Contributor: Kathy Cabe Trundle
Salt Lake City
The Conference Committee invites you to journey to Utah and join us at the 2023 ASTE conference in Salt Lake City. Pre-conference adventures begin on January 11th, and the conference continues until January 14th. Numerous hiking trails and ski slopes are accessible within a short drive from Salt Lake, and conference rate hotel rooms will be available from January 9th through January 16th. We hope you will take this opportunity to fully explore all the many wonders Utah has to offer.
ASTE Conference Planning Committee
Kathy Cabe Trundle, Conference Co-Chair
Rita Hagevik, Co-Chair
Science Education Elevated!
The Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2021) indicates that scientific knowledge and thinking are essential for democracy and our future STEM workforce. Recent attacks on democracy, threats from nuclear weapons, climate change, racial and economic injustices, and a global pandemic create an urgent need to address these national and international challenges. Thus, science education must be elevated to a higher priority. The 2023 ASTE conference meets this challenge by elevating science education through cutting-edge research and innovative practices.
In keeping with this theme, the conference committee is delighted to offer several special events and sessions that will focus on biodiversity and sustainability. Details of some of these events follow.
Dr. Lawrence Krissek
The Ohio State University
Title: A Geoscience Perspective on Antarctic Climate Change: Ice Shelves, The Underappreciated Brakes on the Antarctic Ice Sheets
Abstract: Antarctica is often described as “the highest, coldest, driest, windiest place on earth,” yet each year several thousand U.S. scientists and support personnel travel there to conduct research at three permanent bases, at numerous temporary field camps, and aboard research vessels. This talk will introduce you to the physical environment of Antarctica, will describe how and where scientists work in Antarctica, and will identify the major scientific questions that are the present focus of much Antarctic research. We will then focus on the condition of the Antarctic ice sheets and their ice shelves over the past few decades, demonstrating the crucial role that ice shelves play in influencing the rate of ice loss from the large ice sheets. We will conclude by examining the results of an innovative seafloor coring project, which revealed an unexpected history of major climate changes over the past 5 million years, as recorded by the extent of the McMurdo and Ross Ice Shelves. This history of significant past variability suggests that Antarctic sensitivity to future climate change, and its contributions to future sea-level changes, may be larger than originally expected.
Climate Change Workshop
Title: Training Teachers to Think Like a Geologist: An Example Using Seafloor Sediments to Reconstruct Antarctic Climate History
Facilitator: Larry Krissek
Abstract: This workshop will focus on identifying and developing three essential skills needed to “think like a geologist”: making scientifically valid observations, thinking over a range of timescales, and applying Walther’s Law. Participants will use these skills to interpret past climates as recorded in a seafloor sediment core from Antarctica.
Pollinator Conservation Workshops
Utah, known as the Beehive State, has an illustrious history with bees. The honeybee serves as the official state insect, and the state seal and flag both contain a beehive symbol, representing perseverance and industry. The state even has an official astronomical symbol, the Beehive Cluster (Praesepe)! In addition to its honeybee connections, Utah serves as a home to about 25% of all North American native bee species. In fact, Utah is the most diverse state in terms of bee species, and the southern part of the state alone hosts more native bee biodiversity than the entire eastern seaboard of the U.S. combined! In honor of our host state and its bee connections, we offer two workshops that focus on the biodiversity of native bees and the role you and the teachers with whom you work can play as Pollinator Protectors.
Title: The Buzz about Bees!
Facilitators: Kathy Cabe Trundle, Rita Hagevik, and Kaitlin Campbell
Abstract: This workshop focuses on the biodiversity of native bees and the role you can play as Pollinator Protectors. The workshop includes the 3-H Social and Emotional Learning Cycle (Hearts-on, Hands-on, and Heads-on), indigenous storytelling, and how to invite and protect native bees in your landscaping. You will work with an entomologist to construct a native bee home to install at your home or on your campus.
Title: Bee a Citizen Scientist
Facilitators: Kaitlin Campbell, Aurora Villa, and Katherine Vela
Abstract: This workshop focuses on how to integrate citizen science into STEAM instruction. We focus on pollinator life cycles, biodiversity, and conservation to engage in scientific practices and crosscutting concepts. The workshop includes classroom activities that integrate citizen science pollinator projects, mathematics, and hands-on exploration of bookmaking.
Pre-Conference Field Trip
Title: The Geoscience Perspective on Climate Change in Utah: Evidence from Lakes and Glaciers
Overview: Utah’s geology and geography provide tremendous scenic beauty, but also carry records of major climatic changes over timescales of thousands to millions of years. This field trip will visit several localities in the Salt Lake City area where evidence of these climatic changes can be observed, with an emphasis on the climate records produced by glaciers and large internally drained lakes (i.e., lakes without an outflowing river, such as the present Great Salt Lake). The focus of this field trip on the geological record of past climate links closely with the topic of the conference keynote address by Dr. Lawrence Krissek and with his workshop on “thinking like a geologist.”
The field trip is divided into a morning portion and an afternoon portion. One of the two major stops in the morning portion and the stop for the afternoon portion of the field trip are inside ADA-compliant buildings; the other morning stop is outdoors and requires <100 m of walking on a flat paved sidewalk.
The morning portion of the field trip will have two major stops, with the potential for several additional brief stops if time and weather allow. The first stop will be at the Utah Geological Survey’s Utah Core Research Center where we will examine rock cores drilled from the Eocene (~55-43 million years ago) Green River Formation in northeastern Utah. The Green River Formation was deposited in the ancient Lake Uinta, which has been interpreted as having many of the same characteristics as the modern Great Salt Lake. In both cases, the lakes had internal drainage, meaning that they lacked a major outflowing river; as a result, the volume and the chemistry of water in the lake were controlled by the relative amounts of precipitation and evaporation, making the lake and its sediments an excellent recorder of climatic conditions in the lake basin. We will learn how to recognize and interpret this story of past climates from the cores examined.
The second major morning stop will be at the G.K. Gilbert Geologic View Park in Sandy, UT, at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. At this park a short walk on a flat paved sidewalk allows views of a variety of geologic features: 1) bedrock in the canyon that ranges from 1.7 billion to 31 million years old; 2) a classic U-shaped valley carved by glaciers within the last 100,000 years; 3) the highest elevation shoreline formed by Lake Bonneville, an expanded version of the Great Salt Lake, approximately 18,000 years ago; and 4) evidence of multiple movements on the Wasatch Fault during the last 10,000 years.
If time and weather allow, the morning portion of the field trip will conclude with stops at the Temple Granite Quarry Historical Monument in Little Cottonwood Canyon (including an optional 0.4-mile walk on a paved path) and at two other locations between Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons to see Lake Bonneville shorelines and sediments.
We then will return to the conference hotel, where participants can find lunch on their own.
The afternoon portion of the field trip will consist of a visit to the Natural History Museum of Utah, where our group discussions will focus on the exhibits of the Great Salt Lake and its immediate predecessors (e.g., Lake Bonneville) and of the Green River Formation. Exhibits of sediment cores taken from the Great Salt Lake illustrate climatically driven variations in lake extent and lake chemistry similar to those seen during the morning in the Green River Formation cores. In addition to its sedimentary record of past climates, the Green River Formation exhibit at the NHMU also shows excellent examples of exquisitely preserved fauna (e.g fish, insects) and flora, which themselves carry information about past climates.
After our group visits to the Great Salt Lake and Green River Formation exhibits, participants will have time to explore the remainder of the NHMU on their own. Vans will leave for the conference hotel at approximately 6 p.m. However, the museum stays open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, so those wishing to stay longer can do so and make their own way back to the conference hotel.