Earth Science Education (ESE) is a  small non-profit that primarily teaches teachers science.

We’re very small based on budget and staff (no full-time staff but a half-time largely-volunteer Chief Education Officer). We thrive because of volunteers (estimated contributed time = over $75,000). Considering how small we are, we think we make a big difference to society. Every summer we teach approximately 100 teachers along Utah’s Wasatch Front how to see and appreciate the JOY of Earth science in their backyard. Genevieve Atwood, Chief Education Officer, is former State Geologist of Utah and emeritus adjunct associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Utah. Her calling is to encourage elementary school teachers’ love of science and facilitate their going outside with their students to just look around, see patterns, and figure out relationships.

Elementary school teachers are powerful! They can turn children on or off to science. How?

  • make it relevant… or irrelevant;
  • role model science as interesting… or boring;
  • teach comprehension… or competence for a test;
  • teach OUTSIDE… or straight from a book.

By the end of an ESE in-service, virtually all teacher participants have felt the JOY of going outside to recognize PATTERNS, such as patterns of:

  • terrain,
  • materials, and
  • vegetation.

When a student can see patterns, that student can be a scientist. Curiosity about patterns can lead students toward content, specifically,

  • tectonics,
  • Earth materials,
  • the role of water on Earth’s surface, and
  • how our spectacular geology came to be.

Earth science is more than jargon or a set of facts but a way of asking questions and analyzing the world around us. Earth Science Education makes a difference one-on-one and with groups of teachers. We have virtually no overhead, meaning, no office, no development staff, and no classroom other than the great outdoors. How fortunate for us that vistas from virtually every schoolyard along the Wasatch Front provide opportunities to see diverse rock types and evidence of Earth processes! Donors and volunteers make our programs successful. We are so grateful.


Earth Science Education has 501(c)3 status and a supportive Board of Trustees.


ESE Board members are volunteers. They are convivial, wise, and very much appreciated. Board members should feel under no obligation to contribute financially to the organization, although some Board members are donors or been responsible for major contributions to ESE. They provide advice as a Board and as individuals. The Board establishes ESE policies, endorses the annual work program, and authorizes the budget.

The Board meets twice a year. The mid-year meeting is the annual meeting and includes annual elections. The autumn meeting usually focuses on a topic of importance to the Chief Education Officer.

Chair of the Board of Trustees: Louie Cononelos, former Vice President for the Americas, Rio Tinto
President and Chief Education Officer: Genevieve Atwood, Geomorphologist, Former Utah State Geologist, and Director of the Utah Geological Survey
Vice President: Alisa Schofield, Geologist and Secondary School Teacher
Secretary: Gwen Springmeyer, Former Executive Director of Utah Nonprofits Association
Treasurer: Kevin K. Steiner, President & Co-Chief Executive Officer at Alsco, Inc.
Assistant Treasurer: Natalie A. Hilker, Program Analyst

Robert Campbell, Businessman. Chair of the Board of Wheeler Machinery
Thure Cerling, Isotope Biochemist. U of U Distinguished Professor
Sara G. Larsen, Deputy Director/Chief Engineer of the Upper Colorado River Commission
Sonya Redd, Former Member and Chair of the San Juan County School Board


ESE’s niche continues to be, to teach teachers earth science OUTSIDE.


Teachers and their students want to know about their rocks, their scenery, and their environment. Chemistry can be taught in much the same way in New York, Salt Lake and Moab. ESE role models how Earth science can be taught differently in Tooele, Salt Lake, and Moab in ways that students gain a sense of place as well as skills of observation. ESE is special because we teach “backyard science” meaning, local geology. Genevieve Atwood, formerly Utah’s State Geologist is experts in Utah’s geology and enlists colleagues for back up. Earth science outside, locally, is ESE chosen niche.


In ESE’s first fifteen years, Genevieve Atwood has taught summer, teacher in-services, each year. Our 2009 records list over 1400  teacher-participants of whom over 1000 are “fresh faces” meaning they have only taken one course. Some teachers take all four summer courses. Teacher evaluations of the courses are positive. The summer in-services partner with Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan and Salt Lake school districts. Donors including Rio Tinto / Kennecott Utah Copper, Wheeler Machinery, Utah Mining Association provide funding for ESE to give each teacher-participant approximately $50 worth of classroom materials. In the spring and fall we teach Earth Science Outside, for example in Tooele County. Every Wednesday and Thursday we go to a different location and figure out an aspect of what we see. We teach outside in parks, cemeteries, and schoolyards of Salt Lake County. If  you can see patterns, you can be an Earth scientist. It’s a pathway to all STEM sciences. And… it’s fun!


ESE has no full-time salaried staff, no office, and virtually no overhead. Genevieve Atwood, Board Member and President of ESE is ESE Chief Education Officer and teaches all courses with volunteers. Volunteers help Genevieve (Dr. Atwood) write resource materials. ESE has no building, no capital equipment, and little overhead.


We are very grateful to our sponsors. Please see below.


To get in touch with Earth Science Education, please reach out to:

Genevieve Atwood, Chief Education Officer

Earth Science Education

30 North U Street

Salt Lake City, Utah 84103-4301


genevieveatwood (at) comcast.net