Education has faced unprecedented challenges around the world due to the current global pandemic, but the importance of geoscience education remains a priority for the AAPG Foundation.
And thanks to generous donations from AAPG members around the world, the Foundation’s support of this year’s Earth Science Week event continues this year, just as it has every year since the program’s inception in 1998.
Earth Science Week, organized and administered by the American Geosciences Institute, was created to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth sciences by providing learning resources and activities that engage young people around the world.
Each October, ESW reaches more than 50 million people around the world. The AAPG Foundation, which this year was designated a “Global Sponsor” to recognize the international scope of the program – in 2019, the program was observed in 27 countries – has provided more than $535,000 as a sponsor.
“One of the important purposes of the Foundation is to introduce young students to geology by funding creative education programming and curriculum developed by organizations that specialize in K-12 education,” said James Gibbs, chair of the Foundation Trustees.
“The Earth Science Week initiative exists exactly for that purpose, and the Trustees have always been not only happy but proud to be part of its outreach,” he said.
“For many students, the activities and resources created for Earth Science Week are often the first time that many young students are exposed to geology and the geosciences,” Gibbs added. “That’s an important step, and often the start of a powerful connection to the geosciences that lasts for life.”
This year’s ESW will be celebrated Oct. 11-17, around the theme “Earth Materials in Our Lives.” The curriculum and activities are designed to “promote public understanding of geoscience and stewardship of the planet, especially in terms of these raw materials.”
An ESW promotional poster, intended to be displayed at schools and other public areas, is included in this EXPLORER within the United States.
AGI also provides resources, activities and opportunities to help all geoscientists participate; copies of this year’s Earth Science Week Toolkit are free and available for the cost of shipping and handling.
And while most of the resources provided by AGI will be used by teachers and educators, ESW is really a resource for all. Included are “lots of ways” for geoscientists to safely make “virtual” contributions to schools and public gatherings, like reaching out to local educators for recommended ways of speaking to students, leading a virtual field trip, giving a university presentation or offering tours of your workplace.
“Minerals are essential to the world in which we live, as well as our understanding of geoscience,” said AGI Interim Executive Director Sharon Tahirkheli.
“By working together, (we) hope to reach a broad community of students, teachers and partners,” she said, “and inspire interest in minerals and the role they play in our lives.”
ESW’s Spotlight on Geosciences
AGI and the Mineralogical Society of America are developing materials, organizing outreach and collaborating with geoscience partners in government agencies, professional associations, private corporations and other groups to promote awareness of and appreciation for minerals among the general public as well as students and teachers.
Some of the events/activities planned for ESW 2020 include:
• An “Earth Materials Frontiers” webinar series running through Earth Science Week, where geoscience professionals, educators, students and others are invited to virtual talks by experts and scholars on a range of relevant topics such as raw materials, new technologies, social responsibility and economic ramifications.
• A focused initiative to inspire women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). AGI’s new Geoscience Women in STEM website, hosted within the ESW website, provides curriculum connections that concentrate on the Next Generation Science Standards in Earth and Space Science and show ways that STEM topics can be explored across traditional disciplinary boundaries and in relation to students’ experiences.
• AGI and its publishing partner Nautilus have produced a limited run of print booklets featuring profiles of the scientists featured on the Geoscience Women in STEM website.
• AGI again will be conducting its four traditional contests in visual arts, essay writing, video production and photography. People of all ages are invited to compete for prizes while exploring the topic of earth materials. (As always, students, geoscientists and the general public are invited to participate in the photo contest.)
• “Earth Materials and Me,” a visual arts contest, is open to students in kindergarten through grade five. Essays by older students in grades six through nine must address the idea of “How We Process Earth Materials.” And AGI invites people of all ages to enter the “Earth Materials Around the World” video contest by submitting a brief, original video that shows how Earth materials play an important part in the lives of people everywhere. Contest winners receive a prize of $300 and an AGI publication.
• For those hosting an ESW virtual event such as an online exhibit, webinar or video-chat lecture, the Earth Science Week Event Registry enables you to promote your event effectively. Simply provide a few key details at www.earthsciweek.org/content/register-your-event. Fill out the online form and let the Earth Science Week team ― and the world ― know about your event!
For more ESW information, visit www.earthsciweek.org, or email [email protected]. To support ESW through the AAPG Foundation, visit foundation.aapg.org or email [email protected].