April 21, 2003
Contact: Cindy Martinez (703) 379-2480

AGI Announces Theme and Kick-Off Activities
for Earth Science Week 2003

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The American Geological Institute (AGI) has officially initiated planning for Earth Science Week 2003 by announcing this year’s theme, “Eyes on Planet Earth: Monitoring Our Changing World.” Earth Science Week 2003 will be celebrated October 12-18, and will have four national contests that are associated with the theme. The contests include a Visual Arts contest for elementary-school children, an Essay contest for middle- and high-school students, a Photography contest open to the public, and a Lesson Plan Design contest for teachers. For up-to-date information on Earth Science Week activities, visit

    The “Eyes on Planet Earth” theme focuses on the important work performed every day by geoscientists throughout the world. Using observations and measurements from instruments in space, under water, and on the ground, geoscientists constantly evaluate the Earth's present state, make predictions about how it will change in the future, and assess the effects of Earth’s changes on life and society.

    The national contests hosted by AGI are designed to inspire citizens to get involved in Earth Science Week. This year, a Lesson Plan Design contest has been added to the annual line-up of Earth Science Week contests. To participate, teachers develop and submit a lesson plan that relates to the “Eyes on Planet Earth” theme. Entries are required to incorporate information from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) web site ( or USGS materials provided in the Earth Science Week Educator’s or Planner’s Information Kit that will be available later this spring from AGI ( Entries in three categories – grades 1-4, grades 5-12, and college level – will be accepted until September 1, 2003. Winning lesson plans will be posted on the Earth Science Week web site. First place winners in each category will receive $300 worth of AGI publications and classroom resources, and a one-year subscription to Geotimes, AGI’s monthly newsmagazine of the Earth sciences.

    Entries in the Visual Arts, Essay, and Photography contests must be received by October 1, 2003, and a Grand Prize winner in each contest will receive a cash prize of $300. Elementary-school students in grades K-4 are eligible to participate in the Earth Science Week Visual Arts contest. Drawings, paintings, or other two-dimensional artwork depicting the topic, "Earth Science in Your World," will be considered. Winning entries in this category will be displayed at AGI and at the national headquarters of the U.S. Geological Survey near Washington, DC.

    The Earth Science Week Essay contest is open to students in grades 5-12. Entitled "Your Career as an Earth Scientist," entries are limited to 500 words and are to be creative works that describe a geoscience career they might like to have. The First Prize essay will be published in a future issue of Geotimes magazine and finalists will be featured on the Earth Science Week web site.

    Contestants of all ages are invited to submit photographs to the Earth Science Week Photography competition. Entries should capture next year’s Earth Science Week theme, "Living on a Restless Earth: Natural Hazards and Mitigation." The winning photograph will be used in the 2004 Earth Science Week logo.

    The Earth Science Week 2003 celebration marks the sixth year for this annual event, which is hosted by AGI as a service to the public and the geoscience community. The week was established to give students and citizens new opportunities to discover Earth sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. It highlights the important contributions that Earth and environmental sciences make to society and invites the public to become engaged in current scientific exploration. AGI launched Earth Science Week in 1998 as the culminating event celebrating the Institute’s 50th anniversary.

    The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 40 scientific and professional associations that represent more than 100,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources and interaction with the environment. More information about AGI can be found at The Institute also provides a public-outreach web site,


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