2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


BEHLING, Robert E., Morgantown, HEMLER, Deb, Science and Mathematics, Fairmont State Univ, 1201 Locust Ave, Fairmont, WV 26554 and REPINE, Tom, rbehling@wvu.edu

The summer of 1972 marked the initiation of a many-faceted program for engaging K-12 teachers in West Virginia Geology field work. The initial efforts reflected work within the boundaries of the state or home county. The infusion of money from outside sources created a seventeen year continuous record of field experiences with K-12 teachers.

What began as strictly Geologic activities have evolved into holistic experiences best stated as "The Geologist as a Naturalist". What was first limited to the state has now covered over half the states and provinces of North America.

We believe that field work which emphasizes the importance of Geology and Nature, and which relies upon the individual expertise of teachers with respect to plants, animals, insects as well as astronomy and weather, has raised the awareness of Geology in K-12 classrooms throughout the state.

Recently, West Virginia University has graduated over 1% of all the undergraduate Geology majors in the United States. In the past four years, the program has had seven West Virginians who have received Phi Beta Kappa recognition. These students have the common K-12 experience of being in the classroom of one or more teachers we have worked with in the field.

We therefore submit the hypothesis that Geology field work for K-12 teachers has resulted in preparing potential Geology Majors. An essential factor in their decision to major, has been their exposure to teachers who have created geologic maps; dug for dinosaurs; walked on glaciers, volcanic cones and in caves; and have experienced first hand the passion derived from exploring Geology in the field.