2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM

Developing a Framework for Earth Science Literacy I: Engaging the Community

LADUE, Nicole D.1, TUDDENHAM, Peter2, WYSESSION, Michael3, LEWIS, Gary4, BISHOP, Kristina2, BRAGG, William2, CARLEY, Scott2, KARSTEN, Jill1 and PATINO, Lina1, (1)Directorate for Geosciences, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, (2)College of Exploration, Potomac Falls, VA 20165, (3)Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, (4)Geological Society of America, 3300 Penrose Place, Boulder, CO 80301, nladue@nsf.gov

This is a critical time in the relationship between humanity and planet Earth. With growing demand for finite natural resources, increasing vulnerability of populations expanding into hazardous terrain, escalating global impacts caused by climate change, and the recognition of humans as a significant agent of change on Earth, an Earth Science literate public becomes imperative. It is the geoscience community who must collectively articulate what constitutes Earth science literacy.

Recently, literacy frameworks have been developed through community dialog related to ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and climate. All have been built through an iterative process between research scientists, educators, and communicators, leading to broad community support and consensus. The most mature of these efforts, the Ocean Literacy framework released in 2005, shows the potential impact of such a document. It has informed development of educational curricula and resources, both for the formal and informal education settings. Importantly, it has also provided a strategic framework for ocean education investments at the Federal agencies and beyond.

A committee representing the diverse sub-disciplines associated with the terrestrial geological sciences, including hydrology and geobiology, organized and is leading the Earth Science Literacy Initiative (ESLI). A two-week online workshop, convened in May 2008, engaged more than 300 researchers and educators in identifying important ideas and concepts that should be included. In July, a face-to-face workshop involving a sub-set of these participants incorporated the ideas into a draft literacy framework document that is now open for further community input and comment. While the content of the individual literacy efforts impose artificial boundaries on the inherently connected oceans, atmosphere, and Earth spheres, the long-term goal is to integrate these separate documents into a single cohesive Earth System Science Literacy Framework.