EDUCATION & OUTREACH

The Bedrock CZN has a vigorous outreach, education and engagement plan. Read more about it below.

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Our outreach, education, and engagement plan centers on four overarching elements: (1) The "Virtual Critical Zone," (2) Programs for K-12 students and teachers, (3) Efforts to advance diversity and inclusion in CZ science, and (4) Programs to engage the CZ community.

Photographs of CZ cross-sections at roadcuts and outcrops are a staple of introductory material in papers and talks on CZ science, but as static representations, they can fail to convey the details of, or fully inspire wonder at, CZ structure. We propose to leverage our roadcut studies to create 3D, interactive models of CZ appearance, structure, and properties, which we call “The Virtual Critical Zone.” At roadcuts and quarries from our sites, we will use drone-based photogrammetry and structure-from-motion to capture the shape and appearance of the exposed CZ. Images overlain with user-selectable CZ boundaries and properties from outcrop measurements will enable users to display a rotatable, color-coded image of, say, chemical mass loss or seismic velocity, spatially rectified and draped over the roadcut.

To promote teaching, training, and learning in the critical zone, we will partner with local science educators (teachers, teaching coaches, and curriculum directors) to bring CZ research to K-12 classrooms. We will promote local, place-based, experiential education by offering a two-day workshop to educators near our institutions in the last three years of the grant (~21 total workshops with an anticipated ~8 participants per workshop). Each workshop, led by a PI and a graduate student at each institution, will offer an introduction to the critical zone, a field tour of a local CZ site, and exposure to our research efforts, in order to empower teachers to integrate new knowledge into classroom curriculum.

Woven throughout our program are efforts to enhance diversity, inclusion, and equity in geoscience, as described above, including the teacher training program, which will target underrepresented minorities in urban areas (Baltimore, Los Angeles, Denver) and first-generation (Southwest Virginia, South Carolina, rural Pennsylvania) and Native American (Wyoming) populations in rural areas; the high school summer camps, which will target underrepresented and underserved high school populations in urban and rural Appalachia; and support of a GeoPATHS student for the geophysical field team.

A principal motivation of our network is to provide the scientific community with unprecedented access to the deep CZ across a suite of sites that allow CZ hypothesis tests. Our proposed network will provide community access to the deep CZ through 1) a suite of completed deep boreholes, 2) curated cores, cuttings and associated logging data at the CSDCO facility, and 3) hydrological data, and geophysical measurements. All of the data and materials will be made openly available to the community, in order to enable broad use, collaboration, and complementary proposals. We will also engage with the CZ community through open workshops on communication and CZ science held prior to the fall AGU meeting. First, the VT Center for Communicating Science will host two one-day workshops (Years 2 and 3) for CZ scientists, focusing on scientific communication. The first (Year 2) workshop (Communicating Across Differences) will be for CZCN cluster/hub co-PIs to provide a CZCN-wide team-building exercise. The second (Year 3) workshop (Distilling Your Message/Working with the Media) will be reserved for early-career researchers (e.g., grad students and postdocs) working on other CZCN teams.