Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (www.beg.utexas.edu).
2004 GSA Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, November 7–10, 2004
on Public and K-12 Programs at the
Susan D. Hovorka, John R. Andrews, Sigrid J. Clift, Tiffany L. Hepner, James C. Gibeaut, Scott D. Rodgers, David C. Jennette, and Jay A. Raney
The Bureau serves as the State Geologic Survey of Texas as well as a research unit of the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Connection to current geoscience research provided by the Bureau is popular with K-12 students and teachers because it links curriculum with current issues in a way that is difficult to achieve with textbook knowledge. Contact with geoscience professionals adds a human dimension to knowledge. Use of technology makes information exciting and available. Here we present selected examples of our recent and under development projects in public and K-12 education.
A virtual reality display will let students and the public experience the recently completed numerical simulation of flow though the Edwards aquifer in action. This visualization is under development through partnership of Bureau researchers with the Witte Museum and USGS in San Antonio.
Three hundred Austin area 8th graders meet with 60 local earth science professionals to explore career options during National Earth Science Week each year. This experience trains students about earth science and provides mentoring to increases participation of earth scientists through out the community in outreach.
Bureau research on coastal change involves high school students living on the Texas coast to as part of a research team. Students monitor shoreline and coastal processes and share their data via the Internet.
To put the origin of Texas energy resources into geologic context, a 7-minute animation integrating recent knowledge of the evolution of the Gulf Coastal Plain is being prepared for the Wiess Energy Hall of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The Bureau also continues a long term commitment to outreach through the publication of guidebooks and maps. The popular “Down to Earth” series provides geoscience information about popular parks in an attractive format accessible to the public.