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Outreach and Educational Activities



The BSL is involved in a variety of outreach activities, ranging from lectures and lab tours to educational displays and the development of classroom materials for K-12 teachers. We maintain an earthquake information tape (510-642-2160) and an extensive set of Web pages, providing basic earthquake and seismic hazard information for northern and central California.

Outreach Overview

The BSL has several on-going outreach programs, such as the educational displays, WWW development, and the Earthquake Research Affiliates Program.

Educational Displays

As part of the BSL's outreach activities, we have made REDI earthquake data available to a number of universities, colleges, and museums as educational displays. As noted above, this year marked the expansion of this program to the K-12 environment. Participating organizations receive a REDI pager and the Qpager software to display the earthquake information. The Qpager program maps the previous seven days of seismicity, with earthquake shown as a dot. The size of the dot indicates the magnitude of the event, while the color of the dot indicates its age. These educational displays have been installed at UC Berkeley (McCone Hall, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, LHS), California Academy of Sciences, CSU Fresno, CSU Northridge, CSU Sacramento, Caltech, College of the Redwoods, Fresno City College, Humboldt State University, San Diego State University, Sonoma State University, Stanford University (Blume Engineering Center, Department of Geophysics), UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, and USC. In a pilot project initiated two years ago, the San Francisco Unified School Dis trict has been given two pager systems for use in middle school classrooms.

In addition to the seismicity displays, the BSL provides local waveform feeds for helicorders at several visitor centers associated with BDSN stations (CMB and MHC). Organizations such as LHS, KRON, and KPIX receive feeds from BKS via dedicated phone lines for display, while the USGS Menlo Park uses data from CMB for display in the lobby of the seismology building. The BSL has also loaned a seismometer and helicorder display to the San Leandro Unified School District for their use in science classes.


Over the last year, we have continued to expand our presence on the WWW. Our primary goal has been to provide a source of earthquake information for the public, although we also provide information about the networks, such as station profiles, which benefits the research community as well. We provide such information as seminar schedules, course advertisements, descriptions of operations and research, updates on recent earthquake activity, details on Bay Area seismicity and hazards, and links to other earthquake and earth science servers. We also use the WWW server for our own information distribution, with such details as the computing and operational resources, rosters, and schedules for various purposes.

Earthquake Research Affiliates Program

The UC Berkeley Earthquake Research Affiliates (ERA) Program is an outreach project of the BSL, the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Center. The purpose is to promote the support of earthquake research while involving corporations and governmental agencies in academic investigation and education activities such as conferences and field trips. The ERA program provides an interface between the academic investigation and practical application of earthquake studies.

2000-2001 Activities

Interactive University Project

During 2001-2002, the ISTAT (Integrating Science, Teaching, and Technology) Project drew to a close. This collaboration, part of the the Interactive University Project (IUP), brought the BSL, the Museum of Paleontology, the Space Sciences Laboratory, and the Center for Particle Astrophysics together in an earth and space science cluster, with a focus on education in "Integrating Science, Teaching, and Technology" (ISTAT) with a focus grades 6-12. We received a small 18 month grant in 1996 to initiate this project. Based on our success, we submitted a second proposal in 1998 and received funding for a 3 year project with Gloria Davis Middle School, Horace Mann Academic Middle School, Galileo High School, Mission High School, and Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in the San Francisco Unified School District (http://www.UCMP.Berkeley.EDU/IU/).

During this project, we worked with lead teachers to review the new San Francisco science and math standards and to identify "gaps" between existing resources and materials and the required content. San Francisco has recently adopted new textbooks with the goal of teaching Earth and Space Sciences in the 9th grade. We worked with the teachers to develop a working outline for the curriculum and to supplement the text with activities and resources.

The draft Earth science curriculum now includes a scope and sequence, course outlines for 6, 9, and 12 week modules, and preliminary assessment materials and is available on the Web at

Teachers' Workshop

In the fall of 2001, Dr. Gee joined scientists from UCMP, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, and the Cal Academy of Sciences to design an earth science course for middle school teachers. The course was composed of 5 workshops and Dr. Gee presented material on earthquakes.

Tours and Presentations

BSL staff have also spent considerable time with public relations activities during the past year. Several tours are given each month, with audiences ranging from middle-school students to scientists and engineers from China and Japan. This year, we saw a sizeable increase in visits from "home-school" students.

The BSL hosted several special groups during 2001-2002. A number of educational groups visited, including a class from Mills College a groupd of California city managers attending a conference sponsored by the Goldman School of Public Policy.

In addition to the tours, Drs. Romanowicz, Dreger, Uhrhammer, and Gee presented talks on earthquakes and related phenomena to public groups. Dr. Gee gave a presentation for the City of Berkeley, directed at the volunteers participating in the Disaster Resistent Berkeley program.

Take Your Child to Work Day

The BSL was unable to participate in Cal Day this year, due to a scheduling conflict with the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America. The BSL did participate in "Take Your Child to Work Day" and hosted many UC Berkeley parents and their children. The visitors learned about UC Berkeley's role in earthquake monitoring, found out how many earthquakes occurred on their birthday, played with an "earthquake machine", made P and S-waves, learned about earthquake preparedness, and were given sample seismograms.


The BSL co-hosted a workshop with Jack Boatwright of the USGS to discuss coordination of seismic instrumentation in Northern California, the generation and distribution of ShakeMaps, and the evolution of ANSS in March 2002. The workshop included representatives from the BSL, the USGS Menlo Park, the California Geological Survey, the California Office of Emergency Services, and PG&E.

1906 Centennial

In less than 4 years, the Bay Area will celebrate the centennial of the 1906 earthquake. In June, 2002, the BSL hosted a meeting of representatives from the USGS and the Seismological Society of America (SSA) to begin planning for this historic anniversary. The BSL and the USGS have agreed to co-host the 2006 Annual Meeting of the SSA and discussed several ideas for organizing the meeting with Executive Director Susan Newman. In addition to plans for the scientific meeting, the BSL is collaborating with other campus units on commemorative activities.


Lind Gee oversees the outreach activities at the BSL. Barbara Romanowicz, Bob Uhrhammer, Rick McKenzie, and many other faculty, staff, and students at the BSL contribute to the outreach activities. Lisa Krain helps with the upkeep and development of new web pages. Lind Gee contributed to the preparation of this chapter.

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