Web Feature                                                               
 Earth Science Week Evolves:

“This is the first time we’ve participated in Earth Science Week, and we’ve jumped in with both feet,” says Richard Slaughter of the Geology Museum at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is working with the Children’s Museum, local schools and a variety of geoscience organizations that are sponsoring activities every day during the fourth annual Earth Science Week this month, Oct. 7-13.

Slaughter’s contagious enthusiasm is typical, and it is this spirit that has fueled Earth Science Week, an annual celebration of the earth sciences that the American Geological Institute (AGI) initiated in 1998. “We established Earth Science Week as a means to show the public how important the earth sciences are in our daily lives,” says AGI President Larry Woodfork. “And the response each year has been bigger and better.”

AGI started the celebration, but it has since taken on a life of its own. Last year, scores of celebrations — field trips, demonstrations, lecture series, film series, exhibits, school visits and open houses — took place in all 50 states, and in Australia, Canada and at least 20 other countries. Eighteen AGI member societies and more than 100 state geological surveys, regional societies, academic geoscience departments, museums, libraries and federal agencies hosted these events. Thirty governors, the mayors of several cities and President Clinton issued proclamations and messages supporting Earth Science Week 2000.

Here, we highlight a few examples of how some organizations are celebrating the earth sciences this year. We hope these perspectives give you a sense of the growth of Earth Science Week programs and inspire you to participate.
Julia A. Jackson,  AGI

Tried and true: field trips

The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and other members of the earth science community will sponsor field trips free and open to the public, one on Oct. 6 to Peavine Peak, the other on Oct. 13 to three fossil collecting sites. Minerals are the highlight at Peavine Pike, where geologists will teach about the geological and mineral history of the 8,266-high peak near Reno. Participants can collect piemontite, copper minerals, magnetite and schorlite. The Oct. 13 trip will take people to a fossil gastropod locality near Nightingale hot springs off Interstate-80, another near the Mopung Hills off U.S. Highway 95, and a Miocene fossil fish locality near Hazen.

The Kansas Geological Survey will also take earth enthusiasts on a field trip, just as it did during Earth Science Week 2000. On Oct. 7,  survey geologists took 50 people to four places in northeastern Kansas, where they could learn about sedimentary rocks, glacial deposits and fossils. The trip was a huge success, in spite of unseasonably chilly weather,” says Liz Brosius, assistant editor for the survey’s Geology Extension program. “In fact, we had to turn away over 100 people and ended up repeating the trip, twice, in April to accommodate some of these folks.”
Geotimes staff

USGS spreads the word

To start Earth Science Week, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Director Chip Groat joins the Delaware Geological Survey at the University of Delaware in Lewes on Oct. 7 to celebrate the state survey’s  50th anniversary.   “Earth Science Week gives us an outstanding opportunity to raise public awareness of the role science plays in finding solutions to many of the societal issues that confront our growing population,” Groat says. “USGS is celebrating Earth Science Week with a diverse array of events, activities and approaches, from Web sites to public service announcements to open houses for our local communities.”
 The USGS Earth Science Week Web page features an online earth history quiz and downloadable “Master of Earth History” certificate. The site also lists USGS activities at many locations across the country and links to sites for more information on Earth Science Week activities. In conjunction with Earth Science Week, the popular USGS Learning Web will unveil its redesigned and improved portal to educational resources and real-time data for students, teachers and lifelong learners of every age.

“Earth Science Week is a time for all of us to reflect with pride on how our science serves society, and to rededicate ourselves to providing the impartial scientific knowledge and understanding needed to preserve and protect our changing world and to ensure the future health and prosperity of our nation,” Groat says.
Kathleen Gohn, USGS

A grand opening

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) observes Earth Science Week with the Oct. 11 opening of its new Geoscience Center in Tulsa, Okla. The SEG Foundation sponsored the center, which will draw in students, using interactive exhibits and hundreds of historical instruments and inventions based around geophysics. The center will show that geophysics is a growing field applied to the discovery of fuels that run the modern world, fault lines that could trigger massive earthquakes, or minerals used in the booming microtechnology field. It also offers information on careers and scholarships, and will be open to school field trips in the center and to nearby fossil-rich area.
Susan Henley, SEG

Adventure geology

For the second year, the Geological Society of America will work with Recreation Equipment Inc. (REI) to co-host “Adventure Geology” presentations in the auditorium of REI’s Denver store. Through these presentations to the public, geoscientists share their enthusiasm and knowledge. This year, Greg McDonald, Paleontology Program Coordinator of the National Park Service, will give a special presentation on “Fossil Treasures of America’s Parks.” Other presentations will be “Avalanche Safety in Colorado,” “Geology and Climbing: Why Colorado has it all,” and “The Stone Wilderness: Visiting the great cave areas of the world.”
Kathryn Columbus, GSA

The celebration grows in Texas

For the fourth year in a row, communities throughout Texas will host educational events this month to celebrate earth science. “Earth Science Week in Texas is definitely evolving, growing and expanding,” says Scott Tinker, director of the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology. The bureau is hosting a Web site summarizing all the week’s activities in the state. “We built on things we’ve done in previous years.”

Austin’s Earth Science Week Consortium will sponsor its second annual career fair, which will bring more than 600 middle school students and teachers to the University of Texas-Austin on Oct. 9. A book drive for the Austin Public Library is also underway. Last year, the drive raised $2,000, which bought 99 earth science books for the library.

Two years ago, Austin’s theme was a daily earth science question and answer, which the local NBC affiliate’s news program broadcast daily. Barnes and Noble Booksellers also held activities at their stores. The Austin Earth Science Week Consortium has scheduled these activities again for this year.

College Station, Texas, will celebrate earth science with an open house at the Department of Geology and Geophysics on the Texas A&M campus Oct. 6. This event is part of an ongoing celebration to commemorate A&M’s 125th anniversary.
 In Houston, Earth Science Week kicks off Oct. 6 with a full day of family activities at the Museum of Natural Science, followed by a symposium, “Views of the Earth.” The following weekend, two public field trips will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the historic Spindletop oil field.

Geoscientists from San Antonio’s South Texas Geological Society will visit schools and act as resources for teachers. Trinity University will also broadcast spots about the geology of San Antonio and South Texas over the university radio station, KRTU, 91.7 FM.

In Midland, more than 40 geoscientists will tell students in local schools about their careers. A TV weatherman, the local Gem Club and the astronomy club will be presenters, and a joint program with Midland College aims to reach an estimated 3,500 students to pique their interest in geology.
Sigrid Clift, Bureau of Economic Geology

Anniversaries in Delaware

Collaboration is the buzzword in Delaware. The Delaware Geological Survey has participated every year in the annual Coast Day, sponsored by the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies and which last year attracted 10,000 people. This year, the Sea Grant College Program, part of the College of Marine Studies, celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the Delaware Geological Survey celebrates its 50th. Both celebrations are happening during Earth Science Week. “Because we do a lot of work in the coast area, we decided we could use Coast Day as a kick-off for our anniversary and for Earth Science Week,” says John Talley, associate director of the Delaware Geological Survey. Survey scientists work throughout the year with university scientists, including  recent collaboration to study groundwater discharge into some of the state’s inland bays.
 The survey will feature displays at the university’s Lewes campus, where children will have the chance to dig for Delaware fossils in a sand box, while adults can get a close-up view of the survey’s drill rig on display. The survey also plans to give away maps of the historic shorelines on Cape Henlopen and bookmarks with the geologic time scale. A Rock ‘N Fossil Road Show, similar to the Antiques Road Show, will allow people to bring in their rock and fossil specimens and have geologists identify as many as possible.
Geotimes staff

Earth science in the parks

The National Park System preserves and protects some of Earth’s most pristine natural wonders and offers an amazing opportunity to engage the public and raise awareness about the natural world. Although some parks feature earth science education year round, Earth Science Week provides a unique opportunity for all parks to showcase their regular science programs. During Earth Science Week, many parks choose to focus on earth systems education by guiding field trips, hosting speakers, putting together special exhibits or coordinating activities for school groups.

The National Park Service has participated in Earth Science Week since its inception four years ago.  This year, the Park Service is stepping up its level of participation in order to recognize the value of earth science education to the parks and the public.  The Natural Resource Program Center (NRPC) in Denver is providing educational materials to all National Park areas. These publications from the American Geological Institute address several critical areas in earth science education from a non-specialist perspective and promise to be well received by Park interpretive centers.

Melanie Ransmeier, National Park Service

Geotimes Home | AGI Home | Information Services | Geoscience Education | Public Policy | Programs | Publications | Careers

© 2018 American Geological Institute. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any of the contents of this service without the express written consent of the American Geological Institute is expressly prohibited. For all electronic copyright requests, visit: