RMAG Foundation: 2006 Award for Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences

Title: RMAG Foundation: 2006 Award for Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences

Publication: The Outcrop, August 2006, p. 25

RMA G President Bob Cluf (left) and Popular Geology & Education Committee Chair Jerry Cuzella (right) present the 2006 RMAG Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences to Gail Holmes (center) at the June 16 luncheon.

In the year 2000, the RMAG Foundation instituted an award to honor teachers who have promoted “Excellence in Teaching of Earth Science” to elementary or secondary school students. The recipient receives a plaque and a cash award, provided by the RMAG Foundation. This year a subcommittee of the Popular Geology Committee judged applications submitted by teachers from throughout the Front Range area. This year there were many qualified applicants and the task of choosing the award winner is always a difficult undertaking.

The 2006 recipient of our Excellence in Teaching Award is Ms. Gail Holmes, who teaches earth science classes at Hamilton Middle School in Denver. Gail has been a teacher for 35 years, with the last 11 years at Hamilton. She holds a degree in education from State University of New York College at Oneonta, New York.

Gail imparts an attitude to her students for the need to study and understand problems and become part of the solution; what they learn has meaning to everyday life. She has created interesting and stimulating activities in her classroom to help her students make connections to understand the world around them.

Her curriculum stresses hands-on, activity-based laboratory exercises. She begins with the scientific method and follows with the study of rocks and minerals, fossils, geologic time, natural resources, water, fossil fuels, renewable resources and their role in energy production, pollution, and conservation. Gail instills in her students a desire to learn, to be curious about the earth and observant of geologic processes and responses. In addition to her classroom work she has led students on numerous field trips to expose them to geology and the natural sciences. Gail has been involved with the “Earthkeepers Club” for the past 6 years and is an advisor of an after-school club that focuses on environmental issues.

Gail Holmes is an example of those dedicated teachers who make a difference and make a significant and positive impact on our children. She represents the best of those who teach earth science and is a very deserving educator.