There's an issue of Eos sitting on my desk at work with a front-page article about how to manage outreach. Earth scientists know stuff that's important - this week's huge earthquakes (covered all over the geoblogosphere) are just one example. Water's another. And climate. And volcanoes. And landslides. And... well, you get the picture. So outreach is important.
But the best outreach might be the stuff that goes on every day in schools. My kid's lucky - he lives in a college town, with all sorts of students and professors providing opportunities to learn cool stuff. But a lot of kids don't have those advantages.
DonorsChoose.org lets us help the teachers who need funding to give their kids opportunities. This month, ScienceBlogs is participating in the Social Media Challenge - many of the bloggers here have set up pages at DonorsChoose to bring attention to some worthwhile projects. The geobloggers don't want the earth sciences left out, so we're participating. Anne Jefferson (Highly Allochthonous), Erik Klemetti (Eruptions), and I have a list of projects dealing with rocks, sand, water, weather, soil, and anything that gets kids outside.
Here's one example of a project. An 8th-grade class in a poor rural community in Washington wants to purchase soil sampling equipment. Their teacher has arranged for a visit by a guest speaker, and wants the students to prepare by doing their own experiments. It sounds like a great idea to make outreach even more worthwhile. But the class needs the funding by October 11 - only 11 days from now. If the readers of geobloggers pitch in (just a little per person), maybe we can let this cool idea happen.
There's a link to DonorsChoose on my sidebar. Click the link, choose a project, and help schools teach about the Earth.
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