The Earth Ring is a symbol that unites Practicing Geoscientists.
The Earth Science Ring Ceremony, a ritual of welcome into the profession of newly qualified geologists and geophysicists by senior practicing Earth scientists, started in Alberta in 1975. This yearly tradition for the university geoscience graduating classes at Edmonton and Calgary has spread to other provinces and jurisdictions in Canada, and was adopted in Manitoba in 2008 thanks in part to the efforts of then APEGM President M.T. Corkery, P.Geo. The ceremony carries many of the same passages written by Kipling for the Engineers' Iron Ring Ceremony and symbolizes the commitment and responsibility that come with wearing the title of a professional.
Like the engineer's iron ring, the Earth science ring's simplicity and strength bear witness to the calling of the geologist and geophysicist. The ring is made of silver and marked with the crossed hammer of geology and with the seismic trace of geophysics - signifying both the immediate and the remote searching out of Nature's knowledge. Without beginning and without end, it also represents for those who wear it the continuous interplay of ideas and of material realities.
The ceremony includes a charge (speech) by senior Earth scientists and an obligation (pledge) taken by the group of newly graduated geologists and geophysicists. The charge reads in part: "We tell you here that you will encounter no difficulty, doubt, danger, defeat, humiliation or triumph in your career which has not already fallen to the lot of others in your calling...". The obligation includes the words: "I will not pass, ... false information or too casual interpretations in my work as an Earth scientist. My time I will not refuse, my thought I will not grudge; my care I will not deny towards the honour, use, stability and perfection of any project to which I may be called to set my hand. ... My reputation in my calling I will guard honourably .... I will strive my uttermost against professional jealousy and the belittling of my co-workers in any field of their labour."
On a lighter note, following the obligation, new ring bearers are reminded that, "From now on, we surrender to you what lies under the earth, and the tools to interpret or misinterpret. Sooner or later, you will drill the holes that bring no return, lose the vein in which lie extra riches and reputation, misinterpret the signal from the depths. This will equally baffle, bewilder and break your heart to your professional and personal education."
Receiving an Earth Science Ring is neither a prerequisite nor a later condition of professional membership with APEGM. Although there is no obligation to obtain or wear a ring, it is significant that almost no one in the graduating classes willingly misses the ceremony. In addition, the ceremony is not strictly a graduation event as it has occasionally included already practicing geologists and geophysicists in Alberta who express the wish to receive a ring. Like the iron ring of the obligated engineer, the Earth Science Ring is a symbol of values that lie at the core of our individual beings and of the trust placed in us by society.