That's why the subject of this month's Accretionary Wedge was Earth Science Outreach. This October has been a big month for Earth science: we've had Earth Science Week (a yearly event), a national Geological Society of America meeting in Portland, OR, and a DonorsChoose challenge on ScienceBlogs (Geobloggers Giving Kids the Earth), sponsored by geobloggers Kim Hannula, Anne Jefferson, and Erik Klemetti.
But individual Earth scientists do just as much to show others why our work is important. Read on to find out what!
Earth science outreach happens outside of a school setting as well, whether it's through a visit to a museum, field trips, short courses, or teaching others to teach geoscience. Pascal of Research at a snail's pace spent time trying to make the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum - and specifically its Burgess Shale exhibit - a little easier to visualize. (A good thing, since most of them were so hard to figure out that they got stuck in a genus called Hallucigenia!) Over at Geology Happens, we get to hear about opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to explore the Colorado Plateau
Finally, it's important to remember that Earth science outreach isn't just about showing people how wonderful the geosciences are - it's about providing opportunities to those who wouldn't necessarily have them. There are schools all over this country (and others) where teachers are incredibly dedicated to their students' education, but just don't have the means to teach them about science. Good tools aren't cheap, as anyone who's ever swung a rock hammer will know. That's why the ScienceBlogs Donors Choose Challenge was such a hot topic this month. Kim Hannula of All of My Faults Are Stress Related was part of the team who sponsored a challenge for geobloggers and their readers, with the goal of funding geoscience-related projects for classrooms in need. And it was a resounding success! Kim's post says it all: "October's over tomorrow, and the geobloggers' challenge has raised more money than any other challenge here at Science Blogs. $8,288. 40 donors. 1218 students reached. Last week, I had to go searching for new geoscience-related projects to support, because so many of the original projects had already been completely funded." Bravo, geobloggers! And remember, just because the ScienceBlogs Challenge is over doesn't mean the projects still don't need funding - go check out the geobloggers page and see who still needs help!
Thanks for everyone who contributed to this month's Accretionary Wedge - and thank you again for all the Earth science outreach you do, no matter how you do it! (Even through blogging...) As always, if you've got a late contribution or I've missed anything, leave a link and I'll add you on.
There's still no one hosting the Wedge for November, so if you have an idea, leave a comment at Who's hosting the next Accretionary Wedge? (and step up and volunteer some more, if you feel like it!)