Minutes of the
AAPG Public Outreach Committee Meeting
Download PDF of Minutes
AAPG Annual Meeting, Houston, Texas
Noon to 2 pm, Sunday, 9 April 2006
National Park Service
National Park Service
Bennett Bearden (Vice Chair)
PTTC – Eastern Gulf Region
Marcus E. Milling
Gretchen Gillis (Chair)
David H. Hawk
J.R. Simplot Co.
RMAG – Denver
WV Geological Survey
Meeting Called to Order by Chair Gretchen Gillis, 12:05 pm.
The meeting started with introductions and a request from the Chair for each member to respond to the following question: What do you want to contribute to Public Outreach Committee (POC)? The responses covered a range of topics but centered on a few key themes:
- recognition of the importance of public outreach given today's industry challenges
- a need to narrowly define the 'public,' and focus resources accordingly
- an appreciation that many of the other AAPG committees are involved in some form of public outreach, and that duplication must be avoided.
AAPG Headquarters Communications
Larry Nation, AAPG Communications Director, discussed some ways that the AAPG HQ communications staff engages in public outreach.
- It provides information to wide audience through the AAPG Explorer, which is presented in a newspaper format using plain language. The Explorer serves as a “common pond in the jungle where all the animals can drink in peace” and is read not only by geoscientists but also by engineers, landmen, financial analysts, and government officials.
- It manages the AAPG website, which provides access to material aimed at a wide variety of audiences beyond AAPG members.
- It takes the lead on public relations and media relations, including providing information for an upcoming piece on ABC's 20/20 that will deal with recent developments in the Barnett Shale play.
- And it provides tools for informing the public, for example:
- - Energy and Environment: a Partnership that Works, a booklet that dispells some negative myths about the effect of exploration and production on the environment
- - What Makes Climate Change, a poster that explains natural sources and drivers of climate change through Earth's history.
Review of Public Outreach Committee Plan
Chair Gretchen Gillis presented the 2006 Public Outreach Committee Plan (Attachment 1-PDF). Gretchen emphasized synergy/coordination with other Committees through the AAPG Committee Oversight Committee, with the aim of determining what others are doing and avoiding duplication. Gretchen requested feedback around the idea of taking out advertisements and writing letters-to-the-editor to inform the general public about petroleum issues. It was also suggested that POC could assist on AAPG position papers and initiate efforts to make outreach material more accessible to Association members.
The Chair requested additional suggestions or comments. There were none.
Words from the Executive Committee
Clint Moore, AAPG Treasurer, recommended Committee members submit proposals for outreach efforts to the Executive Committee. A question was asked about the amount of funding that might be available. Clint responded with the recommendation to prepare a good case for what we think best/appropriate, submit it, and "reach for the stars." Funding can be made available for well-defined, productive programs.
- Oil Drop: Tom Dignes reported that he has Chevron support for preparing the document and is looking for content. Suggestions were made to consult the IPAA website or to request materials from IAPG.
- Primer: Gretchen requested input from the group to identify an existing high-quality oil and gas primer. Responses included mention of various old publications, including the Tulsa Desk & Derrick Club and one from the Colorado School of Mines. Larry Nation suggested a Google search. Many primers are available on the Internet. There was general agreement that we do not want to create a primer; rather we would like to get permission to use a good one that already exists and facilitate its widespread use. An important question is how do we get the primers to those who may need them. Earth Science Week was one suggestion.
- Climate Charge Card: In review by Publications Committee.
AGI Public Outreach Report
Ann Benbow distributed a packet of materials from 2005's Earth Science Week, and informed the Committee of the vast resources for public outreach that are available from AGI. In particular, four different K-12 education modules, with instructions for teachers, are available to the public. The modules were largely funded by NSF. Ann reminded the Committee that AAPG is among the biggest funding organizations for AGI, so we should improve our uptake of what's available there. Ann summarized some of the ongoing programs at AGI.
- Earth Science Week: Since 1998 – funded by AAPG Foundation
- For kids and teachers, in cooperation with many other organizations.
- DVDs – careers, tsunamis, earthquakes. Available to teachers across the country by contacting their state geological surveys
- Teachers Lesson Kits – 2006 Theme “Citizen Science”
- Poster with lesson ideas for teachers
- Calendar of activities
- Web site
- Electronic newsletter
- Elementary initiative with K-5 Earth Science concepts website: content, activities, courses, geoscientist interaction
- Partnered with Scholastic Publishing
- Posters reached 4,000,000 students and 137,000 teachers
- Promote Earth Science Week
- Web site
- Television Project “System Earth” – Questions arose from the POC about treatment of global warming.
Liaison with Other Organizations
Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (PTTC)
Bennett Bearden, Vice Chairman, informed the Committee of an urgent matter regarding the Administration's proposed zeroing out of natural gas and oil R&D. The 2007 Department of Energy budget proposes very limited funding for petroleum geoscience technology programs and eliminates nearly all PTTC funding. Don Juckett is involved in Washington. Bennett urged committee members to contact their congressional representatives. Should a broader appeal be made to the full Association membership?
Coalition on Public Understanding of Science (COPUS)
Lee Allison, current State Geologist of Arizona, and former Public Outreach Committee Chair, informed the Committee of new organization that parallels the POC. The idea for creating COPUS comes from a realization that the science enterprise is in jeopardy. The U.S. needs to double math/science graduates in 10 years. NSF funded the first COPUS workshop, which was restricted in attendance but included participants from many public and private science-based organizations.
National Park Service
Bob Higgins reported on the many programs available through the National Park Service. In particular, the Geologic Resources Program provides support to parks on a broad range of geology activities. Some of the programs include Geologists-in-the-Parks partnerships, land restoration, minerals management, and paleontological surveys.
Building on the theme of sharing resources and avoiding reinventing the wheel, there was a consensus that more than one liaison to other organizations would be desirable. Accordingly, the following liaison assignments were established with other organizations:
- COPUS -- Eric Radjef
- National Park Service -- Elmo Brown
- AGI – Gretchen Gillis
Meeting Adjourned at 2:00 PM
Attachment 1 to Minutes of Public Outreach Committee Meeting: 2005-2006 AAPG Public Outreach Committee Plan (PDF)