Volunteers – The Engine That Powers AAPG

In a previous column we talked about the fact that AAPG is a member-led organization. We elect our officers from among the membership, and these folks donate their time and talent to guide the Association during their term of service.

In all cases, agreeing to stand for an AAPG office is a multi-year commitment. And these folks demonstrate a remarkable spirit of volunteerism that is at the heart of what makes AAPG work.


AAPG’s mission is to advance the science of geology, especially petroleum geology. We do this by engaging members from across all segments of the scientific enterprise:

  • Practitioners who are actively exploring for oil and natural gas.
  • Consultants and service companies providing both scientific and technology solutions.
  • Faculty and students working to better understand fundamental geological processes.
  • Government researchers and regulators.

In essence we learn from each other – and over the past century AAPG has become a forum to enable and promote this scientific exchange.

The centerpiece of advancing the science is the AAPG BULLETIN. As a peer-reviewed journal it is the gold standard for the science that we publish. Environmental Geosciences, the peer-reviewed journal published by the Division of Environmental Geosciences, serves the same role in its niche. And our special publications, such as AAPG Memoirs, adhere to the same rigorous standards of our journals.

The authors of papers published in these journals and special publications are volunteers. The editor and associate editors of these journals and books are volunteers. The multiple reviewers who read and comment on each paper are volunteers.

One of the principal benefits of AAPG membership is receiving a copy of the BULLETIN each month – it’s actually codified in the Association’s bylaws. Likewise, the AAPG Bookstore plans to continue publishing new books that we can purchase to advance our own understanding of a particular topic. Yet none of these things exist without volunteers who contribute their time and talent to advancing the science and telling us about it.

Volunteers are the technical backbone of several of the offerings of the education department, including Hedberg research conferences and Geosciences Technology Workshops. These are two of our premier venues where volunteer experts share their knowledge and insights to encourage the exchange of scientific ideas and collaborative learning.

AAPG Section meetings are almost entirely based on the efforts of volunteers.

The AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition and International Conference and Exhibition are two of our premier meetings where volunteers play pivotal roles. The list is long, but the technical program committees, the judging of talks and posters, soliciting sponsorships and developing short courses and field trips all rely on the efforts of volunteers.

Oh, and don’t forget the speakers at the meetings. All of these folks submit abstracts, build slides and present their science to the attendees.

And we must mention the myriad program committees within AAPG. Each charged in some way with helping the Association achieve its mission to advance science, as well as provide valuable products and services to fellow members.

Who does all of these things? You guessed it: Volunteers.

There’s a clear pattern here.


So many of the things that we as members have come to expect from AAPG – specific products and services we rely on – are the direct result of the efforts of members like you. Members who volunteer their time and talent to create these things are essential ingredients in making AAPG an association that is attractive to prospective members and delivers tangible value to its existing members.

Perhaps you have an idea for a product or service, a journal article you’ve considered writing, or simply a desire to be a recognized member of a larger community of geologists.

Maybe it’s time to give something back – to use your unique skills and talents to elevate the discussion, to enhance the Association.

You don’t have to start by making a multi-year commitment to a project or task. Start small. There’s plenty of room for you to make your mark on the Association.

And as our dedicated volunteers will tell you, it’s really a lot of fun.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - David Curtiss

David Curtiss is an AAPG member and was named AAPG Executive Director in August 2011. He was previously Director of the AAPG GEO-DC Office in Washington D.C.

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The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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