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GSA Cosponsors Geosciences Congressional Visits Day

Geoscience Congressional Visits Day
Geoscientists meet with Rep. Chet Edwards (third from right) during Geosciences Congressional Visits Day.
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Rep. Charles Dent (second from right) meets with Geoscience Congressional Visits Day participants. Geoscience Congressional Visits Day

During the first-ever Geosciences Congressional Visits Day, 9-10 Sept. 2008, more than 60 geoscientists from across the United States visited over 100 House and Senate offices in an event designed to increase the visibility of and support for the geosciences in Congress. Among the participants were GSA’s president, Judith Parrish; vice president, Jean Bahr; executive director, Jack Hess; and director for geoscience policy, Craig Schiffries.

The event included education about Congress, the federal budget process, how to communicate the value of the geosciences to policy makers, and how to conduct congressional visits, with presentations by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Also featured was a panel discussion by Congressional Science Fellows cosponsored by the Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, American Geological Institute, and Soil Science Society of America.

After the training sessions, individual geoscientists met with members of Congress and congressional staff and held constituent meetings with their own congressional delegations. Highlights include meetings with Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-Wisc.), and Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.). Meetings were also held with staff for key congressional committees, such as the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

The first Geosciences Congressional Visits Day was coordinated by Washington D.C. staff from the American Geological Institute, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the American Geophysical Union, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, The Geological Society of America, the Seismological Society of America, and the Soils Science Society of America.