Participation in Earth Science Week, to be held Oct. 10-16, offers AAPG members an unprecedented opportunity to improve science literacy in their communities.
Earth Science Week, which is celebrated annually during the second full week of October, is sponsored by the American Geological Institute (AGI) in cooperation with AAPG and the other members of the AGI Federation, state and federal agencies, academia and industry.
AGI sponsored the first Earth Science Week last year as a new, 50th anniversary-initiative to increase public awareness and understanding of the importance of the earth sciences.
As part of Earth Science Week '99, thousands of geoscientists will lead geology field trips and tours, work with students, hold "pet rock" clinics, host geo-film festivals and art shows, and find a myriad of effective, creative ways to communicate the importance of the earth science in our daily lives.
By distributing the Earth Science Week poster and promoting Earth Science Week to their members, the AAPG and other geoscience organizations are actively working to increase the participation of geoscientists and educators.
As a result of this cooperative effort, more than 200,000 geoscientists and educators will receive copies of the Earth Science Week poster in or along with their society's journal or newsletter.
AAPG leadership and the AAPG Foundation are playing active roles in promoting Earth Science Week: AAPG vice president Carl J. Smith is AAPG's Earth Science Week liaison, and the Foundation recently awarded a three-year grant in support of the program. The grant will provide partial funding for program development as well as for the development and distribution of the poster and other Earth Science Week materials.
AGI produced the poster to provide this year's participants with a new, ready-made Earth Science Week activity. The front side features a model of Earth's interior structure, and the investigation on the back, "Modeling from Evidence," is designed to help students understand how science is done. The investigation is a "mystery bag" activity that can easily be adapted for use with elementary, middle, high school or college-age students.
The activity is designed to help students develop scientific inquiry skills as they gather evidence, propose models based on evidence, and debate and discuss their observations and inferences.
In the process, they learn to revise and improve their models by gathering new evidence and/or by re-evaluating their interpretations.
The Earth Science Week poster is the newest addition to AGI's Earth Science Week '99 information kit, which includes four posters, a 32-page booklet filled with ideas and activities for Earth Science Week, and other useful materials. It is available from AGI upon request.
In addition to AAPG members receiving the poster, all the AAPG Student Chapters and affiliates also will receive Earth Science Week information kits.
In 1998, AAPG headquarters distributed hundreds of Earth Science Week information kits to teachers in the Tulsa area.
"A roaring success" is how AGI past president Susan Landon described the first Earth Science Week, when activities took place in every state and also in Australia, Canada, Germany and India.
Publicly recognizing the importance of the earth sciences, 39 state governors and at least three city mayors signed Earth Science Week proclamations. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden read an Earth Science Week statement and resolution into the congressional Record in July 1998, and on Oct. 9 President Clinton issued a message urging every citizen to participate in Earth Science Week.
These endorsements were presented at signing ceremonies and public events in several states, bringing local media coverage and attention to the earth sciences.
Perhaps the most significant byproduct of Earth Science Week is that it has fostered new partnerships and communication links that unite geoscience organizations, industries and communities, scientists and teachers, and youth leaders and scientists with a common purpose of improving understanding of the earth sciences and earth processes.
Honorary co-chairs for Earth Science Week '99 are David A. Stephenson, AGI president, and Thomas M. Hamilton, CEO, EEX Corp.
Other Earth Science Week champions include the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society, National Energy Foundation, National Mining Association, U.S. Geological Survey and Research Systems Inc.
Although many geologists are contributing to the success of the first Earth Science Week, one whose enthusiastic participation stands out is AAPG past president Robert Cowdery. Cowdery, who has led the Earth Science Week charge in Kansas in 1998 and in 1999, recognizes both the potential and the challenge Earth Science Week offers the geoscience community.
"It takes funding, it takes somebody being interested," he said, "and it takes someone in every state."
Won't you join in helping make Earth Science Week a success in your state?
To request an Earth Science Week information kit, volunteer to help, or find out what's happening in your area, check the Earth Science Week Web site.
Also, you can contact Julie Jackson at AGI headquarters, (703) 379-2480; fax -- (703) 379-7563: or write to Earth Science Week, AGI, 4220 King St., Alexandria, Va. 22302.