April 2012


Many of you may be wondering what the status of our Bones in Schools program is since the loss of Owen Hopkins. Now that Phase Two is winding down, (Phase One was Maps in Schools), we must thank the financial contributions of our members for making “Bones” a success. It has also been funded through grants from the Ed Rachal, John G. and Stella Kenedy Memorial, the Earl C. Sams, the Robin & Lou Carter Family, the Sipes and the Isaac I Foundations that were obtained by Owen Hopkins and Dan Pedrotti. You may recall that this involved CCGS volunteers making presentations and providing bones and materials to all of the Elementary Schools in our local district.

Now as we continue to search for someone to chair the position of Outreach Education Coordinator, Rick Paige and I have temporarily teamed up to fulfill the intention of CCGS to expand Bones in Schools to other societies of the GCAGS. As President of the CCGS, I have to attend semi-annual meetings of the CGAGS. Also attending these meetings are the Presidents of the other GCAGS societies. Rick Paige and I had been communicating with various members of the HGS about extending the Bones program in Houston, but it never took root. At the meeting, however, I approached Steve Earle, current President of the HGS, and he made a commitment in giving the Bones in Schools program a shot. Rick Paige compiled an exhaustive list of all the displays and handouts given to schools at each Bones presentation. Rick and I are orchestrating the startup of their Bones in Schools program. The first stage is planning and budgeting. Rick Paige communicated the expenses involved in pursuing the Bones in Schools program. In the next stage, I put a set of bones and displays together to show the actual program in Houston. Several weeks ago I, along with Linda Simpson, presented a day-long, full blown bones presentation to the New Caney 6th grade school in Houston. The program was video taped and also attended by many HGS members that were interested in the bones program.

There are two key members of the HGS that have become our main contacts. They are Jennifer Burton and Paul Riegler. They are compiling a budget for a pilot program of 25 schools to be shown in the Houston area by HGS volunteer members. Many details had to be worked out with them by Rick and me. The main obstacle seemed to be the acquisition of enough high quality bones to support their program. I have taken it upon myself to organize and classify the bones and have met with Ronny Thomas who provided early direction and guidance for Owen Hopkins. Ronny has given me 100 bones acquired at the Wright’s gravel pit since Owen’s passing. I have been prepping, identifying, and labeling most of these bones. I will be assembling four (4) “traveling sets of fossils” for the HGS. These are necessary so that they can attend to the large amount of schools at various times without sharing a single set. We will also be giving them many other fossils to hand out to science teachers and for permanent displays in schools.

The Bones in Schools program is winding down in our area and most schools have been given display quality specimens. We no longer have the need for a large collection of fossils at our Headquarters. We will keep high-quality specimens and have a sizable “Reference Set” of fossils for identification of future bones. We will continue to make Bones in Schools presentations to the local schools as new students move into the appropriate grades, but we won’t have to give away many additional bones to the schools. I have most of the bones of the CCGS in my garage, and am sorting and labeling them appropriately. I will be attending a meeting with the HGS Board of Directors on April 3rd, along with our President Elect Dennis Taylor. We will make the final presentation to have the appropriate funds budgeted by the HGS for their version of this program. I know all of this sounds complicated, but it is working nicely and we are very excited at this opportunity. I will update the results of our meeting with the Houston people in future bulletins.

Michael Lucente
CCGS President, 2011-12