National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Southeastern Section Newsletter
Email Edition - Summer / Fall 2002
Regional News: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
Special Note: State Reports are due Oct. 5!

Alabama (submitted by David C. Kopaska-Merkel and Douglas W. Haywick)
We came closer this year to getting some nominations for OEST, but in the end all we received were promises. This year we e-mailed teachers we knew and begged. We even told one teacher we’d nominate her ourselves if she sent us the information we needed for the form. And, we got the Education Committee of the Geological Survey of Alabama to pony up $100 cash. What do these teachers want? We’ll figure it out one day, but it won’t be this year.

We know of a couple of high schools in Alabama that have added earth-science electives this year. That brings the state’s total to a handful (we think) but we are at least headed in the right direction. The Geological Survey and geology departments in several universities have received more requests for assistance from teachers and from other kinds of educational institutions. Does this reflect desperation, vigor, or simply better P.R. for educational programs? We don’t know, but, once again, we are headed in the right direction.

Several Alabama based K-16 education presentations will be delivered at the upcoming national meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver (October 27-30). The meeting is an excellent opportunity for science teachers to learn about geological education and interested parties should contact the Society for more information about theme sessions and workshops designed for teachers. Details about the meeting are posted on the Geological Society’s homepage (

The state’s science curriculum, new last year, more or less follows the national standards and therefore mandates earth science at every level. Ignorance and budget constraints have limited implementation of the new standards, but at least some school systems are moving to increase earth-science instruction. Tuscaloosa City schools, for example, have embraced inquiry-based instruction, and have purchased modern science models for use in the middle schools. There is federal money to support this, and we foresee a slow improvement in our public schools over the next few years.

The Alabama Science Teachers Association meeting is October 10-12 in Midfield High School (the Birmingham area). For information please call Kay Atchison-Warfield at 334-353-5440. This is a pretty good meeting, at which all of the highly motivated science teachers come out of the woodwork. Presenters are preaching to the choir, but they do sing well.

The Alabama Geological Society runs a 2-3 day field trip in the fall of each year and these are always top-notch affairs. Please contact Jack Pashin at for more information. The society also has published more than 30 field-trip guidebooks; contact Lewis Dean for information.

The Geological Survey of Alabama Education Committee and the University of West Alabama are once again sponsoring a 1-day paleontological field workshop for teachers (October 22, 2002). If you are interested, please contact David at

In the new publications department, the Geological Survey of Alabama has released a couple of new brochures on the subjects of ground water and springs in Alabama. These brochures are available in Tuscaloosa for no cost. You might have to pay shipping if you order them from elsewhere; please contact if you are interested. Water in Alabama, formerly an annual print publication, is now available online as a free download at (go to publications, and then online publications, and follow directions). This report is semi-technical in nature and is a good resource for high-school environmental-science teachers. Jim Lacefield, author of the stunning book Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks, has begun publishing a series of educational earth-science posters. These are accurate, colorful, and durable. Please contact Jim for information.

Florida (no information submitted)

Georgia (submitted by Pamela Gore)
EVOLUTION CONTROVERSY HEATS UP: The teaching of evolution is once again in the news in Georgia. Cobb County, an affluent conservative suburb northwest of Atlanta, is having a controversy over evolution in the science textbooks. The Cobb County school board has ordered that a disclaimer sticker be placed into the new biology textbooks reading "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studies carefully, and critically considered." The Atlanta newspaper says that Cobb is following the lead of Alabama, which has placed stickers on biology texts for six years, telling students that evolution is a "controversial theory". The newspapers have exploded in controversy over evolution, with several front page articles illustrated with science teachers in the classroom, and citizens in hot debate at the school board meeting. The school board has been told by its attorney that they are not allowed to teach creationism, but they want free and open discussion in the classroom. The latest development is that the school board will spend 30 days reviewing a proposed policy stating that the school district believes the "discussion of disputed views of academic subjects is a necessary element of providing a balanced education". A vote on the policy will be held at the Sept 26, 2002 school board meeting. The school board has just been sued in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union, to remove the stickers from the textbooks.

DINOSAURS AT THE FERNBANK MUSEUM: At the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, the permanent exhibit, "Giants of the Mesozoic", is celebrating its one year anniversary. The exhibit features the world's largest dinosaurs, the meat-eating Giganotosaurus and the plant-eating

Argentinosaurus, along with other Mesozoic vertebrate fossils. Fernbank is the only place in the world to see a fully mounted Argentinosaurus, which measures nearly 127 feet long. The museum opened 10 years ago, in 1992. Fernbank Museum will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the opening of a new special exhibition on October 5, "The Tiniest Giants: Discovering Dinosaur Eggs", a fascinating look at embryos, eggs and baby dinosaurs.

MIDDLE GRADES MATH AND SCIENCE INITIATIVE: The Middle Grades Math & Science Initiative is part of a Title II Work Plan for the Georgia Teacher Quality Plan. This Initiative provides content courses in mathematics and science for middle grade teachers who are currently teaching out-of-field and need college-level courses to meet new re-certification standards. Funded by a United States Department of Education Title II Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant, the project is designed to help Georgia's middle grade teachers increase their content knowledge to meet certification requirements in math or science. In the past, Georgia middle grades teachers were certified simply to teach "middle grades", which means that they were able to teach any middle grades subject, regardless of their background preparation. The rules have tightened recently, requiring teachers to have college coursework in the field in which they teach. To meet certification requirements, teachers need a total of four content courses in the area (math or science) they are teaching. Information on the initiative may be found online at this address:

A course in Earth and Space Science for Middle Grades Teachers has been developed at Georgia Perimeter College, under sponsorship from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to assist teachers with background preparation. Qualifying teachers completing the course before June will receive a $300 stipend. Information is available at The course is taught online using WebCT to assist teachers in remote areas of the state. Course materials available online at for teachers to use as a resource.

Also, see Miscellanea! for Georgia fieldtrip information.

Louisiana (no information submitted)

Mississippi (no information submitted)

North Carolina (submitted by Cindy Copolo)
The 1st Annual Earth and Environmental Science Regional Educators’ Conference entitled, “Interacting with Earth Systems,” is inviting earth and environmental science teachers and educators of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to participate in a weekend conference in the mountains of North Carolina to learn classroom activities, gain valuable field experiences and network with fellow educators!

The conference is November 8-10, 2002, at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.


Friday, November 8 (registration from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm)
2:00 – 5:00 pm Field Study (optional)
5:00 – 7:00 pm Dinner (on your own)
7:00 – 10:00 pm Poster Session / Reception & Astronomy Observations
Saturday, November 9
8:00 – 11:00 am Concurrent Sessions & Field Studies
11:30 – 1:30 pm Lunch; Speaker: Rick Wooten, NCGS
2:00 – 5:00 pm Concurrent Sessions & Field Studies
6:00 pm Dinner (on your own)
8:00 pm Astronomy Obs.
Sunday, November 10
Optional daylong field trip
Certificate Renewal Credit: 1.0 renewal credits, pending approval

Registration Fee: $50 payable to NCCSM

Lunch will be provided on Saturday but Friday and Saturday dinners are on your own.

Rooms are reserved at the Broyhill Inn in Boone for the evening of Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9. All rooms are $76 per night for either double or single occupancy (there is no additional charge for the second person in the double occupancy room). To get this rate, mention that you are with the Earth and Environmental Educators’ Conference. All reservations must be made by October 8, 2002 by calling (800) 951-6048 or (828) 262-2204 (local).

From the East on I-40 W. Take Exit #188 onto Highway 421N and continue to downtown Boone. Turn left at Depot Street and go through 1 traffic light, where the street name changes to Bodenheimer Drive. Proceed up the hill ¾ mile.

From the South on I-85 N. Drive north to Gastonia and take Exit #17 onto Highway 321N through Hickory into Boone. At the 8th traffic light, turn left onto Rivers Street. At the 5th traffic light, turn left onto Bodenheimer Drive and proceed ¾ mile up the hill.

From the Southwest on I-40 E. At Marion, take Exit #83 onto Highway 221N and drive to Linville (about 50 miles). Turn onto Highway 105N at Linville and proceed into Boone. At 321N, turn left onto Blowing Rock Road. At the 2nd traffic light, turn left onto Rivers Street. At 5th traffic light, turn left onto Bodenheimer Drive and proceed ¾ mile up the hill.

From the Northwest on 421S. Travel on 421S into downtown Boone. Turn right onto Depot Street and go through 1 traffic light where the street name changes to Bodenheimer Drive. Proceed up the hill ¾ mile.

Sponsored by
National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA), NC Department of Public Instruction and Appalachian State University Geology Dept.

Pre-registration form

1st Annual
Earth and Environmental Science Regional Conference
Broyhill Inn and Conference Center
Boone, NC
November 8-10, 2002

Name: _________________________________________________
Address: _________________________________________________

Email address: _________________________________________________
Phone Number: _________________________________________________
FAX Number: _________________________________________________

School/College/University: ___________________________________________

Please send this form, along with $50 (payable to NCCSM) to:
Dr. Cynthia Copolo
11 Pearse Wynd Road
Bahama, NC 27503

South Carolina (no information submitted)

Tennessee (submitted by Stan Dunagan and Michael A. Gibson)
Moon Rocks and Meteorites Land in Tennessee: The University of Tennessee at Martin's Dept. of Geology, Geography, & Physics in cooperation with the Marshal Space Center and Smithsonian Institution had a community show-n-tell with samples of lunar rock and meteorites in September. The samples included a lunar breccia collected by Moonwalker David Scott in 1971, a lucite disk with all of the primary varieties of meteorites, samples of the Canyon Diablo meteorite responsible for Meteor Crater in Arizona, two meteorites samples from falls in Tennessee, including one from Harriman and one from West Tennessee, and thin sections of meteorites from Russia, Australia, and other regions.

Also, see Miscellanea! about the new Geology and Fossil History of Tennessee exhibit at UT Knoxville's McClung Museum.

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