As geoscientists throughout the world prepare to celebrate the third annual Earth Science Week, Oct. 8-14, the popular saying "think globally; act locally" aptly describes the scope of this popular public outreach program.
As in 1999, the AAPG Foundation has made a grant in support of the 2000 Earth Science Week efforts and the association itself has also provided financial and publicity support.
The program was initiated by the American Geological Institute (AGI) in 1998 on behalf of the geoscience community to provide an annual focal point for public education about Earth and earth processes.
Last year, geoscientists in all 50 states, Australia, Canada and at least 20 other countries organized Earth Science Week activities in their communities that included:
- Field trips.
- Lecture series.
- Film series.
- School visits.
- Open houses.
Objectives for Earth Science Week 2000 include increasing public access to information about local geology and fostering public awareness of the important contributions the earth sciences and geoscientists make to their communities.
Grass Root Efforts
Since 1998, an estimated one million students have participated in the Earth Science Week program, with program materials having been used in over 25,000 classrooms.
In the United States, the president and members of Congress have issued statements supporting Earth Science Week, and last year 39 state governors and a number of others signed Earth Science Week proclamations. Many state geological surveys, regional societies and academic geoscience departments organized activities in their communities.
The AGI Member Societies' role in the success of Earth Science Week is significant, and its long-term growth and cumulative impact are largely dependent on the levels of their participation and support.
This year's co-chairs, M. Ray Thomasson, past president of AAPG, and David Stern, founder and chief executive officer of Research Systems, are encouraging professional societies and their members to increase their participation.
Last year, 18 of the 35 AGI member societies and at least 100 other geoscience organizations participated in the second annual celebration. Activities sponsored by the Paleontological Research Institution in New York, for example, included exhibits on biodiversity, a radio show on global change, technical talks and a Family Exploration Day.
Other member societies promoted the participation of their members and teachers by distributing the Earth Science Week poster, bookmark and related materials.
The Earth Science Week poster is inserted in this month's EXPLORER (facing page), in anticipation of the 30,000+ members of AAPG to distribute their copy to an appropriate entity for display along with other activities in which they might be involved through their local society or group.
"Although the recognition of Earth Science Week is growing worldwide," Thomasson noted, "local celebrations and the efforts of geoscientists in their communities are at the heart of its success."
For example, in Texas, geoscientists in Austin, Dallas, Houston and Midland are making plans for Earth Science Week 2000. During Earth Science Week '99, one TV weatherman in Austin included earth-science questions and answers in every broadcast. The Dallas Geological Society "adopted" 18 schools, launching a program during Earth Science Week for members of the society to mentor teachers and students. The program has continued through the school year.
AGI's continuing role in Earth Science Week is to facilitate participation. The Earth Science Week Web site provides a wealth of ideas, activities and materials.
Also, Earth Science Week information kits containing posters, bookmarks and a variety of other useful "user-friendly" outreach materials are available from AGI. Single copies of the kit are free.
To request a kit or learn more about Earth Science Week, please visit the Web site, or contact Julie Jackson at AGI headquarters, 4220 King St., Alexandria, Va. 22302; e-mail - ; voice mail - (703) 379-2480.