Letter from the Secretary/Editor
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
Outreach is a critical component of our careers. I started to write this month’s column as an informative summary on how to become a House of Delegate representative. While that information is covered, I also wanted to discuss other outreach opportunities within AAPG. My volunteer activities with AAPG did not begin in the House of Delegates. My first activity stemmed from something I am passionate about—educating the public about the earth sciences. Whether talking to school children or someone in the checkout line, we represent our scientific discipline and must help the public understand how the earth sciences affect their everyday lives. Outreach can mean many different things. In my opinion, the definition of earth science outreach is when an activity occurs that causes the public to take notice and discuss topics related to the earth sciences.
It has been difficult recently to ignore the events going on at the United Nations Climate Change Conference which took place from December 7-18 (http://en.cop15.dk/). When the leaders of the world come together with a common goal, citizens of the world take notice. Not everyone is pleased about the outcome of this gathering, but the leaders of countries with many opinions did reach common goals. Education about the issues on global climate changes and the factors influencing the current and future changes were discussed and the public became more aware, this is outreach.
It is unknown who once said “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.” This something is what each and every one of us must start. There are seven committees in AAPG that have outreach as their primary mission. Chuck Caughey serves as the Outreach Committee Manager which includes Public Outreach, Youth Educational Activities, Preservation of Geoscience Data, AAPG 100th Anniversary, History of Petroleum Geology, Astrogeology, and Professional Women in Earth Science. Each of these committees has a Web site (http://www.aapg.org/committees/index.cfm). This link provides a complete listing of all AAPG committees. All committees, including the outreach committees, are always welcoming new members who are driven to “do something.”
While volunteering for a Earth Science Week activity, I met the president of the local society who later asked if I would consider serving on the AAPG House of Delegates. Next, members of the local society voted and elected me to one of the seats within the House of Delegates (which are assigned based on the total membership of the society). Information on your local society’s representation can be found at http://www.aapg.org/house_of_delegates/. Perhaps you are a member of AAPG but not a member of the local society; there are professional and personal benefits to being a member of both a local society and AAPG. Do not be discouraged even if your local society has full representation. Representatives are elected for three years and there may be opportunity to run as a candidate in the next election. Contact the president of your local society and ask if you could be considered in the next election. Some societies that have not elected any representatives (listed as NONE under the Delegates column); if this is reflected for your local society, please contact Sandi Barber, chair of the Resolutions Committee.
You may not be aware that the House of Delegates is the governing body of AAPG. Any changes to the constitution, bylaws, and/or procedures of the organization are considered by the HoD and put forward based on the process outline by David Hawk in the last issue of the Delegate’s Voice and then voted on by its representatives at the annual AAPG meeting. During my time as representative, the HoD have considered issues that ranged from adding a Vice President of Regions, graduated membership dues, better defining student memberships to include all full time students with no limit to the number of years an individual can be a student member, and evaluation of the global corporate structure of AAPG, just to name a few (there are many others).
As a representative, there are opportunities to meet AAPG members from around the world to discuss their perspectives and find out about the outreach activities they have going on in their corner of the world. Whether in a large political arena or small, we come together annually, bringing our varied opinions with a common goal to improve AAPG and plant the seeds for a better future. I look forward to this year’s meeting in New Orleans and I encourage you to begin planting seeds within any of the AAPG outreach programs.