2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


FINN, Gregory C., Earth Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada, greg.finn@brocku.ca

We know the demographics – the average age of practicing geoscientists is increasing, the number of students entering university and college geoscience programs is variable and the graduation rates are not sufficient to meet the demands of the profession. Over the past 9 years Earth science has been provided with a number of opportunities in the Province of Ontario to enhance its profile and to begin to address the coming shortfall.

In 1997 two events, on opposite sides of the world, occurred which played a role in raising the profile of Earth sciences in the minds of students and the general public in Ontario. The first event, at the local level, was the introduction of a revised elementary school (K-8) science and technology curriculum. For the first time an Earth and space science strand was included in the provincial science and technology curriculum. This was followed by the release of the revised science curriculum for grades 9 - 10 and 11 -12, in 1999 and 2000, respectively. A brief review of the curriculum from K-12 will highlight strands, content, enrollment patterns in senior classes, etc. An additional component will focus on initiatives at the local, provincial and national levels that work to support Earth science education in Ontario and Canada.

The second action resulted from the BreX scandal, in the spring of 1997, which in combination with the Walkerton, Ontario tainted water tragedy of May 2000 lead to passage of the Professional Geoscientist Act, 2000 by the Legislative Assembly on June 23, 2000. This legislation established the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO) which governs the practice of professional geoscience in the province. APGO licenses Professional Geoscientists for practice and depends on the universities supplying suitably trained geoscience graduates who meet the minimum knowledge requirements. Requirements for registration will be reviewed and an update on the development of a national syllabus for Professional Geoscientists will be provided.

Drawing on personal experiences the impact and effect of the above events in the promotion of Earth science and the recruitment of students into careers in Earth science will be presented.