In the Trenches - October 2021

Our Annual Salute to Outstanding Earth Educators

Volume 11, Number 4

In This Issue

Online Supplements

This site provides web links that supplement the print articles as well as news and web resources. Members can follow the "Read more" links below to access full versions of the articles online. To receive the full edition of In the Trenches, join NAGT

From The Editors

Redina Finch Editor-in-Chief, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL.

October is one of my favorite times of the year in the Midwest. The leaves are changing and the weather can't make up its mind if it's fall or winter or Indian summer. The October issue of In The Trenches is quickly becoming my favorite too. There are so many wonderful Earth science educators doing amazing things. These educators bring science to life for their students and inspire all of us to think outside the box. If you see any of the amazing award winners, either in person or online, be sure to congratulate them! In addition, we present an article about ESPRIT, an inspiring listserv that was started more than 30 years ago and has been thriving ever since thanks to the generous sharing of knowledge by the geoscience community. Happy fall, everyone! Stay cool, or warm, or dry... depending on what October brings your way. — Redina

The ESPRIT Listserv: Thirty Years of Peer-Driven Professional Development in a Vibrant K-16 Community of Practice

JAMES R. EBERT ( is a Distinguished Teaching Professor, Emeritus, in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY.

The ESPRIT listserv has been a dynamic community of practice providing peer-to-peer professional development of Earth science teachers for over thirty years. Hosted by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at SUNY Oneonta, there are over 2,260 subscribers from 26 states as of this writing (See also Ebert 2016.


In 1989, the State University of New York, College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta) received a Dwight D. Eisenhower Title II, a grant to recruit and train talented high school teachers of Earth science and physics to form mentor networks in anticipation of professional development needs associated with impending standards-based reforms. Listservs were created to facilitate planning and communication within each mentor group. At the same time, "open" or public listservs were created to facilitate interactions between mentors and client teachers from across New York State. Additional listservs later were created for teachers of elementary science, middle school science, chemistry, biology and, most recently, environmental science. These listservs are still active, but the focus of this paper is on the listserv created for teachers of Earth science. Read more...

The NAGT, GSA, GEO-CUR, Totten, GEO2YC, Stout, and JGE Education Division Awards for 2021

Winners of the 2021 NAGT, GSA, CEO-CUR, Totten, Stout, and JGE Education Division Awards will be recognized virtually during the the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Portland, OR from October 10-13, 2021. Check out this year's virtual award ceremony. This year's NAGT award winners include: Read more...

Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards and Outstanding Teaching Assistants Awards for 2021

Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards (OEST) are given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth sciences at the pre-college level." Any teacher or K-12 educator who covers a significant amount of Earth science content with his or her students is eligible. Ten national finalists are selected, one from each NAGT regional section. Some sections also recognize state winners. The OEST Awards program is designed to identify excellence in teaching, recognize and reward excellence in teaching, stimulate higher levels of teaching performance, establish NAGT as a strong support organization for pre-college education, and, via active statewide and sectional programs, build a solid state, regional, and national liaison with administrators of pre-college Earth science education.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (OSTA) are given for outstanding undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants in geoscience.


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NAGT supports educators and students through a variety of awards, including the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher award and the Outstanding Teaching Assistant awards and grants for summer field study. For details on these awards and instructions for nominating someone visit the NAGT Awards information page. Nominations for Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award are due December 15, 2021. Nominations for Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award are due by March 31, 2022.


Thank you for being a part of the NAGT community.

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