Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Earth Science Week!

I'm a day late, but only because I was visiting Niagara Falls yesterday with my dad - and if that doesn't fit with this year's theme ("No Child Left Inside"), I don't know what does. See the Earth science? See it?

Earth Science Week is a yearly outreach campaign run by the American Geological Institute (the people who publish Geotimes-now-Earth-Magazine, run GeoRef, and represent more than 44 other geoscience organizations in various capacities. ESW has been going for more than a decade, and it's a great opportunity for anyone to get involved in the Earth sciences. This year's theme, "No Child Left Inside" reflects the efforts of a coalition formed to help alleviate "nature deficit disorder" (another way of saying "our kids don't know squat about the outdoors and they spend all their time parked in front of electronic gizmos, which is not making them healthy"). There are nationwide events going on, many of them held by state geological surveys and science museums (some of which are shown on a Google map on the ESW website). Not to mention the contests, which are open for entries until this Friday - there are TWO photo contests this year, by the way, and the prizes include a little cash and a copy of AGI's Faces of Earth DVD.

You can also order a toolkit, which is packed with awesome posters and DVDs and CDs (even a 3D comic book "science fact/fiction" guide to Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, which came out this summer); download a calendar; see which states have issued proclamations about ESW; look up Earth science career resources, scholarships and internships; find information on planning your own event; and get your event featured in the ESW photo gallery. (Oh yeah, and a Facebook Group and Newsletter. Everyone should sign up for the newsletter - you'll find out about the contests way ahead of time, as well as other useful geonews.)

Advocating Earth science is really important right now, especially considering that it's an election year (and not just on the national level). There are a number of states where Earth sciences are being cut from the curriculum entirely, because someone in charge of the pursestrings has got it into their head that the geosciences aren't "real" science, and therefore not important. It's totally appalling, and one reason that I keep blogging - I don't want to waste any opportunity to tell people that Earth science is really, REALLY important. AGI actually has an advocacy guide up on their "Pulse of Earth Science" webpage, along with pages that list the current Earth science curriculum standards in each state.

A few other bloggers have also put in mentions about ESW, and if we all do, we'll be making a big difference. If nothing else, you can have fun greeting everyone this week with a cheerful "Happy Earth Science Week!" - and maybe some of them will join in!

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