May 2009

DanPedrottiBlackSuitIt seems like it has been a short year, so this is my last chance to visit with you as President of CCGS. I have enjoyed working with each of you and participating in the many accomplishments of the Society this year. I am going to miss the monthly reminders from Marian Wiedmann of the deadlines for the Bulletin, however I did a pretty good job of staying ahead of her angst. I have tried to focus on the critical issues and successes each month. I hope I got my messages across.

Speaking of accomplishments – I did not get everything done that I had promised myself. You couldn’t call them campaign promises because I was drafted for this job and didn’t have to run. I am disappointed that we did not have the Field Trip that Dr. Jim Garrison volunteered to lead, and that we did not obtain any new type logs, or the correlation chart several of us had envisioned. Also very little progress was made in attracting sponsors for our Historical Documentary. Well, as the Aggies say – “wait until next year.”

Enough about what we didn’t do, how about all the things we did accomplish:

Congratulations to our hyper-energetic Past President, Owen Hopkins, who will be honored at the AAPG Annual convention in Denver, Colorado as the recipient of the Public Service Award for his successful and continuing program “Planting the Seeds of Geologic Knowledge” and to Brian Calhoun who received the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists’ “Outstanding Service Award” at the Annual SIPES Convention in Hilton Head, SC in April for his many contributions to our profession through his extensive work with SIPES.

“Planting the Seeds of Geologic Knowledge”, supported by CCGS and many individuals consists of “Maps in Schools”, “Bones in Schools” and geological exhibits in two of our area libraries and 20 science posters for Ray High School.

So far our “Maps in Schools Project” has distributed over 1,100 geologic maps to schools throughout the country, and this program has been picked up by several societies in Texas and has spread to to eleven states – but mainly in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. It has also been added to the “Rocks in Your Head” programs funded by AAPG. SIPES-Oklahoma City is distributing 50 in southern Oklahoma.

The next project “Bones in Schools”, now in progress, is to place La Brea-era(Ice Age) bones, collected from the Wright Brothers gravel pits located near Bluntzer in all our area schools. The site owners donated the bones, collected by Dr. Jon Baskin, Head of the Biology Department at Texas A & M Kingsville, and Ronnie Thomas, to the Texas A&M Kingsville-Dept. of Biology, stipulating that they be given away only for educational purposes. Dr. Baskin’s Biology Department and Ronnie Thomas donated 62 boxes of these bones to Miller and Ray High Schools. This donation, and inspiration from Owen, sparked enough interest among the students that they formed paleontology clubs to sort through the bones and identify them. (please see photo of Miller High School Paleontology Club elsewhere in this issue) These bones will be displayed on special stands created by students in the welding classes at the Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend. Each welding student will then present the stand he designed along with a bone and a poster describing the age and name of the fossil to his own school.

Our Library Program is off to a great start. The society has donated a 65 million-year-old fossil fish (Diplomystus) preserved in limestone to the New Garcia Library that was built next to Kaffie Middle School. This fossil is prominently displayed in the children’s special educational section. Our mural, created by artist Dinah Bowman depicting “A Snapshot of Nueces County During the Ice Age 13,230 years ago”, is now complete and will be scanned to 14 X 7 feet onto wall paper to be hung on the wall of the Northwest Branch Library along with the actual fossil leg and shoulder of a Mammoth taken from the Wright Brothers gravel pits and provided by Dr. Jon Baskin and Ronnie Thomas. The mural project has also inspired the development of coloring books for the children to use in learning about our ancient landscape.

The Executive Committee unanimously voted to honor three of our outstanding long time members. The three were introduced at the April Luncheon Meeting. Ray Govett, a Past President of CCGS, was elected to Honorary Membership, the highest honor that can be given to a member for his many contributions to the Society, his professional services to our members and for his great work as Chairman of the Historical Committee in spearheading the effort to bring us our most successful publication “Wooden Rigs and Iron Men.” Charlie Jacobs and Matt Rokovich each received the Distinguished Member Award for their loyalty, service, longevity and participation with our members.

The board reviewed the various funds managed by the Coastal Bend community Foundation and in an effort to eliminate confusion surrounding the purposes and allocation of the revenues from the” Don Boyd Continuing Education Fund” and the “CBCF Library Geology Exhibit & CE Project Fund (Savings)”, unanimously adopted a resolution re-naming the Don Boyd Fund “THE DON BOYD ENDOWMENT FUND” with the stipulation that only the interest in excess of 5% earned annually could be spent on the projects and activities, specified in the original document setting up this fund in 1999. (Please see copies of the original document and this resolution elsewhere in the bulletin). The Board agreed that henceforth all donations for projects not specifically designated for the Don Boyd Permanent Endowment Fund would be deposited in the ”CBCF Library Exhibit & CE Project Fund ( Savings)” and be distributed by the CCGS Board of Directors at the request of the leaders of the various approved projects.

A review of the document titled “Declaration of Irrevocable Trust” that set up our Scholarship Program determined that some of the provisions had not been followed in recent years. We learned that this program was not a standing committee of CCGS, but an independent Board of six members appointed by the Executive Committee of the Society and included the current President of the Society. The new Board will be appointed at the April Executive Committee meeting and plans are underway to award scholarships at our May meeting. The Executive Committee also voted to transfer funds from the operating account and the UBS Savings Fund to the Scholarship Fund in order to bring the fund total to approximately $100,000.00 and to recommend that the New Board award a total of $5,000.00 in scholarships for 2009. Additional matching scholarship funds were requested from GCAGS by Dan Pedrotti at its spring meeting, on April 22nd in Shreveport, LA.

Our participation in our other usual activities, including the Gem & Mineral Show and Earth Day/Bay Day, chaired by Alan Costello, were very successful due to the work of our perennial volunteers and plans for the 13th Annual Family Fossil Filed Trip (May 23) are complete and after last years success we are expecting a large crowd. Thanks to Dawn Bissell the Annual Shrimp Boil was a great event, and the shrimp, donated by Core Lab, were delicious. Back in the seventies, my partner Bill Miller and I chaired the Shrimp Boil for many years.

We have had exceptional speakers and good attendance at our Monthly Luncheon Meetings, thanks to the Program Chairmen of CBGS and CCGS. I especially want to congratulate Rick Paige of Suemaur Exploration and Production, CCGS Vice President and Program Chairman, for his innovative approach to our meetings and for bringing Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt, “Geologist Astronaut” who visited the moon in 1972 on the Apollo 17 mission here to Corpus Christi.

It has been a full year and I cannot begin to express my admiration for our member-volunteers. With most everyone struggling as independents or working for one, I am amazed at your willingness to give so freely of your spare time to make all these programs such successes. I doubt that any other geological society in the country can boast of as many dedicated members.

Thanks again for letting me be a part of this exciting year. I leave with a great sense of confidence in my successor, Juan Cabasos and the splendid line up of Officers and Directors who will work with him. Juan has well fulfilled his role as President–Elect, always ready and available to step in where needed. Thanks Juan for getting core Lab to cover the costs for students who attended our Monthly Luncheons. I would also like to recognize Sebastian Wiedmann who has served the society for many years in every board position we have and continues to participate. I wish to extend a special thanks to all the other members of the Executive Committee who have served with me, many of whom will also work with Juan.

Have another great Society year in 2009-10.

Your President for 2008-09,
Daniel A. Pedrotti