News & Events

Please visit this page regularly for fund updates and to find out about new fund efforts.

Rex Buchanan, GSAF Trustee, Director Emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS), and current Director of the Consortium to Study Trends in Seismicity at KGS, explains how his desire to give back to the Society and the geosciences inspires his support.

What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee?

It’s easy to write a check, but I think it’s also important to donate time. And to be honest, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other GSAF Trustees, the staff (both at GSA and GSAF), and GSA members that I might not have met otherwise. It’s a great group of folks!

What motivates you to give to GSA?

The discipline of geology has been a welcoming professional home to me. I’ve developed relationships in the community that I value highly. Supporting GSA is one way to pay back the discipline for what it’s given me. This is also a challenging time for science and scientific societies, and that makes support of GSA more important than ever.

What would you say to others thinking about making a financial commitment to the Society?

GSA provides all sorts of highly visible services, like meetings, field trips, and publications. It also serves other functions, like representing the geosciences on Capitol Hill through its Policy Office and the Congressional Science Fellow program, which are less apparent but equally important. Those activities benefit all geoscientists and deserve our support.

What would you like to say to other people who donate their time and resources to GSA?

In my time as a GSAF Trustee, I’ve been impressed by the incredible level of commitment that many GSA members have made to the organization, both in terms of time and money. GSA supporters believe in the role of GSA and the geosciences, and they make that support tangible.

Rex Buchanan Rex Buchanan in field
Photo on left, credit: David McKinney; © 2010 The University of Kansas/Office of University Relations.

 

Lisa RossbacherLisa A. Rossbacher, GSAF Trustee, President Emerita and Professor Emerita of Geology at Humboldt State University, as well as President Emerita at Southern Polytechnic State University, shares how the opportunities she received throughout her career inspire her to invest in the future of the geosciences through GSA.

What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee?

I know that the opportunities that I have had—in my education, in research, and in professional development—are the result of work that others have accomplished in the past, both in science and in service to our profession. Geologists, more than most people, appreciate the concept of connections through time. I feel that we all have a responsibility to be part of this professional timeline and to help others learn and grow, just as we have benefitted ourselves.

What motivates you to give to GSA?

GSA provides many examples of how the organization helps the profession—and particularly students, who represent our collective future. When I graduated from college 44 years ago, my parents gave me a knapsack, a Swiss army knife, and a membership to GSA. The knapsack wore out years ago, but the knife still opens, in spite of all the peanut butter and cheese in the hinges, and I am still a member of GSA. I was very honored to have been elected a GSA Fellow in 2010. I feel a long-term commitment to supporting the organization and its good work.

What would you say to others thinking about making a financial commitment to the Society?

Contributing to GSA through the Foundation is one of the most direct and effective ways for anyone to support science, scientists, and the future of our planet. Donors have dozens of funds to choose to support, including lecture series, scholarships, awards, field camps, a variety of research areas, travel grants, and “greatest needs of GSA,” which is where I direct my giving.

What would you like to say to other people who donate their time and resources to GSA?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Organizations like GSA are a critical way in which young people are supported and learn—and more experienced professionals can connect, grow, and give back to the discipline in ways that support careers, society, discovery, and our shared future on this planet—and potentially other planets.

 

photo of Darrel CowanDarrell Cowan, GSA Foundation Trustee and Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington, shares how his gratitude for GSA’s support throughout his career drives his current service to the Foundation.

 

What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee? 

As a trustee, I’ve learned how donations of all kinds are essential to the health and future of GSA. I freely give my time, as I just did in April as the technical leader of the Death Valley Rendezvous, to thank donors and friends for their support.

What motivates you to give to GSA? 

GSA has always been my home society, even as an undergraduate. GSA research grants supported the fieldwork for my Ph.D. research. I published my first paper in the GSA Bulletin, and while a graduate student, I presented my first talks at meetings of the Cordilleran Section. I give to GSA to thank the Society for how its financial support, meetings, and publications have benefited my career, and also to ensure that other members of our community, especially students, will succeed in theirs.

 

Jinny SissonJinny Sisson, long-time GSA Foundation Trustee, Research Associate Professor at the University of Houston, and Director of the Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association Field Camp (YBRA), tells us how her desire to support young geoscientists inspires her giving.

What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee?

I want to make an impact beyond teaching and research as it helps make a difference to geoscientists and society. We often think that scientific advances are made with great thoughts alone, but they have to be supported by resources—either time and/or money—given by others.

What motivates you to give to GSA?

I was generously supported by GSA research grants as a grad student and now I can return the favor to young geoscientists. As one who grew up with limited resources but generous parents, I was taught to give whatever we can.

What would you say to others thinking about make a financial commitment to the Society?

Often what is needed most is a leader to pave the way for others. If you see a cause that needs a push—take the lead! Many find being generous with either time or money rewarding in itself, because of the opportunity to share their passion, values, and inspiration with others. When you do this, you have the ability to shape the future of the geosciences.

What would you like to say to other people who donate their time and resources to GSA?

To those who donate time as a volunteer, know that you are helping indirectly many who need it. To those who give money, you are helping directly in many ways. You may only get a short note thanking you for your time or money, but realize that you are part of a Society that gives generously in many ways.

 

Wes Ward, Chair of the GSA Foundation Board of Trustees and formerly of the USGS (retired), shares how his delight in geology, and desire to help aspiring geologists to share in that delight, motivates his service to GSA.

What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee? 

I have been delighted, absolutely delighted in being a geologist! The excitement that I had in discovering this field as an undergraduate; the camaraderie, challenges, and rich relationships in my days with my fellow graduate students and faculty; and the discoveries and successes I enjoyed as a professional are not only that much better when shared, but can be improved upon by my enabling others not just to experience, but to take things even further. With all that I have seen and learned, I marvel at how much more can be experienced or discovered by others if I but give a small portion of my time or talent in advancing opportunities for them—giving them their chance to “blow us all away!” I can’t wait to see what they will do!!

What motivates you to give to GSA?

Many people, most of whom I will never meet, made it possible for me to have a great career in geology. They had the foresight to either set up, or make a contribution to, a fund to help undergrads and graduate students such as I was then. Their faith in future generations is something I admire and both feel obligated to, and very much enjoy, emulating. Working in the Society and the Foundation became a “pay it forward” joyous endeavor, as I would never be able to thank everyone individually. I could not just become personally successful in using the gifts they provided, but go a step further to help the next generation, as I was helped. I am proud to do my part in the development and continuation of our science.

What would you say to others thinking about making a financial commitment to the Society? 

There are the blunt questions such as, “If not you, who?” that remind or alert us that both students and professionals are the best to know how great our science is and what it takes to keep it strong in the future. If they but join the Society in helping us build and maintain the resources to support students and professionals at all levels of their careers, we give ourselves the opportunity to make critical advances and discoveries on which so much and so many depend.

What would you like to say to other people who donate their time and resources to GSA?

You are to be celebrated, friends and colleagues; you know what is at stake and have chosen to help us advance. Thank you, thank you!!

Camera Ford during the Andees field trip Wes Ward (mentor) and Camera Ford (mentee)

Captions: Camera Ford, a 2016 On To the Future participant, during her tectonics field trip in the Andes in January 2016.
Wes and Camera during one-on-one mentoring time at the 2016 GSA Annual Meeting.

Terri Bowers, GSA Foundation Trustee and Principal at Gradient, an environmental and risk sciences consulting firm, shares how her experience of the GSA community as a student inspires her service for the Foundation.

 

What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee?

 GSA was my “home” when I started my career. I gave my first professional presentation at a GSA meeting; I remember both the stress of the occasion and the support I received from other students and academics that got me through it. GSA members were such a community for me when I was young that now is the time for me to help on the other end.

 

What motivates you to give to GSA?

 There may never have been a time when earth science education was as important as it is now. Resources for this support are ever more limited. I don’t know if we, the Society members, can make up the gaps, but we have to try.

 

What would you say to others thinking about making a financial commitment to the Society?

You have to decide what kinds of things you are most motivated to support. The two areas I feel most passionate about are opportunities for the young and science education. Once you pick what you care about the most, then you have to identify organizations that also support your goals. I hope GSA will be one of them.

 

What would you like to say to other people who donate their time and resources to GSA?

Thank you! Together we can do things.

 

Steve Wells, GSA Foundation Trustee and President of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, took a moment to share how his lifelong experience of the GSA community inspires his current service and philanthropic support of the Foundation.

 

What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee?

The GSA Foundation is the fundraising arm for our Society, and the benefits derived from the Foundation’s efforts will provide positive impacts on current and future generations of geologists. Knowing that I can help to shape the future of our field in such a manner makes it very easy for me to serve in this capacity.

 

What motivates you to give to GSA?

The Geological Society of America has been my professional society of choice since I was a graduate student in the early 1970s. As a student, young professional, a professor, and academic administrator, I have benefited from the Society in ways that I cannot measure.  From support for my graduate research to honing my professional leadership skills, the Society has been one of the most important factors in my career over the past 40 years. Giving is a very small step I can take to ensure that GSA will continue to provide these types of positive impacts in the future.

 

What would you say to others thinking about make a financial commitment to the Society?

First, as geologists we study the past, so I would encourage them to seriously reflect on the past trajectory of your career and the role that GSA has made on that trajectory.  From your first GSA field trip where you could stand among those professionals who may have shaped your career, to the first GSA presentation you gave and the feedback provided by key mentors.  Think about the opportunities afforded to publish in outstanding peer-reviewed journals, to those opportunities provided to lead various elements of our Society.  It is this remarkable mix of opportunities that needs to be preserved through personal generosity to guarantee such opportunities for generations of students and professionals for decades to come.

 

What would you like to say to other people who donate their time and resources to GSA?

A very sincere thank you for all you have done, are doing, and hopefully will continue to do for our professional Society. Sometimes, we do not recognize that time is a person’s most precious asset. Giving of time and resources so freely is a form of generosity by our members that makes our Society so special, and quite frankly separates us from most other types of societies.

 

Year after year, we hear that one of the enduring qualities about GSA that members value most is the sense of community found within the Society. Lifelong relationships that begin as students—with professors, advisors, field camp, and lab colleagues—continue throughout our careers. We see camaraderie and longtime friendships that are palpable whenever members are gathered. These vibrant connections inherent to GSA propel not only our interactions, but our programs and initiatives. The GSA Foundation’s values reflect this same sense of community, whether through support of favorite programs or a commitment to mentoring future geoscientists. The GSA Foundation, composed of our generous and passionate donors and their dedication to GSA programs, demonstrates a community of support that we hope to convey to you in our upcoming communications.

As its name suggests, our Greatest Needs Fund provides critical resources for the programs you respect and value. The special fund ensures that we have flexible support that we can direct where available funds may not be enough to meet the need.

Vicki McConnell, our Executive Director, describes it this way:

“The GSA Greatest Needs fund provides critical finances to directly benefit many of our defining programs, which you have come to know and value. For example, I can assign the funds to increase student travel grants, to increase research grant awards, to help fund our science policy fellow, and to increase our On To the Future diversity awards—in short, to meet our most pressing needs for our science and our future.” 

By this time of year, the need is especially great because GSA leadership is getting a picture of what programs still require support to be viable. Will you make a contribution today? Click the DONATE button at the top right of your screen.

Amy Moser standing at edge of canyon

Amy Moser doing fieldwork in Clark’s Fork Canyon in northern Wyoming. Programs like this one benefit from our Greatest Needs Fund.

Camaraderie over happy hour after dusty days in the field, friendships forged under hot desert sun, new personal and professional connections—although these things may not be what lured attendees to GSAF’s first-ever Rendezvous in April, they are the kinds of experiences and connections we left with after our six-day trip together based in Shoshone, California.

We were thrilled to kick off the Death Valley Rendezvous, the first in what we hope will become a series of one–two trips per year, with 25 participants from coast to coast. Some attendees were longtime friends of the Foundation, and some we were meeting for the first time; some were students, some current professional geologists across disciplines, others retired from long careers, and some were family members of geologists attending. The trip held interest for all: Death Valley and the surrounding area offer a fascinating spectrum of geology to ponder, from the towering walls of Titus Canyon to the Amargosa River Valley. Trip leader Darrel Cowan, who has spent his career studying this area, led lively, rich discussions at each site. In addition, we spent time talking about the ecology of the area with local Nature Conservancy naturalist Len Warren, from pupfish once thought to be extinct to the curious migration of the Phainopepla. One of the students—Jason Muhlbauer, a Wright-Troxel Research Grant recipient—even gave an evening presentation on his research focused on a nearby site. And Shoshone Village was a welcoming home base conducive for us to gather, relax, share ideas and reflections on the days over meals, and explore on foot between scheduled activities.

Feedback from participants has been so positive, and the slots filled so quickly, that we are encouraged to hold similar Rendezvous trips in the future. Keep your eyes out to see where our next destination will be!

people in the field by a poolfieldwork at Death Valley

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