What Do You Get from NESTA? How You Can Serve NESTA?
by Michael Passow (2008 – 2010 Past President)
NESTA depends on its members to volunteer their knowledge and skills in order to carry out our mission of being the prime source of support for Earth Science educators. Unlike some related science education organizations, such as NSTA, GSA, AGU, or AGI, we have no salaried staff, suites of offices, and large expense budgets. For more than a quarter of a century, we have relied on the efforts of our own members to identify activities that would benefit teachers and students, and then provide them to the fullest extent possible.
If you've participated any of our Share-a-Thons at NSTA conferences, you may know that we pioneered this format, and that all presenters do so without any financial inducement from NESTA. This has provided an effective way for dozens of teachers to disseminate classroom-tested activities and resources with hundreds of colleagues.
If you stayed after many of the last Share-a-Thon session at a conference to enjoy the Rock Raffles, you may be aware that almost everything on display is donated by members and other supporters. Many NESTA members have gone home with specimens that would otherwise be unattainable, especially at the price of raffle ticket. The excitement of drawing the winning tickets rarely can be found in any other meeting session.
If you join us for any of the Earth and Space Science Day events at a national NSTA convention, you have had the opportunity to hear about cutting-edge scientific advances from some of the leading researchers in the field. Or perhaps you have enjoyed small talk with colleagues from around the country and the world at one of our Friends of Earth Science receptions.
If you come to a conference a day early to join colleagues on one of our NESTA field trips, or one of our summer field experiences, you've gained insights, knowledge, and resources that certainly will benefit your students when you bring them back to the classroom, as well as become a cherished memory of your teaching career.
Maybe you have benefited from hearing a NESTA State Contact or Regional Director present at your local meetings.
Or maybe, as a member, you've never been able to get to a conference, but have still benefited from our print and online publications and other resources. These have always been created through the combined efforts of authors and editors who don't receive royalty payments, but contribute out of their willingness to share good ideas with colleagues.
Whatever you've gotten out of NESTA, perhaps you should now give back to NESTA. Consider writing an article for The Earth Scientist about interesting things you have done or know. Consider presenting at a Share-a-Thon, or donating to a Rock Raffle. Consider working with your State Contact to raise awareness of what NESTA provides at a local meeting, or even becoming a State Contact where we need someone to step forward. If you're going to a conference at which NESTA has a display in the Exhibits, consider staffing the booth for an hour or two. Consider volunteering to serve on one of our Committees. Perhaps, if you're ready for the challenge, even consider running for an elected office!