Looking Back on the Year -- Well, Done, Members, Well Done

Looking Back at the Year -
Well Done Members, Well Done
As my tenure as HGS President comes to an end, I have two words to describe the HGS volunteer membership – WELL DONE. We can take pride in the accomplishments this year and the continuance of a fine professional “community” now having completed its 82nd year.  Somehow there arises a bevy of hard-working people that bring enormous contributions to the society, whether they are committee members that step forth to lead at a critical moment or last minute article contributors to the Bulletin to fill needed pages.  Thankfully we have our  “usual suspects” of regular and reliable volunteers that form the bedrock of the organization, and fortunately are reinforced by new workers and leaders.
Well done is better than well said.
Benjamin Franklin
The work of the Houston Geological Society is not only to fulfill the objectives written in the HGS by-laws but to grow the organization and to encourage participation. It is a perpetual dilemma between strict adherence to HGS traditional methods and progressive change. The HGS must encompass both each year to remain vibrant for both the established and new members.
One example of progressive change is the HGS directory. The cost to print and mail the book to all HGS members has skyrocketed to a whopping $30,000. Mail costs have soared, paper and printing costs have escalated, and upon completion the printed directory is practically out-of date as members’ phone and e-mail addresses change so rapidly. Advertisers provide only a quarter of the costs of such a directory. In response to these costs the HGS executive board has created a plan that will allow members to soon download on-line to a CD or to print. Members without computers will be able to call the HGS office and request a directory to be printed that can be retrieved at a nearby FedExKinkos location. Look for this to be available soon.
The HGS Bulletin has also undergone a significant transformation this year in order to provide you with a quality magazine. The annual cost for the ten annual issues including the layout labor, printing, and mailing approaches $150,000 to $160,000. Advertisers have kindly provided for a large portion of the revenue to offset these costs and for this we are most grateful. However expenses will exceed advertising revenue in 2005 and we will have to tap into HGS reserve funds. Editor Art Berman has provided an exceptionally high quality Bulletin this year, my view is that it was the best the HGS has ever generated. To reduce the Bulletin size to fit into our budget, extended articles and photos were placed into the HGS website. Therefore we reduced printing and mail costs, and upgraded our website for our members.
We made a few new additions to modify things this year. We instituted a Volunteer of the Month in the Bulletin and on the web to recognize the fine efforts by the membership.

Social events such as the “Rockets Night Out” and the “Astros Night” were added. A “Ballet Night” will be held on June 9.The First Annual Scholarship Benefit Party “Scholarship Rock Dance” was held to generate funds and to provide awareness of the two scholarship programs. A community service project “Project Respect” was organized with several dozen volunteers participating. An added bonus of this event was the addition of participants from our sister society, the National Association of Black Geologists and Geophysicists.
The HGS accomplishments for the 2004-2005 year are numerous but I created an abbreviated list to make us aware of a great organization we are.

Professional Growth and Assistance

  • Free public seminar (September) – HGS members coordinated the seminar “Flooding in the Houston Metropolitan Area, Past, Present & Future” for the Engineering Council of Houston. Local city and state government agencies presented, and the Houston Chronicle attended.
  • Continuing education programs (Dec– May) – Five seminars developed as a mini-series entitled “Petroleum Reserves – Avoiding Write-downs”. A DVD was prepared of the mini-series 1 & 2 by HGS volunteers. The DVD will be available for sale at the Calgary AAPG Convention. 
  • HGS Geojob bank – Completed 9 years as a free website geoscience job search resource, having posted over 2650 jobs.

Public Outreach

  • Houston Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show (September) – over 3000 students, teachers, scouts and parents stopped by the first-ever HGS booth at this annual event in Humble.
  • Earth Science Week (October) – many HGS volunteers assisted with teaching children & adults at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) and throughout schools citywide. Held 2 successful field trips to the Blue Lagoon Rock Quarry and Landmark Visualization Center.
  • University of Houston Digital Geologic Library (October) – HGS donated $1750 to match the AAPG contribution to support the library. It is provided for students and HGS/AAPG members alike.
  • HMNS “Dino Days” (November) – HGS assisted in the funding of this event with a $3500 donation to enable the world-renown vertebrate paleontologist Dr. Robert Bakker to attend as the keynote speaker.
  • Community Service “Project Respect”  (April) – 27 volunteers from the HGS and the National Association of Black Geologists and Geophysicists provided mowing, trimming, and tree removal at the 177-year-old  Evergreen Negro Cemetery located in the 5th ward of east Houston. Future work includes a GPS survey, and geophysical (GPR) and magnetometer surveys for unmarked grave identification for purposes of recognizing the site by the Texas Historical Commission.

Scholarship Support

  • First Annual Scholarship Benefit Dance (February) – Fundraiser attendees contributed $3500 in silent auction donations toward the HGS Foundation and Calvert Memorial Scholarship funds.
  • Calvert Memorial scholarship dedication (October) – 4 university geoscience graduate students reviewed by the Calvert committee were awarded $3000 each.
  • HGS Foundation undergraduate scholarship dedication (February) – 7 university geoscience undergraduate students reviewed by the Foundation committee were awarded $1500 each.
  • HGS University Scholarship dedication (March) – 7 geoscience students chosen by regional universities were awarded $750 each from the HGS general operating fund.
  • HMNS summer internships (June) – will provide funds for summer internships for two Houston Science Fair exhibitor winners at Guest Night (June 11).
  • HGS Undergraduate Foundation and
HGS Bulletin -- June,2005
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
From the President