Many geoscientists have a distinct moment when they fell in love with the discipline. Jesse Reimink and Chris Bolhuis are no exception; they both have very clear moments in their lives when they knew that studying the Earth was the path for them. For Jesse, Chris actually was that moment.
Chris Bolhuis has been teaching high school students the basics of geoscience for nearly three decades and it was not too long ago (okay, it was many years ago actually) that Jesse was a bored 15-year-old sitting in Chris’s classroom. Chris has taught Geoscience in many different ways over the years, from the 9th grade Earth Science class, to college-level Geology courses, a newly-developed Astronomy class, and even 20 summers spent teaching a three-week field geology course in the American West. The talent and inspirational enthusiasm that Chris brings to the classroom has garnered him many awards for excellence in education, culminating in the AAPG National Earth Science Teacher of the Year award in 2013.
After being inspired by Chris to pursue the intrigue of the Earth, Jesse Reimink went on to study Geology as an undergraduate major, get a Geochemistry PhD from the University of Alberta, and eventually land as a Geoscience professor at Penn State University, one of the very best geoscience programs in the United States. After Jesse’s college years he and Chris developed a lasting friendship while rock hunting around the United States. As most field geologists can probably agree, long conversations over a campfire always tend to build long-lasting friendships!
Though Jesse has helped chaperone and guest lecture in Chris’s classes over the past decade, they have always been on the lookout for ways to collaborate with each other in a more meaningful way. With the rise of podcasts and online education in the past few years, they decided to create a geoscience podcast for a general audience.
Geoscience is fundamentally important to society. Despite the importance of our field to the everyday life of most humans, the Geosciences struggle for legitimacy when compared to fields like cellular biology, physics, and astronomy. The topics we study are no less grand than those in astronomy, nor are the issues we address any less relevant to society than those in microbiology. Yet, most people do not value geoscience, and geoscientists, at the same level. This can be changed though effective and passionate communication, and a great many people are doing excellent geoscience communication work. Podcasts are not a new media space, but they have seen an explosion in listenship in recent years, with media companies and major universities taking note. So, Chris and Jesse decided to create a conversational podcast, called PlanetGeo aimed at communicating the excitement and importance of the Geosciences to the general public.
Podcasts offer a fairly intimate listening experience, and we aim to make conversations about important and exciting topics within Geoscience in an entertaining and personal manner. At PlanetGeo we strive to make the most engaging and interesting podcast possible, while providing important and interesting information. Our typical podcast length is ~30 minutes and every other week we release bonus GeoShorts, which are abbreviated episodes that quickly dive into geoscience news, listener questions, or follow up on previous episodes (like this preview to our interview with Dr. Jackie Faherty or this preview with Prof. Michael Mann 🎵). The combination of shorter podcasts with full length episodes allows us to effectively communicate a wide variety of geoscience information to our busy listeners.
The geosciences are diverse, both in terms of scientific impacts as well as individual geoscientist’s backgrounds. One way to highlight different voices in the geosciences is through interviews with accomplished and interesting people. We interview thoughtful and motivated people from all walks of the geosciences (Dr. Diana Roman – volcanologist, Harlan Kredit – Yellowstone Park Ranger) and discuss their careers, their passions, and how their work is important to everyday life! If you are interested in being featured on PlanetGeo, please reach out! Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though we have only been active for six months, we have seen an impressive amount of growth over that time. Particular episodes, such as What is a Tectonic Plate and Dammed if We Do, Dammed if We Don’t, have been used in classrooms ranging from University-level geoscience courses to high school environmental science classrooms. Students have reached out and asked us follow up questions that we provide answers to later on. The interactive nature of podcasts is a truly rewarding aspect. One of Chris and Jesse’s favorite parts of developing this podcast is the educational growth it requires. Though Chris and Jesse have a shared passion and sense of urgency regarding geosciences, they have very different experiences within the field. Designing episodes is an interesting (and at times frustrating) learning exercise for both of them. If you have an idea for an episode, or a suggestion for something you would like to see in PlanetGeo, please reach out to them via email!