President’s Column – December 2004

Title: So Long and Thanks!
Author: Donna S. Anderson
Publication: The Outcrop, December 2004, p. 3

The last twelve months has flown by, and my term as President has drawn to a close. We’ve had a busy and successful year. My job has been to keep the ball rolling and set up things for next year for Elmo Brown’s term. In August, I prepared a report on the RMAG activities for the annual Rocky Mountain Section AAPG Board meeting. When I showed it to Sandi Pellissier for help on getting my facts straight, she exclaimed, “I’m exhausted just reading this.” As we close out the year, our pace continues to be hectic. In November alone, we conducted four activities in succession over a two-week period. Perhaps a better term might be “hyperactive.” I predict that the trend will continue into 2005.

Some of my initiatives have been relatively invisible to the membership. Enabled by a generous donation by one of our members, the RMAG office upgraded its computer hardware after a long period of repairing old, slow machines with tiny hard-drives. In addition, due to the generous volunteer efforts of Mark Sonnenfeld and his committee of web “masters,” the  RMAG embarked on a major upgrade to the website. The committee created new specs for the site, evaluated bids, selected a web consultant, and provided oversight, along with the engagement of the RMAG staff. The website is now dynamically database-driven, runs faster, and is completely accessible to the RMAG staff. Chris Houston, at the RMAG office, has nothing but kudos for the way the site is now handled internally. The hardware and website upgrades lay the foundation for much-needed upgrades to the RMAG membership database. Depending on finances, that upgrade may take place in 2005. As with many organizations, the web has become a major way that the RMAG reaches out to members. It also provides our outlet to the world.

This year, we have also experimented with symposia that target small interest groups. As I write this column, the Hydrothermal Dolomite Symposium looks like it will fill that niche. Small forums can be successful if costs are reasonable and the technical content is strong. By holding such symposia on a college campus with co-sponsorship from student organizations, the RMAG also gains exposure to students, another initiative that I have advanced.

One of the great pleasures of my presidency has been the correspondence, spoken and written, that I have received as a result of the President’s column. I have enjoyed writing the columns, using them to feature how the RMAG runs on volunteers. I hope I have thanked all of you, even though my words will never be sufficient to express my gratitude. In one column, I addressed some of the conflicting land-use issues facing the Rocky Mountain region. I return to that theme in closing.

Photo by M. Castleberry, courtesy of J. Miskimins.

We live in a rapidly urbanizing West. Many western communities are regaining the population that they had in the late 1800s, when mining towns and ranching centers were built. Today, as then, newcomers bring with them the expectations of the current lifestyle. Today, as then, newcomers dilute the existing population, which creates conflict. Sometimes, though, the existing population finds some unique adaptations to the new landscape. So, with apologies to Tennessee Williams, I’ll leave you with this image (above) of a bobcat on a warm steel oil-tank, somewhere in Wyoming. Thanks to all of you for a memorable term!