Committed to the advancement, extension, improvement and coordination of Earth Science education across all levels

August 2014 News and Notes

This month's photo was taken at the headwaters of Antes Creek at Nippenose Spring. You can view this image and all past images geospatially located on a map at: 

Don't forget, YOU can have one of your Pennsylvania Earth science photos featured in our eNewsletter and on our website and social media sites! Visit this link to learn how:


Date: October 4, 2014
Location: The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, University Park, PA (Directions)

Register for the conference: September 26, 2014 deadline.
Submit a proposal to present: August 31, 2014 deadline.
Nominations for the PAESTA Award for Teaching Excellence: September 19, 2014 deadline.

Visit the conference website for the online forms to register and to submit your abstract and teacher nomination:

PLUS, check out our Conference Schedule page - more details are being added throughout the month. NEWLY ADDED: Friday evening observing at the Penn State rooftop observatory! SOON TO BE ADDED: A research lab tour and post-conference geology fieldtrip!  Stay tuned for these exciting updates and more!
From the PAESTA President - Think Summer, Think Fall, Think PAESTA Conference!

We have another monthly audio greeting from PAESTA President Laura Guertin! Please click here to listen to a short message, where Laura challenges us to think of how we can share our summer travel with our students, and to think about the PAESTA Conference.

(The PAESTA Classroom exercise Laura refers to in her podcast is called CO2 Concentration and the Keeling Curve from the Mauna Loa Observatory)

(And if you missed Laura's first podcast in July, you can access her first audio welcome at SoundCloud)
From the Past PAESTA President - A thank you from Kelly Hunter

As my term as your PAESTA President has come to an end, I wanted to say a final farewell. It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as the President of PAESTA over the last year. I hope that you all have enjoyed the year as much as I have. I would like to thank Laura Guertin for her endless support and hard work as both my President-Elect and Past-President, as I could not have done any of this without her. Also, thank you to everyone else who has supported me as I took on this role. This is an exciting time for PAESTA as ours is one of the few state ESTAs that is continuing to grow and thrive. I have the utmost confidence that we will keep this momentum and continue to grow. I am so looking forward to continuing my involvement with PAESTA in the future and to see the direction that Laura Guertin and Kathy Tait will take PAESTA! Although this is my farewell as President, it is not a goodbye. I am looking forward to seeing all of you in State College this October for our third annual conference!

-- Kelly Hunter, Past President, PAESTA

August PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month, we recognize Theresa Rabogliatti, who teaches grades 5-8 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Pittsburgh, PA, for being selected as an official 2014 NASA Educator Ambassador for the Mars MAVEN mission. Theresa is one of only 30 teachers nationwide chosen for this honor, and she now trains other teachers on topics fundamental to space science, specifically magnetism and spectroscopy.

Congratulations, Theresa - you clearly are a

Listen Current has FREE current events and lesson plans

We recently introduced you to a great online source of audio files with supporting education content for students called Listen Edition.  But Listen Edition is now Listen Current – new name and new user experience with the same great public radio content ready to use in your classroom!  You’ll see lots of improvements to how you search and browse to find the best stories for your students. Even better, Listen Current now offers a free teacher account that includes current events AND lesson plans. Check it out at:

Pennsylvania - A "Grape" Place to Be

Wine production in the Keystone State has increased dramatically over the past decade, with boutique vineyards opening all across the commonwealth. Still, it is not for its wines that Pennsylvania is renowned but rather for its growth of Concord juice grapes.  In fact, owing to the many vineyards producing that varietal in the microclimates around Lake Erie, one of the world's largest grape juice facilities is located in the northwestern part of the state.

Climate is one of several important factors in grape growing that makes a study of the fruit ideal for Earth science survey courses.  Proper temperature and rainfall are obviously essential, but additional key characteristics include topography, soil properties, amounts of insolation, and even prevailing wind direction.  Penn State Extension offers some specifics on what makes for a good vineyard site.  For a more detailed discussion of soil requirements, see this bulletin from Texas A&M.

Given that the fall harvest begins in mid-September and the vineyard discussion can serve as a survey course overview and basic skill builder, the start of the school year may be the perfect time for a grape-growing site assessment (virtual or outdoors!), and perhaps even to share a taste of nature's goodness.

Educators' Night Out and field trip funding at the Franklin Institute 

From our friends at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia  --  Mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 8 for The Franklin Institute's annual Educators' Night Out! Explore the all new Your Brain and Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out exhibits alongside new theater shows and hands-on workshops. Registration is required and will open on August 1. For more information, click here.

Also starting on August 1, through the US Airways Field Trip FUNd (under the Education tab), K-12 public schools can apply to receive a $500 grant to help fund transportation for educational field trips. Learn how your school may be eligible to receive transportation funding for a field trip to The Franklin Institute. Applications are available August 1 and the deadline to apply is September 15.

Earth Science Week Essay Contest - "Earth System Science in Today's World"

For students in grades 6-9
Deadline: October 17, 2014

Our planet’s land, water, air, and living things each affect and are affected by one another. Earth scientists observe these interactions among Earth systems — the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Scientists study these interactions to seize opportunities and address challenges in areas such as harnessing energy, farming land, ensuring safe water, preparing for natural disasters, protecting the environment, and building communities. Ask your students to explain one way that geoscientists’ study of Earth’s connected systems is helping to improve the world today. The essay should be no more than 300 words. For more contest information, visit:

NSDL Citizen Science Database

The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) has a new Citizen Science-focused collection! The collection is full of great ideas for projects to engage young students and professional scientists. From Globe at Night to Project Budburst, to Mountain Watch to Whale Song, click here to learn more about these twenty projects and how you and your students can become involved.

Free membership in IAGD - The International Association for Geoscience Diversity

The IAGD organization is charged with identifying current research opportunities and instructional best practices for underrepresented students with disabilities, while seeking to raise awareness of improving access and exposure to the geoscience disciplines for students and geoscientists with disabilities. Resources are grouped into the categories of blind and low vision, deaf and hard-of-hearing, non-apparent disability, physical (mobility) impairment, and inclusive design for learning. Membership is free and available at their website:

Teachers Wanted for NOVA Education's Advisory Board

The PBS NOVA Education team seeks to remain responsive to the evolving needs of teachers. To that end, they are seeking educators who use NOVA Ed resources to serve on a Teacher Advisory Board. The board will help the NOVA Education team to produce content that is as dynamic, engaging, and useful. If you are interested in learning more about possible service as a board member, please fill out this form to assist in the summer or fall.

NSTA New Science Teacher Academy

Applications for the 2014–2015 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy are currently being accepted. The year-long program was established to help reduce the high attrition rate in the science teaching profession by providing professional development and mentoring support to early-career science teachers. Science teachers located throughout the country who will be entering their second through fifth year of teaching and whose schedule is a minimum of 51 percent middle or high school science, are encouraged to apply to the program. For more information about the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy or to learn how to apply to become a fellow, please visit the Academy website ( Applications must be submitted no later than August 22, 2014, to be considered.

On the PAESTA website - did you know you can find...

Press releases written for students on scientific discoveries - what an excellent resource! Planet Press is an initiative from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) aimed at getting kids (mainly 7-11 year olds), parents, and educators interested in and engaged with up to date scientific research and news. Each Planet Press is reviewed by a scientist and educator to ensure the content is scientifically accurate and that the language used is appropriate for the 7-11 age range. For educators, these press releases can be used in the classroom to aid teaching about current subjects such as climate change or earthquakes and tsunamis, to make lessons more interesting and relevant by taking into account modern science and developments. To see previous Planet Press articles on our website, visit: Note that you will always be able to search for the latest articles on our website by using the "Planet Press" tag.
Copyright © 2014 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.
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