GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 152-7
Presentation Time: 3:20 PM


ABBOTT, Lon D., Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, UCB 399, Boulder, CO 80309 and COOK, Terri L., Down to Earth Science, 1520 Wildwood Lane, Boulder, CO 80305

The public is fascinated by the workings of geologic processes and the scope of the landscape-scale changes that occur over the vast sweeps of geologic time; they just don’t always remember the allure until they receive a little reminder. Geoscience is not emphasized in high school, and geologic topics rarely hit the news except when catastrophe strikes or environmental controversies flare. For those reasons geology is often out of sight, out of mind for most people. But the very fabric of civilization is woven from geologic cloth: Geology is vital to every member of society every day. It is, therefore, incumbent on geoscientists to share with the public our knowledge of, and passion for, the ways our magnificent planet functions and to regale them with the epic stories of how the landscape came to look as it does today. In this talk we will illustrate a few of the ways we’ve strived to engage the public in celebration of geoheritage. These include assessing whether proposed World Heritage Sites truly possess Outstanding Universal Value; enhancing individuals’ sense of place by sharing with them the ‘deep’ (geologic) history of their home via books, articles, public talks, field trips, blogs, and podcasts; and promoting scientific literacy by helping students and community members develop an appreciation for the science that underlies their daily lives. Collectively, these activities help inform the decisions our society makes, from the mundane to the momentous, that affect each of us and the fragile planet we share.