G-camp teachers doing field work in 2016. (Rick Giardino/Texas A&M University College of Geosciences)
Empowering Educators Helps Equip The Next Generation
Teachers Sue Garcia and Cheryl Hammons both attended the first G-Camp in 2008.
“Sue was a 25-year teaching veteran who collected nearly 200 pounds of rock specimens during the trip,” Giardino said. “To display her findings in her classroom, she built shelves and created placards so that her sixth-grade pupils learned about each sample in detail.”
After returning from G-Camp, Cheryl conducted experiments with her middle school students.
“By dropping hydrochloric acid on rocks, students determined whether the samples were limestone or had traces of calcite; fizzing indicates a positive reaction,” he said. “For several years, Cheryl and her students also made jewelry from rocks and sold their creations to raise money for geology-based field trips.”
Like Sue and Cheryl, many participating teachers report renewed enthusiasm for their subject matter after G-Camp, venturing beyond books more often, developing new labs, and using slides and videos from the trip to illustrate geological principles.
Inspiring and equipping geosciences educators results in higher quality education for students, helping recruit and inform the next generation of Earth scientists.
One geology student at Texas A&M University reflecting on the impact of his G-Camp-veteran teacher on her education recalled, “Mrs. Garcia was so passionate about geology and G-Camp. That is all she talked about. In fact, she is the person who got me to love geology, and I am here today as a result of G-Camp.”
“G-camp is such a powerful program in so many ways and we are all do deeply inspired by the Saudi Aramco’s visionary support of G-Camp,” said Dr. Debbie Thomas, interim dean of the College of Geosciences. “I am in constant awe of Dr. Giardino’s boundless energy and drive to provide life-changing professional development opportunities for our teachers.”
“And, I am humbled by our teachers’ ability to translate their G-Camp experiences into life-changing opportunities for their students, and ultimately igniting their students’ passion to pursue science as a career path,” she said. “By all accounts this represents a colossal return on Saudi Aramco’s philanthropic investment!”
The cost to operate G-Camp is about $140,000 per year. Much of the annual cost is covered through gifts from sponsors, but an additional endowment would ensure the program in perpetuity. Endowments can be established with a gift of $25,000 or more, through the Texas A&M Foundation.
Learn more about supporting G-Camp and the College of Geosciences.
This story by Leslie Lee originally appeared in Geosciences News.