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

April 2017 News and Notes

Check out our PAESTA leaders, members, and friends on the K-12 teacher field workshop held on Saturday, March 18, as part of the Northeast/North-Central Geological Society of America Meeting. Workshop leader Dr. Karen Rose Cercone from Indiana University of Pennsylvania led the group with guides from the Montour Run Watershed Association and saw how this polluted stream near the Pittsburgh International Airport was cleaned up using new environmental methods. Thank you, Dr. Cercone, for a wonderful fieldtrip!
From the PAESTA President - Greetings from your president!


Greetings PAESTA members!  April showers will be soon ushering in May flowers, or so the lore goes. But as climate change advances unabated, will we need to change the saying to “April showers bring April flowers?”  Research has been showing that for many eastern plants, the dates of first flowering times are occurring earlier and earlier, just another hard to ignore piece of evidence pointing towards a warming Earth.


Thanks to all who came to Pittsburgh for our PAESTA-sponsored K-12 weekend at the NE/NC Joint GSA Conference last month.  If you weren’t able to make it, be sure to check out the excellent presentations archived on our website. For anyone that missed their chance to attend or present this year but who is interested in contributing at next year’s NSTA National Conference, the deadline for session proposals is coming up fast! All session proposals are due by April 17, 2017, for the 2018 NSTA National Conference in Atlanta, GA. Don’t miss the opportunity to share your great teaching ideas with the rest of the country!


Earth Day is Saturday, April 22!  Since it falls on a weekend, don’t let that educational week prior go by without emphasizing this year’s theme in your classes: environmental and climate literacy.  It’s not too early even now to start building excitement in your classes for Earth Day and for the many simultaneous science marches across the country that will be making a positive statement about the importance of science, science research, and science education.  Please take a minute to read our statement of support.  I hope to see you on April 22nd marching for science!


Save the dates for our upcoming PAESTA workshop events:

·       Saturday, June 17, 2017: Afternoon PAESTA Conference at Penn State University Park

·      Saturday, October 14, 2017: All-day Fall PAESTA Conference at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, PA)


Details will be posted soon!

Dave Curry, PAESTA President

April PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

This month we recognize Kelly Lannutti from The High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Heather Olson from Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School. Both of these Philadelphia teachers took the time to share with their students the importance of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its mission to protect human health and the environment. Their students then wrote cards and letters to the EPA Region 3 office to show support for EPA's work and its employees.

Congratulations, Kelly and Heather - you both clearly are a

***NEW*** House Resolutions from the General Assembly of PA  

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania has approved the following two House Resolutions:
  • House Resolution #172 - designates the week of April 22 through 29, 2017, as “Earth Week” in Pennsylvania
  • House Resolution #182 - designates the week of April 23 through 29, 2017, as "STEAM Initiative Week" in Pennsylvania
Please celebrate these weeks with your students and fellow science teachers!

Ocean Literacy resources and updates  

The National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) Ocean Literacy Committee’s recently hosted a webinar series on ocean literacy, and you can now access recording of all three of the sessions on their blog. The webinars covered: Exploring and Applying the Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K–12, Alignment of the Ocean Literacy Framework with the Next Generation Science Standards, and Organizing for Ocean Literacy - Implementation at Different Scales.

You can also find an update on the international survey efforts there, including an in-depth infographic related to their findings to date and what they have planned next.

Free Printable USGS PDF TOPO! Maps

National Geographic has built an easy to use web interface that allows anyone to quickly find any 7.5 minute topo in the continental U.S.A. for downloading and printing. Each topo has been pre-processed to print on a standard home, letter size printer. These are the same topos that were printed by USGS for decades on giant bus-sized presses but are now available in multi-page PDFs that can be printed just about anywhere. To explore the collection, visit:

New NSF-funded videos highlight 'Human Water Cycle'

Water. It's an essential building block of life, constantly moving in a hydrologic cycle that flows in a continuous loop above, across and even below the Earth's surface. But water is also constantly moving through another cycle -- the human water cycle -- that powers our homes, hydrates our bodies, irrigates our crops and processes our waste. The tight connection between water, food and energy makes them dependent on one another. Our increasing need for these three vital resources is forcing us to rethink how we manage and use our water supply. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has joined with NBC Learn to release a four-part video series, the "Human Water Cycle," that explores the connection between water, food and energy.

Videos include:
Water, Food & Energy, Drinking Water, Agriculture, Wastewater

Fact Sheets on Earthquakes and More 

Did you know that IRIS has fact sheets about earthquakes, seismometers & more in both English and Spanish? Fact sheets of interest to PAESTA members and their classrooms include:

AGI & Partners Publish Geoscience Policy Recommendations for New Administration

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has signed a new consensus document, Geoscience Policy Recommendations for the New Administration and the 115th Congress. The document outlines strategies for achieving shared national interests in which geoscience plays a key role, offering recommendations around five high-level thematic areas:

  • Enhancing National and Homeland Security
  • Increasing Economic Prosperity
  • Securing Resources and Strengthening National Infrastructure
  • Supporting and Growing Strong and Resilient Communities
  • Growing a Dynamic Workforce
View the full press release and view the document on the PAESTA website.

APRIL 22: March for Science    

From the March for Science website: "The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted." The March for Science encourages participation from scientists, teachers, students, and anyone that has a passion for science. 

There are eight locations in Pennsylvania where the March for Science will be taking place. Please view this interactive map to locate the closest march to you (note this map lists national and international sites).

*If you missed our special issue of News and Notes last month where we announced PAESTA's endorsement of the March for Science in DC and at the Pennsylvania sites, you can read the statement here.

Science Matters eBlast  

Science Matters is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association and the National Science Teachers Association to promote quality science education, through the sharing of information, resources, and professional development opportunities. The Pennsylvania state coordinator is Dave Bauman:

You can become a member of Science Matters to receive it directly. Go to:

CONTEST: 2017 PA Middle School-High School ArcGIS Online Competition  

The PA Alliance for Geographic Education along with PAMAGIC, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, PASDA (Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access) and ESRI are happy to announce the 2017 ArcGIS Online (AGO) map competition for middle school and high school students across the Commonwealth. This competition allows students to demonstrate problem solving, map analysis, and storytelling with maps. All Pennsylvania public, private, or homeschooled students are eligible to enter the contest. Maps can be submitted individually or as a team of two students. There is a limit of one entry per student (as an individual or as part of a team). For this year’s competition, students should develop an AGO: Story Map; Presentation; or Web App which addresses this year’s theme: “Pennsylvania: Past, Present, and Future.”

Registration deadline is April 10th. Map deadline is April 20th. View full contest details here.

Welcome our new Facebook manager!

We thank PAESTA member Amanda Kirka for stepping up to manage our Facebook page! With over 1,000 people following PAESTA on Facebook, we are thrilled that Amanda is going to help us engage our followers with science news and teaching stories, in addition to our general PAESTA announcements. Amanda is an Earth and space science teacher at Brockton High School in Franklin, Massachusetts.

Visit PAESTA on Facebook at:

Bucks County Science Teachers Association Spring Meeting 2017

May 11, 2017, BCIU Office Building - Doylestown

Open to all K-12 teachers and leaders (those outside of Bucks County are welcome to attend). Link to Registration.

The Bucks County Science Teachers Association will host its spring meeting on May 11, 2017. The highlight of the meeting will be a keynote presentation by Dr. Carla Zembal-Saul, Kahn Professor of STEM Education at Penn State University.

3:30 - 4:15 PM: Registration and Vendors
4:15 - 5:00 PM: Session 1
5:15 - 6:00 PM: Session 2**
6:00 - 6:30 PM: Dinner
6:30 - 7:15 PM: Keynote Presentation

** Session 2 will include ACESSE Focus Groups: 3-D Learning and Assessment to create Equitable STEM Education for All.

Questions? Contact Julie Rossi, (215)-348-2940 ext. 1431 or

Additional information on the PAESTA website and around the internet

We have lots of news and notices this month - too many to put in our newsletter! We encourage you to check out these announcements (and more!) on the PAESTA website:

How small are we in the scale of the universe? (from TED-Ed)

In 1995, scientists pointed the Hubble Telescope at an area of the sky near the Big Dipper. The location was apparently empty, and the whole endeavor was risky – what, if anything, was going to show up? But what came back was nothing short of spectacular: an image of over 1,500 galaxies glimmering in a tiny sliver of the universe. Alex Hofeldt helps us understand the scale of this image.   Here is the direct video link:
View this full TED-Ed lesson online for multiple-choice and open-response questions to share with students. The website also has additional resources to learn more about this topic.
Do you have any items or announcements to share in News and Notes? Contact us!
News and Notes Editor  --  Laura Guertin
News and Notes Assistant Editor  --  (vacant)
Copyright © 2017 PAESTA (Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association), All rights reserved.

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