Contact: Marissa Zuckerman, Manager of Marketing and Communications
Paleontological Research Institution
(607) 273-6623 x115
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(Ithaca, N.Y.) September 21st, 2016

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) has published a national series of seven Teacher-Friendly Guides™ covering regional Earth Science of the United States. The Guides cover the geological history and processes behind real-world examples to help students make sense of the distribution of landforms, rocks and soils, mineral and energy resources, fossils, Earth hazards, and climate. The seven regions, covering all 50 states, represent the Northeastern, Southeastern, Midwestern, South Central, Northwest Central, Southwestern, and Western US.

The Guides were developed to help teachers incorporate local and regional examples into their Earth Science curricula. “We found that there has been a need for the Guides because nationally-distributed textbooks often make few references to the local area around any given school,” said Rob Ross, PRI Associate Director for Outreach and one of the founders of the series. “And we found that while a number of good resources exist for individual states, the Teacher-Friendly Guides take geographic scope into account to explain larger scale Earth processes, with teachers and secondary students in mind.”

Eighteen years in the making, the Guides began with a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations in 1999 for a Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Geology of the Northeastern US. The project was further supported by two grants from the National Science Foundation (0455833 and 0733303), to develop the Guides and a pedagogical approach, virtual fieldwork experiences (VFEs), by which students incorporate regional “virtual” fieldwork throughout the school year.

Each Guide has a chapter on real and virtual field work and on using real-world regional Earth Science in the context of the Next Generation Science Standards. PRI offers teacher professional workshops on use of the Guides and developing and implementing virtual fieldwork experiences. An informal unveiling of the series will take place at the Geological Society of America’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO on September 26th at their Friends of PRI Reception.

All Guides are available for free at, in website format, as PDF downloads, and are also available to purchase as printed books. More information about the Paleontological Research Institution and the Teacher-Friendly Guides series is available at or by phone at (607) 273-6623.

About the Paleontological Research Institution
The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) pursues and integrates education and research, and interprets the history and systems of the Earth and its life, to increase knowledge, educate society, and encourage wise stewardship of the Earth. PRI is the host of two public venues in Ithaca, NY, the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center, and is an affiliate of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University.

The seven regions of the Teacher-Friendly Guides

Pictured above: The seven regions of the Teacher-Friendly Guides series, covering all 50 states, represent the Northeastern, Southeastern, Midwestern, South Central, Northwest Central, Southwestern, and Western US.