Celebrate Earth Science Week And Explore Your Natural World
April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
October 14 — 20, 2012 is Earth Science Week, a celebration designed to encourage people everywhere to learn more about the geosciences and explore the natural world. The organizers also hope to foster a feeling of responsibility for Earth stewardship.
Earth Science Week was first organized in 1998 by the American Geological Institute (AGI). Every year since then, events are planned by community groups, educators and interested citizens around the world.
This year’s theme is “Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences,” which is designed to boost awareness about the geosciences and all the career opportunities in this field.
“With this year´s focus on jobs, Earth Science Week provides a great chance for teachers and guidance counselors to spread the word to students and parents about geoscience careers,” says Ann Benbow, AGI´s Director of Education and Outreach.
“With over 150,000 positions expected to open in the next decade, opportunities for building an exciting and meaningful career in the geosciences have never been better, even in this tough economy,” says Christopher M. Keane, head of AGI´s Geoscience Workforce Program.
There are many events and happenings associated with Earth Science week that you, your community and children could participate in.
This year, AGI is sponsoring three contests in conjunction with Earth Science Week: a photography contest, a visual arts contes and an essay contest. Deadline to enter is Friday, October 19, 2012 at 5pm EST.
The photography contest’s theme is “Earth Science is a Big Job.” This contest is open to anyone who is a resident of the U.S. or any AGI International Affiliate of any age.
The visual arts contest is for K-5 U.S. residents. The theme is “Imagine me, an Earth Scientist!”
The third contest is an essay contest for U.S. residents in grades 6 -9. The subject of the essay must be “Geoscientists Working Together.”
The prize for each of the contests is $300 USD and a copy of AGI’s Faces of the Earth DVD. AGI’s website states “submissions will be judged by a panel of geoscientists on creativity, relevance, and incorporation of the topic at hand.”
Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching
Each year, AGI awards one classroom teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching – named after Dr. Roy, a past president of AGI, a professor at Trinity University and a lifelong supporter of teachers in the Earth Sciences.
The award consists of a $2,500.00 prize for the winning teacher and a grant of up to $1,000 to enable the recipient to attend the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Conference in April 2013 to accept the award. The winning teacher and his or her school each will receive a plaque of recognition.
This year’s recipient is Meg Town, from Redmond Junior High School in Redmond, Washington. Town holds a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Washington and says that Earth science is “the most touchable science.”
International Earth Cache Day
Sunday, October 14th, is International Earth Cache Day, sponsored by Geocaching.com and Earthcache.org.
Earthcache.org says, “an Earth Cache site is a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. Visitors to Earth Cache sites can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage the resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth.”
The way to celebrate is to do an Earth Cache and enjoy learning about the geological features and attractions of your area.
National Fossil Day
The National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management sponsor National Fossil Day, Wednesday, October 17. Events are scheduled at BLM facilities and National Parks across the nation. You can find a list of events near you on the NPS website.
The National Park Service is also hosting other Earth Science Week events.
Geologic Map Day
October 19, 2012 is the first-annual Geologic Map Day, designed to promote the importance of geologic mapping by helping society examine the study, uses and significance through educational activities, print materials and public outreach opportunities.
Earth Sciences are about more than just our planet, and NASA has created a great website full of information and events to help the public understand. NASA´s Global Climate Change website invites you to meet their explorers, describes Earth Science Careers available in the space sector, has a list of events during the week, blogs from Earth scientists and a section for Educators.
NASA explorers will take students on virtual trips around the globe, including Antarctica, the Peruvian Amazon, Africa and other areas to “inspire them to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.”
“We want to show students that STEM fields take people on exciting adventures,” said Christy Hansen, NASA Goddard project manager for Operation IceBridge, a six-year NASA science mission that is the largest airborne survey of Earth’s polar ice ever flown.
Hansen will be hosting a Google+ Hangout from Punta Arenas, Chile. Other NASA explorers will be using Google+ Hangouts, Twitter, live blogging, webinars and radio interviews to excite young people about the careers available in the Earth Sciences and NASA.
“Not everyone thinks ‘Earth explorer’ when they think NASA and STEM careers,” said Theresa Schwerin, vice president of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and lead for the NASA Earth Science Education and Public Outreach Forum. The Forum organizes NASA’s participation in the annual Earth Science Week. “But NASA Earth explorers have careers that span across the sciences and engineering to education and communications, and can take them to the far reaches of the planet.”
Other nations have Earth Science Week events scheduled as well.