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Earth Science Week, Continued: You're About to get Schooled

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Welcome and thanks for listening to the USGS CoreCast, I'm Jennifer LaVista. This is the last episode in our special Earth Science Week 2007 series. Today we're bringing together all of this week's podcast topics, as well as other scientific and educational resources, and giving you the lowdown on why Earth Science Week is so important. We want to raise awareness about the Earth and its changing environments, and we want to help educate students, parents, teachers, and YOU-our listeners-about earth science and its important role in our educational system.

So we're talking with Bob Ridky, the Education Outreach Coordinator for the USGS, about the importance of earth science and the various educational resources that the USGS offers for people to learn more about...well, the planet they live on. Bob, thanks for joining us.


Happy to be here Jen.


So Bob, can you explain to us why earth science is so important to our educational system and what are the benefits or advantages of learning about the earth?


Well it's often been said that there's two things in life that people need to know. First is something about themselves and something about where they live. And certainly to know earth science and the world around you cuts to the second part of that to know something about your environment. So earth science is really, truly a fundamental kind of science that everybody needs to have a familiarity and literacy in.


That's great. Can you tell us a little bit about the educational resources that the USGS has to offer to students, teachers, and, really, anyone around the world?


USGS, being one of the oldest of the Federal science agencies established in 1879, we have an enormous wealth of information about ht Earth, about different physiographic provinces and our environment that we're a part of. So all of the USGS science is part of what I consider, to be a part of the education delivery system. In education we have K-12, we have informal education customers, we have university students and university professors now that are using the educational delivery system of our information very broadly and very generously.


So what are some of the things that teachers can find on our Web site?


Well one fo the things we have are all of the USGS holdings, many of the USGS holding, that are categorized by grade level and also by topic.


So, they're like lesson plans?


Well they're also coded that way. Some of it just may be basic maps; some of it may be basic science data. But we also then coded whether or not this is an activity, whether or not this is a lesson plan, whether or not this requires material. [Jen: that's great]. Yeah often times with the web there's so much information, you don't really know what's there until you get into it. So we've tried to sort that out so that they customer can have in some kind of coordinate, coherent way a feel for what it is that is on our educational website.


Yeah that's really helpful because there's a lot out there.


Yeah, and we're doing also something which I think is being picked up by other agencies and other individuals at least which I noticed. We started with this is what we have, this is what it looks like, this is what you can do with it. So those three categories are becoming more and more of the way in which we're deliver our information.


OK, great. Now, let's say I'm a student and I want to find out some resources on the web, what are some of things I'll find there.


Well, we have some wonderful information from, for instance, earthquakes...real-time earthquakes. We have dozens of them occurring everyday. So we not only portray from the National Earthquake Information Center, earthquakes which are occurring daily, but also the historical record. We have, of course, LANDSAT images that come out of EROS [Jen: Oh, and those are beautiful], they really are...and we now have real-time. You can see this as LANDSAT 7 tracks across North America. You can virtually have real-time imagery [Jen: That's so cool].

Yeah, and so we also have a wide range of information on mineral resources, we have all the biological division has a wide range of information from invasive species to West-Nile virus to mercury contamination. So all this kind of information, cutting edge, really timely, up to date, information is provided. We try to keep a handle on what is that the state standards, the National Science standards are bring forth in that structured educations sense and then we try to provide that material in a coordinated way so that teachers and those in that broad education community can find it.


That's great. I bet a lot of stuff to get some of the projects done. OK so, all of these educational resources on the USGS web site are great, but is there something else that parents or teachers can do to get their students more involved with earth science?


Very much so. And if there's' anything that needs to be done is get them outdoors. The real world is outdoors, it's not inside. And as you know there's been a lot of tension in recent years for what we're call this "Nature Deficit Disorder". Fewer and fewer kids are spending time outdoors and its national problem. [Jen: that's a shame]. And so that natural world, to use our natural parks systems, to use our parks, to use local state parks. And for families or individuals to go out and become part of that natural world and to understand, to observe, and interpret, to develop those good inquiries kinds of habits of mind is what science and a literate citizenry really requires. So many of the issues of today from climate change, to land use, to weather, to storms, these require an understanding of the earth and the best way to get the underpinnings and foundation for that is to go outside and become a part of it.


Yeah, to get out there and experience it [Bob: Yeah]. Well Bob, thank you so much for spending time with us. I know I've learned a lot about the resources at the USGS and I'm sure that our listeners have to. Now I think I'm going to catch some lunch outside, want to join me.


Sounds good. It's a good day out there.


It is. To learn more about the educational resources that the USGS has to offer, visit the USGS education web site at education-dot-usgs-dot-gov . . . and don't forget to listen to the other Earth Science Week CoreCasts that we've done this week to learn more about earth science.

Again, thanks to everyone for listing to the USGS CoreCasts . . . we hope you enjoy these, and we always look forward to your feedback and comments-please send them to corecast-at-usgs-dot-gov.

You can visit the CoreCast site by going to usgs-dot-gov and clicking the "Podcasts" tab in the top menu. Also, we've just added a way to subscribe to the CoreCast via e-mail. So if know someone who wants to listen but isn't familiar with podcasting, just tell them to sign up for e-mail subscription on the right-hand side of the CoreCast site.

The CoreCast is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. Happy Earth Science Week! Now get out there and explore!

[music fades in and out]

Mentioned in this segment:


Music credit:

"Give It Up Daddy Blues", Albinia Jones.

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Title: Earth Science Week, Continued: You're About to get Schooled

Description: In the fifth and final episode of our Earth Science Week coverage, USGS Education Coordinator Bob Ridky tells us why science education is important for everybody, why kids need to get outside, and more.

Location: USA

Date Recorded: 10/19/2007

Audio Producer: Jennifer LaVista , U.S. Geological Survey

Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

USGS CoreCast

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