From the President March 2009

Last month I listed the first half of the HGS top ten. Now for the rest, some items which are less well-known:
6. The HGS contributes the largest number of delegates to the AAPG House of Delegates (HOD). The HOD vets AAPG applications and acts like Congress for the AAPG—it generates, approves, or disapproves AAPG by-law changes. Delegates are elected from HGS members for 3-year terms and meet monthly to discuss AAPG business. If you would like to be a part of it, you can self-nominate through the HGS web site.
7. HGS social events are both fun and a big fund-raisers for the society to help support our programs. The Shrimp Peel (usually held in the fall, this year scheduled for April, courtesy of Ike), Skeet Shoot, and Golf and Tennis Tournaments are well-attended events that raise money through sponsorship and participation.
8. The NeoGeos were instituted by HGS in 2000 for entry-level geoscientists through their first five years when HGS realized that many new professionals felt isolated from their peers. At that time, it was not unusual for a young geoscientist to be the only person in his/her company under 40. Since beginning wi th about 35 members, NeoGeos groups have become a trend throughout the industry and the term has been borrowed by other organizations. NeoGeos have regular social events and occasionally put on training courses emphasizing early career skills, such as “Making Effective Presentations.” Currently, we have about 150 NeoGeos, and a number of them have become active volunteers, including as members of the HGS Board.
9. HGS is actively helping educate non-geologists about geology. We offer training for science teachers and student programs through the Houston Museum of Natural History at Earth Science Week. We provide “Volunteer Geologists” at the museum for special events, judges for the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston through the Engineering Council of Houston (we could use one or two more volunteers for this upcoming event), and we help select summer interns for the museum from the Science Fair participants. We offer an award for excellence in science teaching (which includes a cash award). We have been distributing geological maps of the United States free to local schools. We have more maps, if your school needs one. We also have rock and mineral kits available for checkout for school visits by our members.
10. HGS is working to keep members informed of geoscience related legislation in Austin. Most recently, this has focused on adopting the 4th year high school “Earth and Space Science” curriculum as it was developed by a team of earth science educators. We are coming to the wire on this one—please send a note in support of “accepting the ESS curriculum without additional changes” NOW to commissioner@ ( for more information). We are also keeping an eye on rumblings in Austin about doing away with the Texas Board of Professional Geologists as a cost cutting measure (despite the TBPG’s status as a self-funding board), which would cause a great deal of difficulty for our Environmental and Engineering members. More as we receive additional information.
That’s the top ten list, but I find that there are more important functions remaining to be covered later. I am continually amazed by how much the volunteers in HGS actually accomplish—on top of their day jobs! It certainly does help to have the steady support of our office staff, Sandra Babcock, office manager, and Lilly Hargrave, webmaster.
We are in officer nomination season, both for HGS and AAPG. The Nominations Committee, consisting of the past three HGS presidents, selects HGS officer candidates. This year’s nominations will be posted on the web site and announced at the March general dinner meeting, along with a call for nominations from the floor.
HGS also proposes AAPG officer nominations. It is a rather obscure process. Every year AAPG invites us to nominate candidates for their Executive Board. The HGS nominations, along with those of other affiliated societies and from individual AAPG members, are made to the current AAPG Executive Board. The AAPG Board keeps the names of potential candidates for a period of three years as a pool from which they select the candidates for any given year, so candidates we nominated last year and the year before may be selected to run, along with anyone we (or another society or member) nominate this year. Once a nomination is made by HGS, it is up to the AAPG Board to select the candidates. We have been fortunate that many of our members have been selected to run as AAPG officer candidates in the past, and we hope that the excellent pool of candidates that are available through HGS continues to be called upon by AAPG.
 Don’t miss the Continuing Education course this month! Dr. Ernie Mancini will bring us an excellent program on the application of sequence stratigraphy for petroleum exploration in the onshore Mesozoic salt basins of the Gulf Coast. Dr. Mancini is an excellent speaker and a gold mine of information. I will be there and I hope you will too.

March 2009 HGS Bulletin
Friday, March 6, 2009
From the President