2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


KARLSTROM, Karl, Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Northrop Hall, MSCO3-2040; 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, CROSSEY, Laura, Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131 and WILLIAMS, Michael, Geosciences, Univ of Massachusetts, 611 N. Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01003, kek1@unm.edu

The Grand Canyon, as one of the world's premier geologic parks, offers an exceptional opportunity for public science education. The University of New Mexico is half way through a 5-year agreement with Grand Canyon National Park to design and implement a unique, world-class geoscience education exhibit entitled “ The Trail of Time”. The project, first written and presented to the Park by us in 1995, hopes to convey a wide range of new NSF-funded Grand Canyon research advances, and scientific methodology, to the Park's 5 million annual visitors and to millions of web-based learners who also “visit” Grand Canyon. Implementation of the project remains possible and has benefited from both top-down and bottom-up support from individuals within Grand Canyon National Park, but the relentless demands on the Park by scarce funding, increased visitation, and a myriad of day to day concerns has limited the speed by which the project is progressing. We see the need for a high level park geoscience advisory committee and a comprehensive geoscience interpretation program that incorporates new science advances, new concepts in geoscience education, and research on informal learning within the Parks. Should it be implemented, this project has the potential to help the Park Service “Embrace its mission, as educator, to become a more significant part of America's educational system by providing formal and informal programs for students and learners of all ages inside and outside park boundaries.” The EarthScope in the Parks initiative is the result of two NSF-funded workshops designed to discuss possible synergies between EarthScope and the National Park Service in terms of education and outreach. The workshops led to a series of recommendations and an EarthScope in the National Parks Memorandum of Understanding. This presents ideas that may help in developing a National Geoscience Interpretive Plan within the National Park Service and a vision whereby EarthScope scientific results can be disseminated to the broad audience of formal and informal learners that constitute the huge audience of the NPS system. The NPS also offers “ profound resources offering unique, place-based learning opportunities.” The EarthScope in the Parks partnership can be an example of a whole new type of education and outreach collaboration between scientists and the world's public.