Tinker to Attend NSF EarthScope Workshop
Scott Tinker has been invited to represent the Bureau and other state geologic surveys at the EarthScope Education and Outreach Workshop, an education and outreach workshop in support of EarthScope, a major NSF research partnership initiative embracing more than 100 universities, the NSF, USGS, NASA, DOE, regional seismic networks, and state geological surveys. The workshop, scheduled for January 30-February 1, 2002, will be held at the National Center Atmospheric Research Mesa Labs Facility in Boulder, Colorado. Visit their website at http://www.earthscope.org.
Getting the Word Out: Linking EarthScope Public and K-12 Outreach to State Geologic Surveys

Scott W. Tinker and Susan D. Hovorka
Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin

ABSTRACT

State geologic surveys are uniquely positioned to facilitate EarthScope outreach. Outreach is a central element of state surveys' missions, as is demonstrated by nearly all surveys who list outreach conspicuously on their main Web sites. State surveys are geographically close to the public and educational groups that they serve and are well connected to state education agencies and regional science education communities. Familiarization with state curricula and testing goals will thus become a priority if a large number of public schools are to participate in EarthScope outreach programs. Additionally, because teacher travel for training is limited by time and budget, having a local provider would be an effective mechanism to increase teacher participation. The applied research programs that dominate state survey activities have given staff the expertise to make current scientific results engaging to non-technical and public audiences, which is key to successful EarthScope education and outreach. Finally, state surveys have a long history of diverse public and K-12 education outreach via publications, public information services, Web resources, and formal outreach programs, such as workshops, field camps, and open houses. Many state surveys even keep experienced outreach personnel on staff.


Linking EarthScope outreach projects to these already successful and well-known geoscience outreach programs in state surveys is an attractive and low-cost way of reaching the K-16 students and the general public. An overview of the outreach program at the Bureau of Economic Geology (Texas State Survey) serves to illustrate how a limited number of participating state surveys could serve as regional centers for EarthScope outreach activities. This model has been used successfully by state surveys for other types of collaborative research, such as resource atlas preparation, the high plains aquifer coalition, and Gulf Coast study.