Photomosaic of the surface of Mars; the science team associated with the Mars Odyssey spacecraft’s THEMIS camera
A photomosaic of nearly the entire surface of Mars lies beneath the stocking feet of the scientific team associated with the Mars Odyssey spacecraft’s THEMIS camera, which took the thousands of pictures stitched together to form the basketball court–sized image. A newly awarded AGU grant is slated to support plans to display the image (in which cooler colors indicate lower elevations and warmer ones indicate higher) outside the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum this spring to give policy makers and the public a chance to “walk on Mars” and become inspired about planetary science. Credit: Robert Burnham/Arizona State University

With the start of 2019, AGU’s Centennial is now in full swing. And what better way is there to celebrate than by having you, our members, create and plan events across the globe?

That is why I am so pleased to announce the next set of Celebrate 100 grants, which enable our members and partners to share the wonder and excitement of Earth and space science and how that science benefits communities and society.

Open to AGU members and nonmembers alike, the Celebrate 100 grants program, a cornerstone of AGU’s Centennial, provides small awards (less than $1,000) and major awards (up to $10,000) to “support projects demonstrating innovation, collaboration, impact and sustainability in promoting the value of Earth and space science, primarily to the public.” After announcing the first two grantees in November of last year, I’m proud to celebrate our seven newest winners of these grants, which collectively exemplify the power and global value of our science.

Small Grant Winners

1. Sustainability Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) Fair—Nicola Weiss, STEM Education Advocate, California, USA

In March 2019, we are hosting our third annual Sustainable STEAM Fair. Our team decided that the time had come to bring a STEAM Fair to the community to educate families, students, and parents about the roles STEAM has played in their lives and how STEAM education can affect their future studies. We wanted to focus on the environment and on sustainability, which everybody can easily be a part of without a lot of expense and which has a long-lasting impact. As we educate students on campuses and in classes, we are also sharing this knowledge with the community and showcasing student efforts.

2. 2019 AMOS Art Competition: My Favourite Weather—Jeanette Dargaville, Executive Officer, Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society, Australia

The Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society (AMOS) is a national, not-for-profit organization that provides support for and fosters interest in the climate, weather, water, and ocean sciences. Each year we hold a national art competition on a different theme for Australian students from preschool through grade 9. In 2019, the theme that guides student exploration is “My Favourite Weather.”  Students are invited to submit an artwork that illustrates how their favorite weather affects them. While the focus is on creativity, the artists are encouraged to reflect a real-life understanding of how weather influences day-to-day living. The competition is being promoted directly to schools, targeting the following age categories: preschool, primary, K–2 primary, 3–6 secondary, and 7–9.

Major Grant Winners

1. Climate Warrior Collective—Shayna Skolnik, Founder of Climate Warrior Collective, Maryland, USA

Using a series of immersive virtual reality (VR) 360° video shorts, Climate Warrior Collective aims to help people understand the effects of climate change and how these effects are corroborated by data. It also urges people to think about how we can adapt to our changing world. By linking climate data to 360° video footage, this VR series helps viewers better understand severe weather events. The second component to our proposal is a Climate Warrior Collective fashion show. Through a partnership with the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, we would like to show how art, technology, and science can merge to inspire a climate-first mentality. The clothing and bags are sustainably produced, and the show itself will feature area STEM high school and college students modeling the products.

2. Mars on the Mall—Jonathon Hill, Mars Mission Planner and Graduate Student, Arizona State University, USA

The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft’s Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera has acquired images of Mars for more than 16 years. Twenty-four thousand high-quality images have been compiled into a global mosaic and printed at full resolution on a walkable vinyl mat the size of a basketball court. The goal will be to display this giant map of Mars on the U.S. National Mall outside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to spur interest in and support for planetary science among policy makers and the public. We will schedule the event for dates in spring 2019 when Congress is in session and also include a weekend so that a large number of visitors to the museum can explore the map. The desired outcome is that AGU and Arizona State University will be viewed as valuable, knowledgeable partners in planetary science and in distributing the knowledge we gain from planetary missions to the public.

3. Virtual Reality Exploration of Coastal Flooding—Tina Korani, Assistant Professor of Media Design, San Jose State University, California, USA

We are visualizing a historical flood in a photorealistic environment using a VR headset as well as the flood’s projected level with different amounts of sea level rise. Our pilot study will focus on Balboa Island near Newport Beach, a coastal city in Southern California that has experienced nuisance flooding regularly as well as a major centennial flood in 2005. Because the nuisance floods and the recent major flood are still fresh in people’s memories, Balboa Island is a perfect location for testing the impact of VR technology on coastal flooding awareness in a changing climate. By showing that sea level rise is the main contributor to flooding in Balboa, we will highlight the importance of Earth science research to estimating sea level rise accurately and to investing to build the appropriate infrastructures.

4. Strategies for Climate Resilience: Puerto Rico—Erin Leckey, Education and Outreach Associate and Scientist, University of Colorado Boulder, USA

This project engages teachers and community members in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, through a workshop on climate science that grew out of a need for climate science activities identified during a student program held last summer. Our local partners work with teachers and organize community events that explore locally relevant science topics. Our workshop in January 2019 is a 2-day event that includes both climate science and hazard preparation activities. All teacher participants receive professional development credit, a requirement for recertification, and tools to help them implement activities in their classes. The community event following the workshop will include a disaster scenario game, a screening of the student films made in our summer workshop, and a facilitated discussion around climate impacts.

5. Arctic Futures: Science & Policy Collaborations—Brendan Kelly, Professor of Marine Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) and its partners are designing a novel conference to foster collaborative relationships between Arctic scientists, indigenous knowledge holders, and policy makers. The conference will be held 4–6 September 2019 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D. C. The conference will highlight the shared value of informing policy with science and will call for improved communications. Scientists need to understand the cultures and challenges of policy makers, and policy makers need to help scientists make their research more actionable. SEARCH is a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional program synthesizing understanding of the changing Arctic and making that understanding readily accessible to policy makers.

Centennial celebrates the 100 years of the community and science that AGU collectively represents. It is an opportunity for the diverse voices of the Earth and space science community to celebrate the community’s accomplishments in the past century and to set the stage for the next transformational era of Earth and space science. View the list of ongoing and completed projects supported by Celebrate 100 grants and a map displaying the locations of those projects and other Centennial events around the globe.

There’s plenty of time for you to apply for a Celebrate 100 grant to help you participate in AGU’s Centennial, to help amplify the accomplishments and stories of the past 100 years of Earth and space science, to build lasting connections between the research community and society, and to inspire the world to see how Earth and space science can create a more sustainable future for us all.

—Chris McEntee (, Executive Director/CEO, AGU


McEntee, C. (2019), Seven new awardees of Celebrate 100 grants, Eos, 100, Published on 18 January 2019.

Text © 2019. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Except where otherwise noted, images are subject to copyright. Any reuse without express permission from the copyright owner is prohibited.