Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reflections on The Fruits of IYPE session at the EGU 2010 meeting

The International Year of Planet Earth (2007-2009) jumpstarted many projects to help promote the geosciences across a variety of scales (local to global). The session started with an overview of a sampling of projects that were created as a result of the IYPE. I was able to present the YES Network talk, “The YES Network: IYPE’s Motto ‘Earth Sciences for Society’ In Action” as the second talk of the program. The talk highlighted the formation of the YES Network and how it has grown since the YES Congress 2009 event. I also used the time to show the many achievements that the YES Network has accomplished over the past few months, and how we have met, and in many cases, exceeded our 2010 goals in our Development Plan. Finally, I finished the presentation by discussing where the YES Network is headed in the near future. Then, I asked all the YES Network members in the room to introduce themselves, and explain a little bit about themselves and how they are involved in the YES Network. Thank you again to all of the YES Network members who were able to participate in the talk this way. By sharing a little about yourself and how you are involved in the YES Network with the audience, you were able to show how dynamic and diverse and interdisciplinary the YES Network is.

After the YES talk, there were many other interesting talks about activities going on around the globe, and I’ll discuss the key points of each one here. I was inspired by the great accomplishments that have been made with these projects, not only in the amount of activities, but also in the way that these project were able to include not only students, but also policy-makers and governmental and private industries in promoting the geosciences within these countries.

Grazina Skridlaite, from the Institute of Geology and Geography in Lithuania discussed the range of earth science outreach activities (i.e. field trips, competitions, performances, seminars, visits by geoscientists, etc.) that are being implemented in secondary and high schools. Additionally, the Lithuanian National Committee for IYPE and Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuania proclaimed September 22nd (autumn equinox) as “Earth Day”, when students are within the first few weeks of the new school year. You can see the range of outreach activities here:, and read the abstract of her talk here.

Next, Wolfgang Eder discussed the concept of GeoHeritage and the GeoParks in his presentation. Given that many YES Network members are engaged in fieldwork activities, it would be a great idea to check to see if any of us are doing research in a GeoPark or GeoHeritage area. There is a new journal by Springer called “GeoHeritage” which is accepting publications about all aspects of geoheritage and its protection (identification, quantification and management of geoheritage sites, conservation, global change, geotourism, sustainable development, etc.) What a great way to combine both research and outreach activities by helping to geologically map these areas, develop conservation and outreach materials for these regions of the Earth, and publish your findings and recommendations in the GeoHeritage journal. (Read the abstract of this talk.)

In the next talk Eikichi Tsukuda discussed the IYPE activities of the Geological Society of Japan including the development of GeoParks in Japan, and the International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO), and the Japanese Earth Science Olympiad. The next IESO will be held in Italy in 2011, and the YES Network was encourage to participate in the competition, and spread the word about this event. (Read the abstract of this talk.)

László Szarka next discussed the many activities from the IYPE National Committee in Hungary. Of note are the “Earth Science Fair” at the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, the many publications produced (including the translations of the IYPE booklets), and the “Earth and Heaven – Geology and Theology” conference which was a rather successful conversation between scientists and theologians. Also, Hungary premiered the Planet Earth TV during the IAGA 11th Scientific Assembly (August 23-30, 2009, One very interesting point made in this talk was how many IYPE National Committees adopted the phrase “Earth Sciences for Humanity” rather than “Earth Sciences for Society”. It is a subtle point, but one worth noting. (Read the abstract of this talk.)

Werner Piller discussed the Via GeoAlpina project which created geoscience trail guides for various hiking and walking trails along the Alps which can be downloaded from the Via GeoAlpina website. The trail guides include information from a variety of earth science disciplines: geology, geophysics, paleontology, mineralogy, hydrogeology, pedology, climatology, and geomorphology. Follow-on activities suggested for this project include attracting local and regional authorities and financincg from private entrepreneurs and local administrations. Now, how many YES Network members like getting out and hiking and/or walking through nature? When I heard this talk, my first thought was "I wonder how many YES Network members are doing research along these trails or in areas where such trail maps could be created?" Would it be possible to get out and hike these trails, perhaps as a trail guide, and talk about not only the information in the guide, but also share your own unique research along different points of the hike? What a great opportunity! (Read the abstract of this talk.)

The session finished with a presentation by Luca Demicheli about the OneGeology and OneGeology-Europe projects (read the abstract of this talk.). The creation of this interoperable digital geological dataset is an impressive task to say the least, and the progress made with this project (113 countries, of which 40 are serving data) including the challenges associated with designing and implementing the project is amazing. OneGeology has a plethora of applications and ones in which YES Network members could get involved quite easily. This talk was a great segue into tomorrow's "OneGeology Initative" roundtable session. See you either at the session here at EGU or online! If you are participating as an online/virtual participant, remember to register for the session.

1 comment:

  1. This is real a good progress for YES Network and I real thank that it is growing bigger and strong each day. Let's keep working hard