Saturday, February 26, 2011

Registration Deadline Extended: Far Western Section Meeting

The registration deadline for the Spring 2011 NAGT conference (see previous post), to be held at Caltech in Pasadena, CA, on March 25 - 27, has been extended to March 11. The registration fee is $95 for all payment postmarked by March 11. For payment postmarked after March 11, the fee will be $125. Go to the conference web site at
Students of the geological sciences are invited and encouraged to attend Far Western Section events at greatly reduced rates. See the conference website for details. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Far Western Section, National Association of Geoscience Teachers Spring Meeting: Caltech Tectonics Observatory, March 25-27, 2011

Have you ever wanted to know more about the geology of southern California, the San Andreas fault, and some of the incredibly strange rocks that crop out around the San Gabriel Mountains, like Vasquez Rocks or Devil's Punchbowl? The Far Western Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers invites you to join us on March 25-27, 2011 for our spring meeting, hosted by the Caltech Tectonics Observatory in Pasadena, California. These meetings are a great way to learn some fascinating geology, meet some fascinating people, and as much as I would like to say "have a scholarly time", I'm going to instead say "have a fun time".

Complete details of the meeting can be found on the Caltech Tectonics Observatory website at You do not need to be a member of NAGT to attend (but we will gladly welcome you into membership if you wish to!), and the cost of the event is modest (less than $100 if you register before Feb. 25, plus a bit more for the Saturday banquet).

Check out the wonderful slate of activities and field trips below!

Field trips:
•Erosion and Sediment Transport in steep Mountain Terrain, San Gabriel Mountains - Mike Lamb (Caltech)

•San Gabriel Anorthosite and the San Andreas Fault - Bruce Carter (Pasadena Community College)

•Vasquez Rocks - Elisabeth Nadin (UA, Fairbanks) and Rebecca Walker (Mt San Antonio College)

•Devil's Punchbowl and Red Rock Canyon - Donald Prothero (Caltech/Occidental College)

Evening Speakers:
•Good Vibrations Inside the Earth - Jennifer Jackson (Caltech)

•TBD -Jess Adkins (Caltech)

Exhibits and tours:
•Tour of Seismo Lab - Margaret Vinci (Caltech)

•Southern CA Earthquake Center (SCEC) display

•Low-T Thermometry and Thermochronometry and Applications (including dating the formation of the Grand Canyon) - Ken Farley, John Eiler, and Brian Wernicke (Caltech)

•Earthquake Magnitude, Energy, and Focal Mechanisms (beach balls) - Joann Stock (Caltech)

•Plate Tectonic Rotation of the Transverse Ranges: what happened, how we know it happened, and how it created Southern California’s unique geography, climate, ocean currents and biological richness - Tanya Atwater (UCSB)

•Historical Earthquakes and Uplift/Subsidence of Sumatra from Coral Growth Rings - Elizabeth Nadin (UA, Fairbanks) and Belle Philibosian (Caltech)

•Operations of Community Seismometer Network (How your laptop can help scientists better understand earthquakes) - Tom Heaton and Ming-Hei Cheng (Caltech)

Friday, February 11, 2011

NAGT Annual Awards and Deadlines: Nominate Someone Special!

NAGT offers a variety of awards and grants to educators, and scholarships to students. Consider nominating a deserving colleague or student to recognize exceptional service or work. For more information on nomination procedures go to the NAGT Awards website at

Awards, Grants, Scholarships, and Deadlines:

OEST Award: for outstanding K/12 teachers, deadline June 1st.

Neil Miner Award: for exceptional contributions in stimulating interest in the earth sciences, deadline April 1st.

James Shea Award: for exceptional contributions to geoscience writing or editing, deadline April 1st.

Bob Christman Distinguished Service Award: for outstanding service to NAGT, deadline open.

Dorothy Stout Professional Development Grant: financial grants up to $750.00 to community college faculty or students, and K-12 teachers, deadline April 15th.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: for exceptional undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants, deadline June 15th.

Scholarships for Field Study: for undergraduates ($500.00) attending any field-based class as part of their degree requirements, deadline February 16th.

NAGT Two-Year College Section to be Proposed

From Jackie Hams of the Far Western Section....

The Executive Committee of NAGT unanimously passed a resolution in support of establishing a two-year college (2YC) section within NAGT at their October 30, 2010 meeting in Denver. Formation of a 2YC group within NAGT was a recommendation of a June 2010 NAGT/NSF sponsored workshop titled, “The Role of Two-Year Colleges in Geoscience Education and in Broadening Participation in the Geosciences: A Planning Workshop.” The workshop brought together 31 2YC geoscience instructors and representatives of agencies and funding organizations.

An organizational committee of 13 2YC faculty is developing a mission statement and structure for a 2YC section to submit to the NAGT Executive Committee in April. The 2YC committee is studying similar groups in other science professional associations and discussing how a 2YC section can work closely with regional NAGT sections. Recognition of the 2YC community by NAGT will provide a national voice for institutions which are estimated to enroll approximately 45% of the undergraduates and minority students in the country, and play an important role in the science education of pre-service and K-12 teachers as well as life-long learners. NAGT members will be asked to vote on changes to the NAGT Constitution to establish a 2YC section.