The Northern California Geological Society awards $500 to an individual teacher for excellence in the teaching of earth or environmental sciences. Entries will be judged in two categories: Grades K-8 and Grades 9-12. Applications should address teaching of units covering any of the earth or environmental sciences, including but not limited to mineralogy, petrology, economic geology, geomorphology, paleontology, hydrology, and planetary geology are invited from physical science, earth science, and geology teachers.

2014-2015 Awardee

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2014-2015 NCGS Geoscience Teaching award of $500 is Elizabeth Brooking of Pinole Middle School in Pinole, CA. 

2011-2012 Awardee

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2011-2012 NCGS Geoscience Teaching award of $500 is Chung Sinn Khong of Yerba Buena High School in San Jose, CA. 

His Earth & Environmental Science class with the Paleontology and Climate Units covers many aspects of geoscience.  The program also contains materials on observation and critical thinking.  He includes a broad spectrum of materials and references as well as exercises that will help students apply basic principles and discuss specific topics in geological and environmental sciences. 

2007-2008 Awardee

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2007-2008 NCGS Geoscience Teaching award of $500 is Christine Erskine of Brier Elementary School in Fremont, CA. 

She graduated from U.C. Davis with a B.S. in Geology and later studied hydrogeology at U.C. Berkeley.  She earned a master’s degree in Physical Anthropology at Colorado State University before receiving a California Teaching Credential.  She worked as an environmental consultant before becoming a science teacher for the elementary level in 2000.  Christine also has worked in other capacities at places like the Exploratorium and the Lawrence Hall of Science.  She currently holds a teaching credential in biology.  Ms. Erskine lives in Oakland with her husband, two Shiba Inu dogs, and two cats, and enjoys gardening and nature photography.  She maintains a mostly native plant garden that is in the 2008 Bringing Back the Natives garden tour.  The garden has been mentioned in magazine articles, is Bay-friendly, and is a certified National Wildlife Federation habitat.  In addition, she volunteers at the Oakland Zoo on Saturdays and spends time helping train new zoo volunteers.  In her spare time she also trains for triathlons in the spring and summer.

2006-2007 Awardee

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2006-2007 NCGS Geoscience Teaching award of $500 is Cheryl Costello of Monte Vista High School in Dublin, CA. 

2005-2006 Awardees

We are pleased to announce there are 3 recipients of the 2005-2006 NCGS Geoscience Teaching award: one of $500, and two of $250. 

Three Bay Area teachers were recognized and presented award checks at the special March 29, 2006 dinner meeting.  All were successful in NCGS’ annual Geoscience Teaching Award competition.  Pierre de St. Croix was awarded $500.  Cheryl Costello and Mary Jane Holmes each received $250.  NCGS is especially pleased to be making these awards to teachers with obviously high interest in geology.  Normally only one award would have been made, but this year NCGS received three applications of unusually high quality.  Cheryl and Mary Jane were very close runners-up to Mr. de St. Croix.  There were other applicants, each of whom was provided with a teaching kit from Burminco, “Minerals and Rocks They Make.”

Mr. de St. Croix lives in Dublin and teaches 6th grade earth science at Harvest Park Middle School in Pleasanton.  During the 2005-2006 school year, Pierre is teaching a unit entitled “Earth’s Resources (Earth’s History and Fossils).”  His curriculum exhibited a high degree of imagination and detail.  Pierre received a BA in geology with a minor in education from UC Davis and a Masters in science education also from UC Davis.  Pierre enjoys the piano and guitar and a wide variety of outdoor activities including fossil and rock collecting.  He is engaged to be married in October.  Pierre will use his award to help colleagues and himself purchase “the necessary lab supplies needed to further enhance hands-on, project-based learning with regard to Earth’s resources and the concepts that support the standards surrounding the preservation of them.”

Mrs. Costello teaches geology at Monte Vista High School in Danville.  The curriculum for her geology course at Monte Vista is well thought out, detailed, and comprehensive.  Cheryl’s education includes a B.S. in geology from University of the Pacific and an M.S. in geology from CSU, Hayward (now CSU, East Bay).  Before becoming a teacher she was an environmental consultant.  Cheryl lives in Pleasanton with her husband Mike and 2-year-old son Matthew.  She enjoys the opportunity she now has to teach a subject she loves.  Cheryl will use her award to purchase laboratory materials, videos, and visual enhancements for her classroom.

Mrs. Holmes is a member of NCGS.  Her degrees are in history with teaching minors in science and music.  She has been teaching for more than 30 years and is now a science specialist in the Fremont School District at Parkmont Elementary School.  In that capacity Mary Jane offers a fourth grade earth sciences unit in which are included numerous hands-on labs.  She was recently Chair of the District Elementary Science Committee and currently mentors newer science specialists.  Mary Jane is widely traveled, plays the piano and guitar, and enjoys hands-on arts.  Her favorite hobby, however, is geology.  In pursuit of this hobby she attends numerous conferences and generally seeks out every opportunity to expand her geological knowledge.  She is a member of the Castro Valley Mineral and Gem Society.  Mary Jane is married to Tom Debley, has two adult sons, a daughter-in-law, and “the world’s most delightful granddaughter.”  Mary Jane’s home is in Oakland.  She will use her award to purchase solidly geological teaching materials.

2004-2005 Awardee

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2004-2005 NCGS Geoscience Teaching award of $500 is Tamara Garcia of John O’Connell High School in San Francisco, CA.