National Association of Geoscience Teachers

Southeastern Section Newsletter

Winter/Spring 2002

 

 


Inside:

The President’s Thoughts

Membership / Treasurer’s Report

Musings from the new newsletter editor

A teacher-friendly guide to SE geology?

Meeting News

OEST Award winners!

AGI K-12 Earth Science Report

EarthComm

Regional News

 

2002 Calendar

April 3-5:      SE & N-C GSA Joint Meeting, Lexington, KY.

April 4:         SE NAGT Sectional breakfast meeting from 6:30 – 8:00 am. 

Oct. 13-20:  Earth Science week.

Oct. 27-30:  GSA meeting, Denver.

 

WWW . . .

NAGT

www.nagt.org

 

SE-NAGT

www.gpc.peachnet/~pgore/nagt/se-home.html

 

Geological Society of America

www.geosociety.org

 

US Geological Survey

www.usgs.gov

 

Earth Science Week

www.agiweb.org

www.earthscienceworld.org

www.earthsciweek.org

 

 

Summer/Fall 2002 Newsletter Deadline:  August 1, 2002.  Please send news, items, questions, & answers to Stan at dunagans@apsu.edu.

Southeastern Section Officers

 

President:  Michael A. Gibson

Department of Geology, Geography, and Physics

215 Joseph E. Johnson EPS Building

The University of Tennessee at Martin

Martin, TN  38238

731.587.7435

mgibson@utm.edu 

 

Past-President:  Pamela Gore

Department of Geology

Georgia Perimeter College

555 North Indian Creek Drive

Clarkston, GA 30021

404.299.4099

pgore@gpc.peachnet.edu

 

Vice-President:  David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Geological Survey of Alabama

P.O. Box 869999

Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-6999

205.349.2852

davidkm@gsa.state.al.us

 

Secretary/Treasurer:  Pamela Gore

Department of Geology

Georgia Perimeter College

555 North Indian Creek Drive

Clarkston, GA 30021

404.299.4099

pgore@gpc.peachnet.edu

 

Liaison to NAGT Executive Council: Steve Good

Department of Geology and Astronomy

West Chester University

West Chester, PA 19383

610.436.2203

sgood@wcups.edu

 

Newsletter Editor:  Stan P. Dunagan

Department of Geology and Geography

P.O. Box 4418

Austin Peay State University

Clarksville, TN 37044

931.221.6387

dunagans@apsu.edu


The President’s thoughts…

 

Spring semester is in full swing (again).  Classes, students, research projects, committee work piles up (as usual).  Someone says, “hey, we need your help” (so what else is new). Then they say, “it’s really important and who better to ask but you” (of course, who better to ask but you)?  (O.K., here is the pitch, you figured one was coming.)  SE NAGT needs your attention!  Yep, it’s us, and like you said, “Who better to ask” than seasoned vets, like you?

 

SE NAGT covers a large geographic area with one of the highest concentration of teachers (K-16) and student clientele in the country.  Population density is second to the northeast, so potential impact is great.  The southeast is one of the best natural, backyard laboratories for earth science (geology, oceanography, climatology, and even space science). President Bush has just announced a $20 billion dollar education package that will impact education across the board and through the ranks.  Earth Science education has been undergoing a revitalization and emphasis shift over the past decade (more hands-on inquiry, more systems approach, less teacher-centered), yet earth science (the epitome of these characteristics) still lags behind in priority in most states.  This lag is bad enough for public education in general (“I built my house on a floodplain, what floodplain?”), but when you consider that most university students determine their science courses by what they were exposed to in high school, then the issue is more acute for higher education (how many times have you heard “if I had know geology was so fun earlier I would have majored in it”).

 

Yet at the same time, there is tremendous opportunity during a time of education reform, for this is when paradigms are shifted, new initiatives begun, human resources revitalized, progress made.  To do this, however, YOU must become actively involved more than ever.  SE NAGT is a perfect vehicle for your contribution.  If you have not been as active as you could have for NAGT in your state, we urge you to use the opportunity.  If you perceive your state is lagging behind (and trust me, there are some states we have not been able to get a return phone calls from), how about volunteering to pitch in and make it a true team effort in your area?  Two commitments are needed:  involvement and communication.  We suggest planning now for Earth Science Week in October, check out the education sessions at GSA (invite a pre-college teacher along), find a public school system to be a resource for (show them the enthusiasm that attracted you when you began), become familiar with state and national science standards, donate time.  When you do these things (or if you have already done them as we know many of you have), let SE NAGT know.  Let us be your communication outlet to others or your support line for your needs. 

                                                                                    Michael

 

 

Membership / Treasurer Report:

As of January 22, 2002, there are 185 members.  The NAGT SE-Section has on deposit $3600.31.

Submitted by Pamela Gore, Secretary/Treasurer SE NAGT.

 


 

Musings from the new newsletter editor – Stan P. Dunagan

 

I was going to start my first little column by relating my reaction to Michael Gibson’s request for me to take up the reins of newsletter editor as Marg McKinney stepped down.  I was going to talk about my initial fears of ANOTHER commitment, ANOTHER project, ANOTHER deadline, and LESS time.  But then I realized that such musings were not relevant because obviously I picked up gauntlet and here I am.

 

Each one of us teach, manage, or participate in geoscience and/or educational vocations on a daily basis, and we don’t do it because it’s easy.  We are often underpaid, underfunded, and/or under-appreciated.  What’s worse is (if you’re like me) you would probably do it for free if you could get room and board tossed in.  (Editor’s note:  Please do not relate this information back to my Dean or my wife!).  So why do we do it?  For the same reason all of us get up every morning and go to our respective jobs, it is for the students, the citizens of our states, and the science.

 

It is with this sense of service that, on behalf of all SE NAGT members, I want to express our sincerest gratitude to our former editor Marg McKinney for tirelessly serving as SE NAGT newsletter editor since 1998.  Marg, thank you!

 

In other news . . . I would eventually like to see the newsletter evolve to a totally digital (paperless) format.  This format would allow faster delivery of the newsletter to SE NAGT members via email and save SE NAGT costs associated with printing, addressing, postage, and snail-mailing.  “Going digital” would allow the newsletter to include images as well as increased interactivity – like polls.  Of course, the newsletter would be searchable and more easily archived.  Of course, everyone would have to have an email address that supported html-based emails and SE NAGT would need to get a more permanent website.  Obviously, this is something that needs to be discussed and I plan to bring it up at our upcoming SE NAGT meeting during the joint SE & N-C GSA regional meeting in Lexington. 

 

HELP WANTED:  Teacher’s Guide to Southeastern Geology

 

The Paleontological Research Institution is looking for help in developing a Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Geology of the Southeastern U.S.  The Guide will provide teachers with the tools to incorporate regional and local geology into the classroom.  Teaching students about the Earth and geologic processes can often be difficult without concrete examples from the real world, and standard textbooks make few references to regional geology because of their nationwide audience.  Examples of regional and local geology in the classroom not only energize students, but also facilitate observation-driven, inquiry-based teaching.  The Southeast Guide will be based on the successful Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Geology of the Northeastern U.S. (available in print and via the Internet at www.priweb.org ).  The Guide will use non-technical language, a loose-page, three-ring binder format for easy use in the classroom, provide corresponding student activities for each topic, and contain a compilation of Earth science resource information listed by state and topic.

 

Interested in providing feedback, formative reviews, or content resources? We welcome the knowledge and experience of other educators!

 

Please contact:

Jane Picconi, Educational Publications Manager

Paleontological Research Institution

1259 Trumansburg Road

Ithaca, NY  14850

jea25@cornell.edu

(607) 273-6623 x25

 


Meeting News

 

     This year the Southeastern and North-Central Sections of the Geological Society of America will have a joint regional meeting in Lexington, KY, April 3-5, 2002.  Detailed information is available at:   http://www.uky.edu/KGS/gsa2002/  and  http://www.geosociety.org/sectdiv/Northc/02nc-semtg.htm. 

 

The following events may be of interest to SE NAGT members and others.  

 
Symposia and Theme Sessions (note that dates and times have not yet been announced).

Geology and Public Policy. (Sponsored by the SE and N-C GSA Committees on Geology and Public Policy and the SE GSA Education Committee.).  Jim Cobb, Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS); John Kiefer, KGS.  As our population increases, the importance of geology in public policy decisions becomes increasingly critical. Planning zoning for housing developments; siting of industrial parks; shopping centers; landfills, quarries, and mines; location of water supplies; and power plants all become complex and contentious issues in which the geology of the site plays, or should be one of the deciding factors.  This session will give examples of the role geology has played in public policy decisions and the successes or failures that have resulted.

 

New Challenges in Paleontological Education. (Sponsored by the SE NAGT, the SE Section of the Paleontological Society, and the SE GSA Section Education Committee.).  Michael Gibson, University of Tennessee-Martin. Michael Savarese, Florida Gulf Coast University. The session will serve as a forum for assessing how fossils and paleontology are used in K-16 curriculum.  Most of us teach about fossils and paleontology in many of our courses and Tennessee educators at all levels are using innovative approaches.  As the recent news over Tennessee's ranking of 50th in US science education & the US drop to lower than 17th globally shows, we have a lot at stake here.  We are in a position to offer valuable suggestions about how to improve education in general using fossils and paleontology as a vehicle.  For example, at the university level, anyone teaching a introductory history of the earth course spends a great deal of time in this arena.  Non-fossil specialists have insight that is valuable in this area and your input is sought!  Regardless of specialties and grade level, fossils are used.  We are hoping to create a dialogue that allows us to re-evaluate our approaches to using fossils.  Much has changed in the sciences and in science education (needs and approaches) lately.  Is it time for us to change how fossils are used? 

Expanding Earth Science Inquiry-Based Education, K–16. (Sponsored by the East-Central and SE NAGT, and the GSA Southeastern Section Education Committee.) Diann S. Kiesel, University of Wisconsin-Baraboo-Sauk County.  Speakers will share ideas and programs that expand and support Inquiry-Based Earth Science Education. Topics will inquiry-based exercises for specific topics, learning tools employed in lectures and/or labs, contrasts in teaching strategies between courses and/or student populations, or assessment methods used to measure student learning. We encourage involvement that builds support at all levels (K-16).

 

Technology for Inquiry-Based Earth Science Education. (Sponsored by the East-Central and SE NAGT, and the SE GSA Education Committee.)  Roderic Brame, Wright State University; David McConnell, University of Akron.  Speakers will discuss the new challenges to find ways to utilize technology for the purpose of improving science education. Participants are encouraged to consider how technology can be used to promote student learning, improve retention, expand teaching and learning environments, and provide for alternative assessment and evaluation opportunities. Please come and share your successes with us.

 

Workshops

Earth Science Education and the Development of Reasoning. (Sponsored by East-Central and SE NAGT, and the SE GSA Section Education Committee.) Sat., April 6, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Roderic Brame, Wright State University (WSU); David McConnell, University of Akron; William Slattery, WSU. Hyatt Regency Hotel, Regency Ballroom. Cost: $20 (includes workshop notes).  This teacher workshop is designed to integrate the current science education standards, inquiry-based constructivist learning, and foundational understandings of Earth's processes with all levels of earth science (ES) teachers.  We are encouraging all levels of academic standing (K-16). We will address the efforts to produce an education system that develops Scientific Reasoning at all levels for all students. The workshop has four components: (1) What is inquiry-based education? (2) plate tectonics, (3) rocks, fossils, and minerals, and (4) geologic history. All components include inquiry based hands-on, minds-on ES activities and discussions about the philosophy of learning by discovery and the implementation of this type of education.

See you in Lexington!


 

More Meeting News                                                           Planning ahead for the future . . .

 

SE Geological Society of America (GSA) meetings

2003 - Memphis, TN (joint meeting with SC NAGT)

2004 - Washington, DC (joint meeting with NE NAGT)

2005 - Biloxi, MS

GSA annual meetings

2002 - Oct. 27-30, Denver

2003 - Nov. 2-5, Seattle

NSTA meeting

2002 - March 27-30, national meeting, San Diego, CA

2002 - Oct 24-26, Eastern Section is in Louisville, KY

2005 - Dec. 1-3, NSTA meeting in Nashville

           

 

Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) Awards

 

State OEST Winners

Alabama

- No OEST reported

Florida

- No OEST reported

Georgia

- Christine Bean (Fernbank Museum of Natural History, GA)

Louisiana

- No OEST reported

Mississippi

- No OEST reported

North Carolina

- Lynne Gronback (McDougle Middle School, Chapel Hill, NC)

South Carolina

- Susan Yelton (Dent Middle School, Columbia, SC)

Tennessee

- Virginia Cooter (North Greene High School, Greeneville, TN)

 

Congratulations to state winners!  SE NAGT finds it hard to believe that states who did not report an OEST winner do not have outstanding earth science teachers.  Do you know of someone who should be recognized for their efforts?  Should you be recognized?  The time for OEST identification for 2002 is now, so we encourage you to contact your state representative and make a nomination.  For winners to be announced in the Journal of Geoscience Education, nomination forms and supporting information need to be forwarded to the state representative by June 1, 2002.  Applications for OEST can be copied from the Journal, downloaded from the NAGT website, by contacting any member of NAGT listed on the officers page of this newsletter, or taken from this newsletter.  It’s easy!

 

Southeast Regional OEST Award

The 2001 Outstanding Earth Science Teacher award for the southeastern region went to the winner of the Tennessee OEST award, Mrs. Virginia Cooter (202 Baileyton Main St. Greeneville, TN  37745).  Virginia Cooter teaches at North Greene High School in Greeneville, Tennessee where she has been teaching 9th & 11th grade science and emphasized earth science throughout her teaching.  Mrs. Cooter is the current President of the Tennessee Earth Science Teachers (TEST) and serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Science Teachers Association (TSTA).  Her strong support of earth science education has led her to participate in numerous programs designed to revitalize earth science education, not just in Tennessee, but nationally.  Mrs. Cooter was part of one of the field test teams for the American Geological Institute’s EarthComm curriculum, which she now uses in her classroom.  Much of her approach to teaching involves finding ways for her students to participate in science, such as when her class sent sand samples as part of an experiment on board a NASA shuttle mission.  Her expertise has been recognized by the State of Tennessee, as she has been instrumental in the revision of state science standards.  She devotes much of her summer time toward enhancing her science content knowledge through workshop participation, and traveling to create remote experiences for her students.

 

Congratulations to Virginia Cooter for her accomplishments.  You have established an admirable role model for us to follow.

National Association of Geoscience Teachers

OUTSTANDING EARTH SCIENCE TEACHER AWARD

Nomination / Application Form

Name _________________________________________________________ Years Teaching __________

Street Address ___________________________________________ Telephone _____________________

City, State & Zip __________________________________e-mail  _______________________________

College/University attended__________________________ Degree(s)________ Major_______________

Annual percentage class time devoted to teaching earth science ____________ Grade level(s) __________

Name of School ________________________________ Telephone____________ Fax _______________

School Address _________________________________________________________________________

Name and Address of School District Superintendent ___________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Name and Address of Local Newspaper______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

Respond to the following, using no more than one typewritten page per item. Include

supporting documentation in the form of letters, products, or publications as appropriate.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1.   Teaching ability: What techniques does the nominee/applicant employ? What is his/her teaching philosophy? Are his/her courses challenging and comprehensive? Do students enjoy his/her classes?

2.   Inventiveness: What new ideas, materials, software, instructional strategies, or techniques has the nominee/applicant developed?

3.   Initiative: How does the nominee/applicant handle new situations and accommodate students of various abilities? Be specific.

4.   Cooperativeness: How does the nominee/applicant cooperate in the total school program and in other academic areas?

5.   Strengths: What are the principal strengths of the nominee/applicant?

6.   Community involvement: How is the nominee/applicant involved in community and/or youth activities?

7. Other activities: List other professional activities and noteworthy accomplishments.

 

Name of Nominator ____________________________________________Telephone ___________________

 

Address __________________________________________ E-mail _________________________________

 

___________________________ Signature of Nominator (or Applicant) ______________________________

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Send all forms, materials, and supporting documentation in one package to:

 

Executive Director

National Association of Geoscience Teachers

P.O. Box 5443

Bellingham, WA 98227-5443

 

or

 

The OEST Chair of your local

NAGT Section

 

Please feel free to copy this form for nomination purposes.


 

AGI Report - National Perspectives on K-12 Earth Science Education

A brief report on the status of K-12 Earth science education in our nation's schools is provided by the American Geological Institute's Education Department. The report summarizes the findings of several national surveys on K-12 teaching and a telephone survey of state science curriculum specialists conducted by AGI Education Staff in early November, 2001.

 

The 50-page online National Status Report on K-12 Earth Science Education report (one page per state) provides answers to 18-20 questions about earth science enrollments, standards, instruction, and assessment. The report, links to data sources, and a reviewer feedback form that you can use to provide feedback and corrections to AGI are available at: http://www.agiweb.org/education/statesurveys/survey.html .

 

Interestingly, while Earth Science appears on the radar screen of reformers at the state level, there is a large gap between vision and practice, particularly at the high school level. National reform documents like the AAAS Project 2061 - Benchmarks for Science Literacy and the NRC's - National Science Education Standards, have been in circulation for 5-7 years and call for the inclusion of Earth Science understanding for K-12. In the last seven years, 49 states have produced K-12 science content standards, all 49 of which include Earth Science content within the standards for grades 9-12. 

 

However...

·         only four of fifty states reported 50% or more of 9th grade students enrolled in an Earth science course in 1997-98;

 

·         only two states require an Earth science course for high school graduation;

 

·         colleges and universities in some states do not accept high school Earth science as meeting the laboratory science requirement for college entrance; and

 

·         only 7 to 13 % of all high school graduates nationwide take an Earth science course during their 4 years of high school.

 

 

 

NEW EDUCATIONAL PUBLICATIONS OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF ALABAMA

 

Alabama Gold, Circular 104, originally published in 1980, has been one of the Survey’s most popular publications. The report contains information on how and where gold occurs in the state, a brief history of gold mining, and a summary of notable gold mining districts in Alabama for the general reader in clear, non-technical language.  Cost:  $5.75 + S/H.

 

Fossil Creatures of Alabama (Educational Series 12) is an educational poster showing photographs of 29 common and interesting fossils found in Alabama.  The brief text describes what fossils are, how they are formed, their importance, and legal issues concerning their collection.  Also included is a brief section on Alabama’s geologic history.  Educational Series 12 is written in non-technical language and is recommended as an educational aid to promote interest in science and natural history among students and interested laypersons of all educational backgrounds.  Cost:  $1.00 + S/H. 

 

Water Down Under is an 86-page fully illustrated booklet about ground water.  Cost:  $2 + S/H.

 

Copies of these publications may be obtained from:

 

http://www.gsa.state.al.us/     or

Publication Sales Office

Geological Survey of Alabama

P.O. Box 869999

Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35486-6999


EARTH SCIENCE “PLUG-INS” FOR SCIENCE REFORM:

EarthComm and Investigating Earth Systems

 

As most everyone who reads this is aware, science education reform (National Science Education Standards [NSES], etc.) has placed Earth Science on equal standing with chemistry, physics, and the life sciences.  Therefore, there is no better time than now to work toward the restoration of Earth Science from its present second rate status in most states and in some states - no status, to its rightful station.  As geoscience educators we must work to make the present the key to the future. 

 

A major NSES goal is for students to have an understanding of Earth, including the solar system, as a set of closely coupled systems.  When systems science is applied to the Earth it provides a framework in which students can investigate in their everyday environment the four major interacting components of the Earth System - geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

 

The American Geological Institute (AGI) through NSF funding have developed two new Earth Science curricula.  These curricula, Investigation Earth Systems (Grades 6-8) and Earth System Science in the Community (Grades 9-12), not only utilize the systems approach, but were guided in design by the NSES and the AAAS Project 2061.  Authenticity of the curricula is assured because development was guided by hundreds of classroom teachers who piloted and field tested the materials, but just as important, the curricula are backed by over 500,000 geoscientists who represent more than 35 professional geoscience organizations - that says a lot.  The fact is, these materials were not authored by one or a few authors, but most importantly, by teachers for teachers.  To learn more about these curricula it is suggested that you visit:  http://www.agiweb.org/education/index.html

 

It is true that these are not the only viable curricula for resurrecting Earth Science, but they may be the strongest presently available for serious consideration as vehicles to promote Earth Science education in the middle and high schools of America.  Significant attributes of both curricula are:

 

• They are modular, allowing for adoption of all or parts, especially useful for systems teaching integrated science.

 

• They are inquiry-based utilizing hands-on and minds-on approaches designed for cooperative and active-learning.

 

• Teacher’s editions for each of the modules are the most complete of any such documents this writer has ever seen - pedagogy, assessment, strategies, etc. - a real trove of resources.  A virtual tool box to assist any teacher making the changes advocated by the NSES.

 

• They are community oriented - science and scientists in the “real world” are integral to the modules as activities and investigations are centered around the students’ community.

 

• Every activity and/or investigation is made in the context of the Earth systems connections.

 

The vehicles are ready.  The motors are running.  What is needed now are drivers and passengers.  Drivers to keep the pedal to the metal and steer, and passengers who will profit from the ride and encourage others to make the trip.  You can be a driver.  If you aren’t already familiar with these curricula, do so.  Visit the AGI Website.  AGI and the publisher, Its About Time offer an Institute during the summer (sort of Drivers Training) that equips willing drivers to go on the road to gather passengers.  If you need further information about these curricula and/or professional development opportunities related to them, you can contact me (dbyerly@utk.edu) or at AGI - Matt Smith (mcs@agiweb.org) or Michael Smith (msmith@agiweb.org).


 

** IMPORTANT NOTE TO STATE SE NAGT REPRESENTATIVES **

All state reps are asked to attend or send an alternate to the SE NAGT Sectional representatives and officers breakfast meeting will be held on Thursday, April 4, from 6:30 am to 8 am.  The place has not been finalized as of yet.  Information will follow by e-mail.

 

REGIONAL NEWS

 

Tennessee  (reported by Stan Dunagan and Michael Gibson)

 

·         The 2002 Tennessee Academy of Science Western Collegiate Meeting will be hosted by LeMoyne-Owen College, in Memphis on March 23, 2002.  This meeting is intended as a forum for undergraduate student research.  Undergraduate researchers in all areas of science, mathematics, and computer science are encouraged to present their work in various sessions during the meeting.  There will be a $10 registration fee for all attending the meeting.  Lunch will be provided to all registrants.  If you need any additional information, please contact: 

 

Delphia F. Harris

LeMoyne-Owen College

807 Walker Ave.

Memphis, TN   38126

E-mail address: df_harris@loc.edu

Phone number:     901-947-7415

FAX number:         901-942-6245

 

·         Dr. Albert Ogden at Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) has produced a 15 minute video on groundwater and karst in Tennessee for college and high school.  The video was sponsored by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation(TDEC).  Inquiries should be made to Tom Moss, Manager of Groundwater section at TDEC (tmoss@mail.state.tn.us).

 

·         The Tennessee Earth Science Teachers (TEST) held its annual meeting in conjunction with the Memphis NSTA meeting (see below).  At the meeting TEST discussed workshop plans for the 2002 TSTA meeting in Nashville, made plans to submit their Smoky Mountain Rock Box workshop to the NSTA national meeting in Philadelphia, PA, and discussed teacher development needs.  TEST officers meet in Nashville Jan. 26 at the home of Tina King for their annual meeting.  Topics of discussion included the state science standards, identifying session topics for the December 2002 TSTA meeting, grant outlines for teacher development, and identification of recipients of teaching awards. 

 

·         The southeastern regional meeting for National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) was held on December 6-8, 2002, in Memphis, with several thousand teachers in attendance.  Over 36 sessions were devoted directly to earth science topics (more sessions than chemistry!).  Among the programs, Dr. Don Byerly and Farragut High School teacher Jane Skinner, representing TEST, ran a filled half-day short course entitled  “Great Smoky Mountains: A Geologic Laboratory  Rock Box”.  As part of the short course teachers were given activities and samples prepared by TEST members. 

 

·        TEST’s annual Awards Breakfast featured several wards to earth science teachers.  The state and regional OEST awards for 2001 were presented to Virginia Cooter.  Dr. Michael Gibson (UT Martin) received the TEST's Ptero Award for contributions to supporting earth science education in Tennessee.  The award was established in 1998 and is named after the Official State Fossil of Tennessee, Pterotrigonia thoracica from the Cretaceous Coon Creek Formation.

 


Alabama (reported by David C. Kopaska-Merkel)

 

·         Once again this year Earth Science Week was celebrated around Alabama.  We are aware of five activities in which the Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) participated, and if past years are any guide schools around the state probably held celebrations that we don't know about.  GSA activities included:

 

Ø      In October 2001, the Survey co-hosted (with the University of West Alabama) a one-day field workshop in paleontology for K-12 science teachers.  It was well attended and very popular, and the GSA and UWA are hoping to be able to repeat the workshop in 2002.

Ø      The Survey also has released a 2002 wall calendar which features a remote-sensing image of the state.  Release of the calendar was timed to coincide with the 2001 Earth Science Week.

Ø      The Alabama Science Teachers Association annual meeting held in Mobile, shortly before Earth Science Week (October), was successful with ~250 teachers attending.  GSA hosted an exhibit and a workshop at this meeting, and distributed free earth-science educational materials.

Ø      The Survey's educational outreach program is donating science-education materials to public-school libraries in the state. These donations will be made in November.

Ø      GSA provided financial support and advice for an Earth Science Week display in Moody High School, Moody, Alabama.

Ø      The Governor of Alabama signed an Earth Science Week proclamation on October 5, 2001.

 

·         Alabama has not participated in the OEST program in recent years (if it ever did). We have instituted a new attempt to get OEST nominations and also to develop a state-level award as a means of encouraging nominations.  If all goes well, even though we are not likely to have a nominee this year, we may be able to participate in 2002.

 

·         In science education news, Alabama is choosing textbooks for public-school classrooms for the next few years.  The textbook committee, which includes a variety of scientists and educators, has chosen an excellent set of textbooks.  Last year we successfully revised our state science standards, removing some objectionable pseudoscientific language and replacing it with more appropriate material.  We did not succeed in removing the infamous disclaimer from biology textbooks, but a grass-roots movement is asking the State Board of Education to remove it.

 

·         Earth-science educational outreach programs in Alabama commonly face a lack of response from the public. Hands-on workshops are successful, but other kinds of assistance do not often seem to be what the customer needs. One outstanding exception is a new Library Grant Program of the GSA.  Awards of up to $250 for earth-science materials are offered to public-school libraries, and dozens of applications have been received.  Unfortunately, the small amount of money available will only permit a few grants to be awarded, but this is clearly an area of need.

 

·         On the academic side of geology, Alabama universities are again waiting with trepidation for budgetary decisions from the State Government.  Proration has resulted in significant cuts to university funding and last year, induced an unfortunate battle between K-12 and university proponents for what few dollars were available.  The funding issue promises to reappear this year, but its impact will not be known for a while.

 

·        The Alabama Geological Society (AGS) has initiated its first regional section outside of its traditional Tuscaloosa-Birmingham-Montgomery core.  The new South-western Alabama Geological Society Section covers Mobile and the surrounding counties and is a partnership between the AGS, the University of South Alabama (Department of Earth Sciences) and the university’s student Earth Science Club.  One of the planned activities of the Earth Sciences Club and the Department of Earth Sciences is to provide rock and mineral teaching kits to area schools.  The first kits will be distributed next spring in conjunction with the new "Rock and Roll Road Show", a series of demonstrations and lectures designed to enhance geological teaching in local schools.
Your SE NAGT State Representatives

Alabama

Douglas W. Haywick

University of South Alabama

LSCB 136

Mobile, AL 36688-0002

dhaywick@jaguar1.usouthal.edu

334.460.6381

 

David Kopaska-Merkel

Geological Survey of Alabama

P.O. Box 869999

Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-6999

davidkm@gsa.state.al.us

205.349.2852

 

Mississippi

Gail S. Russell

Department of Geology, Box 5045

University of Southern Mississippi

Hattisburg, MS 39406

Gail.Russell@usm.edu

601.266.4077

 

North Carolina

Mary Watson

NC Geological Survey

Division of Land Resources, 1612MSC

Raleigh, NC 27699-1612

Mary.Watson@ncmail.net

919.733.2423

 

Florida

Jonathan R. Bryan

Earth Sciences

Okaloosa-Walton Jr. College

100 College Blvd.

Niceville, FL 32578

bryanj@owcc.net

850.729.5246

 

South Carolina

John Wagner

Department of Geological Sciences

P.O. Box 340976

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634-0976

jrwgnr@clemson.edu

864.656.5024

Georgia

Pamela Gore

Department of Geology

Georgia Perimeter College

555 North Indian Creek Drive

Clarkston, GA 30021

pgore@gpc.peachnet.edu

404.299.4099

 

Nancy Huebner

Fernbank Science Center

156 Heaton Park Drive

Atlanta, GA  30307

n.huebner@fernbank.edu 404.370.8080

Tennessee

Stan P. Dunagan

Department of Geology and Geography

P.O. Box 4418

Austin Peay State University

Clarksville, TN 37044

dunagans@apsu.edu

931.221.6387

 

Michael A. Gibson

Dept. of Geology, Geography, and Physics

215 Joseph E. Johnson EPS Bldg.

The University of Tennessee at Martin

Martin, TN  38238

mgibson@utm.edu 

731.587.7435

 

Louisiana

Andrea Walker

801 Pontalba Street

New Orleans, LA 70124

504.488.5268

andrealwalker@hotmail.com

 

 


 

 

 

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