friday, September 27

  • Paleontology Symposium, Shrine of the Ages Auditorium, 7:30-9 p.m. Join us for an evening of fossil discovery and learning with visiting paleontologists. Four guest speakers will highlight some of Grand Canyon National Park's most notable fossils.

Saturday, September 28

  • Fossil Walk, Meet at Bright Angel Trailhead, 9-10 a.m. Learn about Grand Canyon's ancient life through its fossil history. This easy walk along the Rim Trail explores the marine fossils of an ancient Permian Sea.
  • All Day Events, Grand Canyon Visitor Center and Yavapai Geology Museum, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Meet with partner organizations such as AGI, Museum of Northern Arizona, Southwestern Paleontological Society, and others!
  • Fun with Fossils, Yavapai Geology Museum, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Discover why fossils are important. Fun fossil games and activities for kids of all ages! Meet some of Grand Canyon's scientists and ask your questions!
  • Ask a Scientist, Yavapai Geology Museum, 10-11 a.m. How do fossils form? What is a trace fossil? Meet some of Grand Canyon's scientists and ask your questions! (Live event.)
  • Welcome Ceremony, Mather Point Amphitheater, 1-2 p.m. Join Park Rangers for a welcome ceremony, event proclamation, and remarks by the Grand Canyon superintendent and visiting paleontologists.
  • Facebook Live, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Unable to be at Grand Canyon today? No worries! You can join us live for your personal tour of the Fossil Beds via Facebook Live!
  • Special Centennial Evening Program, Shrine of the Ages, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Join NPS Senior Paleontologist Vincent Santucci for a special centennial celebration of the rich Paleontological Heritage at Grand Canyon National Park.

Just a Month Left to Enter Earth Science Week Contests

With entries due near the end of Earth Science Week - Friday, October 18 - science students and enthusiasts across the country are busy completing submissions for the Earth Science Week 2019 essay, visual arts, photography, and video contests. Submit yours soon!
Teams and individuals of any age are invited to submit brief videos that tell viewers about their "Many Paths to Earth Science." The photo contest, also open to all ages, asks participants to show how people in their communities are "Exploring Earth Science." Open to students in grades K-5, the visual arts contest encourages children to depict "Earth Science and Me." Finally, students in grades 6-9 are eligible to enter the essay contest, "Why Earth Science Is for Everyone."

For all contests, entries may be submitted any time up to the Friday of Earth Science Week, October 18, 2019. These contests allow both students and the general public to participate in the celebration, learn about Earth science, and compete for prizes. The first-place prize for each contest is $300 and an AGI publication. To learn more about these contests, including how to enter, visit Earth Science Week Contests online.

Plan for Upcoming Earth Observation Day

Earth Science Week 2019 invites you once again to take part in Earth Observation Day during this weeklong celebration of the geosciences! Earth Observation Day (Tuesday, October 15) 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 program 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 crust 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?

There may be no better way to see how "geoscience is for everyone" - this year's Earth Science Week theme - than to consider the many places that people deem important enough to study, use, and protect in various 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 to learn more about geoheritage where you are. And learn more about Our Shared Geoheritage online.

Get Earth Science Week Toolkits While Supplies Last

Don't wait to order your Earth Science Week 2019 Toolkit! The toolkit contains everything you need to prepare for Earth Science Week (October 13-19, 2019), which celebrates the theme "Geoscience Is for Everyone." This year's toolkit includes:

  • 12-month school-year activity calendar, suitable for hanging
  • New Earth Science Week poster, including a learning activity
  • NASA posters, booklet, and ruler on Earth observation and space
  • National Park Service materials on geodiversity and geoheritage
  • Fact sheet from the Soil Science Society of America
  • Geologic Map Day poster dealing with diversity and inclusion
  • Mineral Education Coalition resource on mineral science
  • American Geophysical Union "Women & Girls in Science" poster
  • IRIS flyer dealing with seismology and earthquakes
  • AmericaView "Geoscience Is Everywhere" game poster
  • Geothermal Resources Council poster on energy science
  • Information on soil nutrients from Nutrients for Life Foundation
  • UNAVCO ruler and flyer on becoming a geoscientist
  • Landslides fact sheet from Critical Zones Observatories
  • Switch Energy Project information on energy science
  • Bureau of Land Management dinosaur coloring page
  • Climate Literacy Principles publication from NOAA
  • Water Footprint Calculator information on water science
  • AIPG, NESTA, CLEAN, AMS, EarthScope items and more

The Earth Science Week 2019 Toolkit is free and available for the cost of shipping and handling. Pay just $8.50 for the first toolkit and $2.25 for each additional toolkit in the United States.

For ordering, special shipping, bulk orders, and more information, visit the AGI Store online or phone AGI Publications at 703-379-2480.

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 find out more, visit the NNL program online.

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 17, 2019.

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.

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 and submit your email address.