Photo: Lee Pelligrini

School of Rocks

BC Earth and Environmental Studies Chair Ethan Baxter is making videos to get kids interested in geosciences.

BC Earth and Environmental Studies Chair Ethan Baxter uses isotope geochemistry to measure geologic time. At the core of this work—and of his career—are the tales rocks tell. “That’s a theme that really transcends all of my teaching and most of my research,” he said. “You start with the rocks and the earth materials and the stories evolve from there.” He maintains a childlike wonder about the natural world, so much so that he’s sharing it with the elementary school set. Over the summer, he filmed and released a 44-episode YouTube series called “Every Rock Has a Story.” The short videos, featuring Baxter surrounded by stones, are fun, but the mission is serious: to get kids interested in geosciences. “People think about rocks and they might think about earthquakes and mountains,” he said. “But it’s also about climate change, agriculture, water, Mars exploration, resources, energy, and technology—the most important, challenging problems that face society today.” —Courtney Hollands