Monday, June 13, 2011

News from National NAGT (From John McDaris)

Eastern Mojave Desert (see announcement below about Far Western Section Spring Meeting, 2012)
 1. NAGT Outstanding TA Award Deadline: June 1
The deadline for nominations for NAGT's Outstanding TA Award is June 15. NAGT recognizes outstanding teaching assistants in geoscience education with up to 30 awards annually. Both undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants are eligible for the award which consists of a one year membership in NAGT, a one year subscription to the Journal of Geoscience Education, and a certificate. If there is a TA in your department that you think deserves recognition for their efforts in the classroom, nominate them using the form on the program's webpage ( ).
2. NAGT Activities at GSA: Meetings, Receptions, Sessions, Workshops, and Field Trips

NAGT Meetings and Receptions have been added to the Activities page for the 2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. Dates and times for these meetings still need to be confirmed but are available now so that members can begin making their plans to attend. Location information for the events will be added to the page as soon as it becomes available. In addition, the Activities page lists lists topical sessions, workshops, and field trips being sponsored by NAGT or it's sponsored projects.

Abstract submission for topical sessions is ongoing with a deadline of July 26 and registration for the meeting and workshops is now open as well with an Early Registration deadline of September 6. So check out the great offerings and join your fellow educators by taking part in several of these wonderful opportunities.
3. New NAGT Officers for 2011-12

Please join us in congratulating the new officers that were elected in this year's election.

Aida Awad (Maine East High School) - 2nd Vice President

Tamara Shapiro Ledley, PhD (Center for Science Teaching and Learning, TERC) - Councilor

Karl Wirth (Macalester College) - Councilor

You can read more about each of the new officers on the new officers biography page ( Their terms in the NAGT leadership will begin with the Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the GSA meeting this October in Minneapolis.
4. Draft Position Statement on High School Earth Science Instruction

In keeping with NAGT's core mission "to foster improvement in the teaching of the earth sciences at all levels of formal and informal instruction, to emphasize the cultural significance of the earth sciences and to disseminate knowledge in this field to the general public," a new draft position statement on High School Earth Science Instruction has been developed to establish NAGT's perspective on this important issue.

The Executive Committee invites all NAGT members to comment on the draft statement during the open comment period running from June 6 - September 6, 2011. The draft statement, along with all submitted feedback, will be presented to NAGT Council and voted upon at the Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the GSA meeting in October, 2011, in Minneapolis.

You can read and download the text of the draft position statement by going to Comments can be left in discussion threads at the bottom of the page or emailed directly to the Executive Director.
5. 2011 Award Announcements
Some of the NAGT awards programs have announced their winners for 2011. Be sure to check out the program pages on the website for more information about the awards and recipients.

Neil Miner Award (

Dr. Marjorie J. McKinney and the late Dr. F. Kenneth McKinney

James H Shea Award (

Dr. Naomi Oreskes, University of California San Diego

Bob Christman Distinguished Service Award (

Dr. Bob Ridky, US Geological Survey

USGS/NAGT Cooperative Field Training Program (

44 students have been selected as the 2011 class of USGS interns. These individuals will be hired by USGS for a period of up to 5 months and work on projects and be mentored by USGS scientists. Check out the program page for a full listing of the 2011 interns and the projects they will be working on this year.

Dottie LaLonde Stout Professional Development Grants (

Pete Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, VA

Shelley Jaye, North Virginia Community College, Fairfax, VA

Kimberly Thompson, Annistown Elementary School, Snellville, GA

Christine Witkowski, Middlesex Community College, Middletown, CT

Scholarships for Field Study (

For 2011, scholarships were granted to 18 undergraduate students studying geoscience to help offset the cost of attending a field camp or other field-based course. Included in the total are two scholarships awarded in conjunction with the Association of Women Geoscientists. See the Field Scholarship page for a listing of the students and their institutions.
6. North Central Section Meeting and Field Trip: Sinks Canyon Area, Lander, Wyoming, July 20-22

Share curriculum ideas with other geoscience educators in the peaceful setting of Sinks Canyon. Followed by an optional, two-day field trip. Information and registration materials are available on the North Central Section website ( Contact Suki Smaglik with any questions or comments.
7. Far West Section Spring 2012 Meeting: El Camino College, Torrance, California, March 2-4, 2012

El Camino College will be hosting the spring 2012 National Association of Geoscience Teachers Conference at the Desert Studies Center in Zzyzx, California on March 2 - 4, 2012. Field trips will focus on various aspects of the Mojave Desert and are currently being planned. Zzyzx (which is pronounced zy - zicks with emphasis on the "zy"), California has a colorful history of its own and once was a resort which featured mineral springs and mud baths, and was renowned as a health resort. Some of these facilities are partially preserved and make for wonderful photographic opportunities with the background of Soda Dry Lake. Today, the California State University system has established a consortium which administers the Desert Studies Center, facilitates research in a variety of disciplines, and aids the preservation of the endangered Mohave tui chub.

Baker, California is located 11 miles to the north east from the Desert Studies Center and has a variety of motels, restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities, some of which are quite unique. "Home of the World's Tallest Thermometer" is Baker's claim to fame and the height of the thermometer at 134 feet or 41 meters was selected when the community recorded the highest temperature ever recorded in the United States (in Death Valley) at 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. However, it is also a gateway to Death Valley and other scenic areas of the Mohave Desert. Many travelers come to know Baker as they fill their gas tanks during their excursions to and from Las Vegas, Nevada to Los Angeles, California. Baker, California is approximately 177 miles or 285 kilometers north east of Los Angeles, California. Las Vegas, Nevada is located about 88 miles or 142 kilometers to the north east of Baker, California.

The Desert Studies Center has a meeting room, an area for social gatherings and poster sessions, audio visual capabilities with wireless internet, dormitory facilities (advanced registration required and individuals bring their own bedding or sleeping bag), shower facilities, a chef who will prepare the hot breakfasts, dinners and packaged lunches, a store which features items related to Zzyzx, wonderful star gazing opportunities (clear skies permitting), and a wonderful view of Soda Dry Lake, the California Fan Palms and the Chub Pond. All of the field trips will leave from the Desert Studies Center.

In addition to the field trips, workshops, the banquet, and the NAGT Far Western Section business meeting, student posters are strongly encouraged. It is hoped that each school with faculty in attendance will have at least one student poster. The best posters will receive special recognition. Please plan to attend!

Please contact Lynn Fielding with any questions about the spring 2012 NAGT Meeting.
8. Field Experience for Earth Science Teachers - Learn About Groundwater and Wells - Flagstaff, AZ

NGWA, Arizona Project WET (part of the University of Arizona), and Northern Arizona University, as well as practicing groundwater professionals are collaborating to provide this nontraditional, insightful, and memorable educational opportunity taking place in the shadow of the Grand Canyon.

During the course, participants will:

Conduct an aquifer (pumping) test

Observe the influence of surface water/groundwater interaction in actual field conditions

Identify geologic formations and recognize their capacity for groundwater production

Experience the drilling, construction, and development of a water supply well

Interact and confer with practicing groundwater professionals in real-world circumstances

Learn how to infuse 21st century learning, communication, and collaborative learning skills into classroom instruction

Deepen your content knowledge about the groundwater resource

Discover how to model the inquiry process using problem-solving and critical-thinking skills with local, regional, and national content

More detail on the course is available at
9. NESTA Survey of Earth and Space Science Teachers
In order to better serve Earth and space science teachers, the National Earth Science Teachers Association has prepared an anonymous survey ( to gather information about your Earth and space science education needs and concerns, your satisfaction with NESTA services (if you are a member), and your ideas about how NESTA can serve you better. Please take a moment to complete this survey at your earliest convenience. You may receive notice about this survey from a variety of sources, but please be sure to only complete the survey once! Thanks so much for your time and effort!

10. Community Advertisements

Freelance Writer Editor/Science

Words & Numbers ( ), a leading developer of educational content, is seeking contract or freelance writers and editors to work on a variety of projects.

Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Associate, Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) at the University of Maine

The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) at the University of Maine seeks applicants for postdoctoral positions in physical sciences education research (chemistry, physics, Earth sciences). Candidates must have a Ph.D. in science, science education, or a closely related field; have a strong research record in discipline-based education research; and have demonstrated excellence in teaching.  

Historic Narrow-gauge Railroad Geology Train Trip

Geology Train Excursion on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad along the Colorado-New Mexico border with stops to examine geologically interesting sites. The day-long trip will be on June 26th, 2011.