Melissa Thaw, a doctoral student at the University of California, Merced, is studying how water moves through the soil and where trees and shrubs are taking up water in the Sierra National Forest. She is focusing on the transition zone between rainfall and snow, which will be pushed higher into the mountains as the climate warms. (Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

Building Understanding of the Critical Zone

Our lives depend upon what happens in the Critical Zone. All life on land depends upon what happens in the Critical Zone. Yet, what happens in the Critical Zone is not broadly understood. Indeed, most people have never heard of the Critical Zone or of Critical Zone Science. We aim to change that. Building broad understanding of Critical Zone processes for the public, and for both scientists and future scientists are the primary goals of our Critical Zone education and outreach programs.

Training Interdisciplinary CZ Scientists

Through research and education opportunities associated with each CZO, cross-CZO scientific endeavors, and annual meetings, we engage young scientists in Critical Zone science, developing a new cadre of future CZO leadership. The necessity of understanding Critical Zone processes globally was recognized early in the development of CZOs, and through international partnerships, U.S. graduate students have benefited their home CZOs as well as their personal career pursuits through travel to European labs and field sites to engage in collaborative learning and research.


Sharing with the Public

The CZOs offer a great opportunity for the Earth sciences community to explain to the public how hypotheses are tested and experiments are conducted, as well as to share exciting scientific results and their societal relevance.

E/O highlights handout

For AGU 2018, we've assembled a two-page document with examples of CZO education-outreach activities.
   See the handout

E/O Contacts

Don Haas
Place-based Earth Science Education, Teacher Professional Development, & Curriculum Development

Tim White
CZO National Office Coordinator



CZO Virtual Institute

The CZO Virtual Institute is part of NSF's Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI). It aims to develop workshops, support graduate and post-doctoral research primarily on cross-CZO, common measurement-based projects, and further the development of web-based collaboration tools on CZEN.org. The project has implemented CZO workshops, a summer interns program and an international scholars program to promote collaboration in and out of the network towards common measurement-based CZ science.


Associated Files

CZO Education-Outreach handout (Low Res)
(744 KB pdf)
Two pages, low resolution for the web

CZO Education-Outreach handout (High Res)
(14 MB pdf)
Two pages, high resolution for printing


National Blogs

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Education/Outreach News

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Feature-Length Documentary: The Education of Bruno Latour: From the CZ to the Anthropocene

07 May 2019 (Calhoun) - April 15, 2019 Franklin Humanities Institute “The Education of Bruno Latour: From the Critical Zone to the Anthropocene”...

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Highlights of CZO Education and Outreach

19 Mar 2019 (National) - Example activities assembled for AGU Fall Meeting 2018, Washington, D.C. Includes a two-page PDF handout.


2019 SSHCZO All-Hands Meeting at Penn State

10 May 2019 (Shale Hills) - The 2019 All-Hands Meeting brought together our core team, our off-campus collaborators, and our outreach partners at Shaver's Creek in a new...

TeenShale evaluates Wallace Run near abandoned well using macroinvertebrate surveys

07 May 2019 (Shale Hills) - On a warm and sunny day in May, the 2018-2019 cohort took to the field!  Along with Centre County Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corp member...

Geophysics of the critical zone - geoscience majors focus thesis projects this year

24 Apr 2019 (Shale Hills) - From characterising flow pathways in outcrops and the shallow subsurface to examining weathering processes and soil formation, three geoscience...

TeenShale dives into stream test kits by HACH for water quality analyses

24 Jan 2019 (Shale Hills) - Without a winter warmup, students forgo the field for the classroom to discover what is in the HACH box.  The 2018-2019 TeenShale cohort...

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Education/Outreach Events

Ben Dillner, MS Candidate Ecology, thesis defense

If A Tree Falls: Plant Regeneration and Soil Trends in a Pennsylvania Tree Tip-Up Chronosequence


217 Forest Resources Building.

(Shale Hills)

More Events >


National CZO Twitter Feed