Past Messages


Lesli Wood, Spring 2006

woodWhat a year! 2005—the year the Earth really flexed her muscles. The year tsunamis became something real and tangible. The year we learned the importance of holding your finger in the dike. The year the Himalayas continued to have growing pains. The year that the price of a barrel of oil caught up with 20 years of inflation. I can think of no other year when the importance of being an earth scientist has been so starkly obvious; at the same time, I have been humbled by the realization of what we have yet to understand. It is with this “no-lack-of-things-to-do” sense that I look toward 2006.

I am pleased to have the honor to serve as GCSSEPM President for 2006. When Past President Bob Loucks asked me to run for office, I knew a fraction of what our largest sectional organization of the SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) was all about. In 2005, while serving on the GCSSEPM Council as the President-Elect, I came to better understand what makes the organization run so successfully and how much work it takes from many people to continue to maintain such success year after year. Right up front I want to thank all of the GCSSEPM Council and officers, past and present, as well as Norm Rosen, GCSSEPM Foundation Director, and the Foundation Board of Directors for their incredible energy and contributions of time and creativity to the society. Such enduring contributions from these key members are gifts to the future.

I need societies. I received my first grant to attend my first professional meeting as a student member of a society. My membership in earth science societies has brought me closer to my profession through the realization that there are so many others out there who share my passion for knowledge of the Earth. At times, when I began to feel buried in an industry consumed with quarterly reports, I turned to my society journals, annual meetings, and research conferences to remind myself about the Earth. I have been mentored by friendships forged through my memberships in professional societies. I am reminded each month when my journals arrive of how much I still don’t know, and that thirst for knowledge reinvigorates my interest in finding answers. Our professional societies are a focus of friendships, networking, and an important sustenance for a vibrant future for earth science. I applaud all members for recognizing the important role that your membership in GCSSEPM and our parent organization, SEPM, plays in our lives.

My relationship to SEPM and its regional sections has changed over time. My membership with the Rocky Mountain Section SEPM during my graduate studies at Colorado State was more one of take than give. Likewise, my involvement with GCSSEPM has long been centered on the annual Perkins Conference, one of the most successful annual geological conferences in the world. However, in 2004 when I was invited to stand for SEPM National Secretary Treasurer, my level of involvement changed. Having been graciously voted into that position, thanks to the confidence (or great sense of humor) of my colleagues, I learned to appreciate how much volunteer work is given to the Society each year. Committee meetings on investments, headquarters business, and biannual Council meetings, as well as Strategic Planning Conferences, began to make me realize how much time many of you give to the future of the earth sciences, to the future of the SEPM organization. Likewise, GCSSEPM is driven year after year by individuals like yourselves who have full-time jobs, children, soccer games, church, continuing educational classes, family, and other responsibilities who nonetheless give of your meager spare time so that the organization may thrive—a gift to the future.

Every time I check the box to judge an SEPM section at AAPG, or volunteer to work a booth at the museum during Earth Science Week, or plan to make the drive down to Houston to attend a GCSSEPM Council meeting, or offer to serve on a committee that needs my ideas and values my opinions, I know that I am paying back that first $300 provided me as a student. I encourage each of you to find some small bit of time to carve out for the societies that foster your profession—AAPG, AGU, SEPM, GSA, SPE, SEG, and others, as well as all of our regional societies like GCSSEPM. Maybe you don’t have time to serve as an officer, but serve in whatever capacity you might be able to. Just when we think that there is no one busier than we are, someone comes along with an even tighter schedule, so offer to help with some aspect of GCSSEPM. Co-chair a session at a meeting, offer your opinions and ideas, speak with your vote on officer candidates, provide content to the Web site, or just support the organizations through your ongoing membership. Society memberships are the science bargain of the century. Finally, spread the word. Speak to your children and their friends, and tell them how fascinated you are with the Earth around you. Earth science will play such an important part of the next century; tell children why they need to be a part of it. Give some of yourself back to the science that has given so much to you—it is a gift to the future.

I look forward to visiting with each and every one of you this year as I serve my presidency. I feel privileged to serve such a vibrant organization and alongside such giving and dedicated officers, directors, and volunteers. If I don’t get a chance to see you at our annual meeting in Houston in April, then I hope to see you at the GCAGS meeting in Lafayette, Louisiana, in September. If those fail, there is always the GCSSEPM Perkins Conference in December. We are looking forward to a great meeting, high and dry in both Lafayette and Houston. We’ll also be looking for a few good volunteers to help out!