a management team to deal with logistical issues associated with major initiatives, such as liaisons with foreign governments, permits, transport (including helicopter assistance to cover difficult terrain more efficiently during ground phases), and drilling operations;
a geophysical and remote sensing analysis team;
a database and data access management team; and
an outreach and education team.
The committee would require sufficient funding to sponsor a range of workshops and town meetings to obtain and distill community input. It would be important for such workshops and town meetings to span the full range of disciplines associated with this research enterprise.
Research focused on the earth system context of human evolution unites two scientific fields that are among the most publicly visible—climate change and human origins. The study of human evolution represents one of the most compelling subjects in the natural sciences in that it deals with the long-term origin of our species; and climate change has become a focal point in communicating the meaningfulness of science and its relationship to the welfare of humans, all living things, and entire ecosystems. The intersection of these two broad areas of scientific research thus offers powerful opportunities for public outreach aimed at communicating the process and value of science. The subject matter itself, which deals with human survival and adaptation in the past, also offers avenues for inspiring the public’s curiosity about scientific findings relevant to society’s adaptation to climate change in the near and distant future.
A state-of-the-art program in public education and outreach creates opportunities for diverse audiences along several avenues, which include (1) development of dynamic and up-to-date public Internet sites; (2) dissemination of findings via print, radio, and television media; (3) organization of seminars, lectures, and dialogues in venues that are both visible and attractive to the public; (4) interaction with national science educators, who can translate scientific findings and data into the classroom; (5) museum-based and less formal exhibitions, which are attractions for family and school-group explorations of and learning about science; (6) engagement of adult learners in the excitement of research and discovery and encouragement of volunteerism (docents); and (7) graduate, undergraduate, and high-school training and research experiences, which offer a means of building the future generations of scientists and educators. As the items in this list illustrate, an effective program of public education and outreach requires skillful approaches to both formal and informal learning in which chil-