Geoscience community outlines cooperative activities

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- The American Geological Institute (AGI) recently convened the second annual Leadership Conference to discuss key issues affecting the future direction of the Earth sciences. Held in May at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, representatives from more than 20 geoscience professional and educational societies attended the two-day meeting. The theme of the conference, "Improved Effectiveness through Increased Cooperation," focused on ways to improve communication across the geosciences; increase the effectiveness of Earth science programs; reduce duplication of efforts; and enhance the public's awareness of the role the geosciences play in our society.

"The geosciences often have a significant impact on world events," stated M. Ray Thomasson, 2003 AGI President and President of Thomasson Partner Associates in Denver, CO, "and as leaders of the geoscience community, we must be prepared to meet the world's ever-changing technological, economic, and political challenges. One of the best ways to respond to these challenges is by inter-society cooperation."

Three major areas were identified for in-depth discussion during the forum: nurturing future geoscientists, supporting Federal geoscience funding, and increasing access to geoscience information. The Earth science profession faces a crucial challenge because the number of Earth science majors enrolled in university programs continues to decline. Forum participants addressed education-related issues such as certifying more Earth science teachers; strengthening undergraduate programs to incorporate emerging research topics and to improve teaching skills; and encouraging minority populations to consider careers in the Earth sciences. There was also strong support for outreach activities that offer opportunities to generate greater public interest and participation in the Earth sciences, including the production of videos and films; the initiation of a range of cooperative

Contact: Marcus E. Milling
American Geological Institute

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