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Illinois celebrates Earth Science Week

Press Release - Monday, October 15, 2007

CHAMPAIGN, IL - The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is commemorating the 10th annual Earth Science Week, October 14 - 20, with a geological science field trip for the public, and the distribution of 50 earth science curriculum packets to secondary school science teachers and other educators. These activities are part of the larger national and international celebration organized by the American Geological Institute (AGI) to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. This year's theme is "The Pulse of Earth Science."

In recognition of this week, Governor Blagojevich also proclaimed Oct. 14-20, 2007 Earth Science Week in Illinois.

"The 2007 Earth Science Week activities fit in well with the survey's mission to provide the citizens and institutions of Illinois with accurate, objective earth science research and information relevant to the state's environmental quality, economic prosperity, and public safety," said Dr. William W. Shilts, Chief, ISGS.

The Earth Science Week proclamation by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich recognizes the importance of earth science to Illinois. Text of the Governor's proclamation follows:

WHEREAS,  the earth sciences, especially geology, are integral to finding, developing, and conserving the water, mineral, and energy resources needed for modern society; and

WHEREAS,  the earth sciences provide the basis for preparing for and mitigating the effects of natural hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, and coastal erosion; and
WHEREAS,  the earth sciences are crucial to our understanding of environmental and ecological issues ranging from air and water quality to waste disposal; and

WHEREAS,  knowledge about geological factors regarding earth resources, hazards, and the environment are vital to land management and land use decisions at local, state, regional, national, international, and global levels; and

WHEREAS,  study of the earth sciences contributes critically important information to our understanding of the natural world; and

WHEREAS,  Earth Science Week is an opportunity to seek a greater understanding and appreciation of the value of earth science research and its application and relevance to our daily lives, as well as for science teachers at all levels throughout the State of Illinois to undertake lessons and activities with their students directed toward the study of earth science:

THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim October 14-20, 2007 as EARTH SCIENCE WEEK in Illinois.

Activities planned in recognition of Earth Science Week include:

ISGS Geological Science Field Trip, Sat., Oct. 20
More than 100 participants have already registered to attend the ISGS Geological Science Field Trip at Pere Marquette State Park and surrounding areas of Jersey and Madison Counties. The all-day trip begins at the State Park Visitor Center and proceeds first to Goat Cliff Trail, where geologists will point out and describe the folds, faults, and geologic exposures of the area.

Traveling by car, participants will then proceed through historic Grafton, well-known for its high-quality building stone, en route to the Grafton Visitor Center and Keller Quarry. This area is famous for the number and quality of the trilobite specimens found here. Lunch will be outside the National Great Rivers Museum and the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. The museum, opened in 2003 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is dedicated to telling the story of the confluence of three great rivers—the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Illinois—in a comprehensive and compelling way.

The fourth stop is the relatively new Piasa Park, home of the modern Piasa Bird pictograph. Geologists will tell the history, legend, and lore surrounding the Piasa. The park also is a good location to view local Mississippian rocks and learn about the local lime and stone industry. The final stop of the day will be Kimaterials, Inc.Lohr Quarry. Geologists will help participants understand the rock sequence (stratigraphy) exposed in the quarry and the mining operation there. Registration and additional field trip information is available at
AGI Toolkit Distribution
Fifty earth science toolkits, produced by the American Geological Institute, have been made available to the ISGS for distribution to science teachers for use in their classrooms. The toolkits offer a wealth of information for teachers and their students. Among the many materials enclosed in the packet are suggestions for use of the toolkit, an earth science activity calendar for the 2007-2008 school year, U.S. Geological Survey fact sheets, a CD and poster from NASA, a CD from the USGS, a CD from ESRI GIS Solutions for Education, a booklet from NOAA, posters, student contests and opportunities, link information to earth science Web sites, bookmarks, and several other items. Toolkits can be obtained from AGI at

Find Out How You Can Be Involved in Earth Science Week
Visit the AGI Web site ( or to find out more details about Earth Science Week and scheduled activities to promote awareness of earth science in education and society. The site also is a gateway to information about the International Polar Year (IPY) and the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), of which AGI is a Founding Partner. A wealth of earth science information and many useful earth science information links can be found there as well. AGI is a
nonprofit federation, founded in 1948 and currently composed of 44 geoscientific and professional associations representing more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists.

For earth science information specific to Illinois and the central region, and to learn more about Survey programs, visit the ISGS Web site (


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