But there are barriers, including the lack of teacher preparation programs in some states, a lack of professional development, the lack of undergraduate degree programs that provide solid scientific foundations for teachers in Earth sciences in some states (my own, Oregon, being an example), and a continuing bias amongst guidance counselors, admissions officers, and the scientific community outside of the geosciences that serves to protect their own interests rather than a broader approach to science first expressed in the twenty-year old National Science Education Standards, which theoretically gave Earth science equal footing to the life and physical sciences. I survey the situation in Oregon in particular, having moved here from Florida four years ago - a true study of irony given Oregon's diverse biomes and natural geoscientific wonders, with a rich array of natural resources and hazards, and yet, no statewide effort (yet) to fully implement NGSS's opportunities in the Earth sciences, in spite of the state's lead role in the formation and adoption process.
We as an atmospheric / geoscientific community must go further than we have to date to advance our ideas — into the field, into the biology, chemistry and physics classrooms, in order to get more students interested in taking geoscience classes, whether they be in high school, community college, or the university. Only then will be able to truly tap a more diverse pool of students who have the curiosity about nature and their environment, but may never have seen the opportunity to apply it in a geoscientific setting. This may be particularly true of students from smaller, rural areas lacking good science laboratory instruction. We need more first generation in college students, more students from varied socioeconomic backgrounds, and we need to think of ways to do this organically, by tapping into genuine human interest in topics that we all know well and love to teach about. Provide the natural hook that we all already use in our teaching. And teach others about the true value that we can offer.