2005-2006 AAPG Public Outreach Committee Report
Download PDF of this information
Mission: The function of the Committee on Public Outreach is to develop means of informing the public about geology in general and petroleum geology in particular, and to report successful projects to AAPG’s affiliated societies.
The Public Outreach committee reviewed the practice of public outreach as a means to decide how to best serve AAPG going forward. Strategic public outreach involves the following steps:
- Develop a list of stakeholders or publics – individuals or groups who can affect or are affected by the organization
- Determine the concerns of the publics
- Identify and manage the organization’s response to concerns
- Develop communications objectives (communication, retention of message, acceptance of message, agreement with message, complementary two-way behavior)
- Plan programs to achieve objectives
- Implement programs
- Evaluate programs.
If successful, the Public Outreach committee can:
- Enhance public knowledge of petroleum geology
- Make AAPG the leading voice on petroleum geology issues as they relate to the general public
- Advance the profession, the organization, and the members.
The Public Outreach committee plan for 2005-2006 included the following:
- Identify public concerns
- Rank concerns
- Determine AAPG responses for each of the top 3 concerns
- Define audiences for each concern
- Develop appropriate messages about each concern for each audience
- Develop relationships with appropriate outreach partners.
The committee recognizes that any public outreach effort requires overcoming several challenges:
- Competing for attention
- Overcoming perceptions of organizational bias
- Reaching consensus among AAPG members on outreach issues
- Retaining volunteers who are stretched to their limits
- Sustaining the effort.
This year, the Committee has considered whom “the public” should include and which issues AAPG can address credibly and effectively. We have designated liaisons to relevant AAPG committees and several other organizations, including AGI, Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), the National Park Service, and PTTC.
Members of the committee are developing a poster to show the journey of a drop of oil from reservoir to end-user, which is intended for school-age children. We also are evaluating opportunities to communicate about careers in petroleum geology and petroleum resources. AAPG will be featured in a page of the Earth Science Week calendar to be distributed by AGI.
Climate change is the topic of greatest interest to AAPG members and the public. We await feedback from the membership about “A Geological View of Climate Change and Global Warming” by Bill Pollard, Ray Thomasson, and Lee Gerhard, and revision of the AAPG position paper on climate change by the DPA Government Affairs Committee so that our outreach efforts are consistent with the views of the membership and any publicly stated policy. We hope to be ready to tackle this issue at our mid-year meeting, tentatively scheduled for October.
Membership of the committee has changed significantly in the last year: half of the committee members are new to Public Outreach, and a broader spectrum of AAPG membership, including younger members, is now participating. I am grateful to all the members of the committee for their efforts, and to Clint Moore and Larry Nation for their support.
June 14, 2006