As you may have seen from my biography, I am the past-president of the Far West Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). The section includes California, Nevada and Hawaii. When they put you out to pasture, it turns out you still get to do things...I am now the webmaster (for better or worse), and someone thought the section should have a blog for rapid dissemination of announcements and deadlines and that sort of thing. So I get to do that too! It debuts today, as the Teaching the Earth Sciences blog. I only have a few posts up so far, but it should be growing in time. You'll be able to check on award and scholarship deadlines, academic openings, publications, and conference announcements, as well as anything we find of interest to teachers of the earth sciences. I would be grateful for ideas and polite critiques!
NAGT is a great organization, especially the Far West Section. They have one or two conferences each year somewhere in the three-state region, and the conferences including field trips and teaching seminars, and attending these events has been some of the geologic highlights of my life. I've been able to tour Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, Anza Borrego, Hawaiian Volcanoes, the Klamath Mountains, Mount Shasta, the eastern Sierra Nevada and the Long Valley Caldera, the Black Mountains near Lake Mead, Sequoia, Yosemite, the Mother Lode, the Marin Headlands, Cambria and Big Sur, and Lake Tahoe. I've been in gold mines, tourmaline mines, caves, coal pits, and I've found all manner of minerals, fossils and rocks that have enriched my teaching career. All of these tours include geologic guidebooks, which are for sale to anyone, and they are a great resource (check out the publications list here). They also provide scholarship support for students in our region, and recognize an Outstanding Earth Science Teacher of the Year as part of a national program.
The national NAGT also has many resources available on the web for teachers, and there are nine more sections around the United States and Canada in addition to our Far West Section. Check it out, if you are a teacher now or are thinking of becoming one. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the earth sciences.