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Tanya Del Valle, a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, participates in Geosciences Congressional Visits Day.
Tanya Del Valle, a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, participates in Geosciences Congressional Visits Day.

Geoscientists Descend on Capitol Hill for Geosciences Congressional Visits Day

More than 50 geoscientists from 23 states visited nearly 100 House and Senate offices during the second annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day on 15-16 September 2009. Participants from across the United States helped increase the visibility of and support for the geosciences in Congress.

Geoscientists thanked Congress for recent increases in funding for the science, including an extra $3 billion for the National Science Foundation in the economic stimulus package. Geoscientists also emphasized the importance of future investments in geoscience research and education for addressing such issues as climate change, energy resources, water resources, and natural hazards.

Each participant in Geosciences Congressional Visits Day had an opportunity to meet with members of their state’s congressional delegation. Many participants also met with staff from congressional committees that have jurisdiction over geoscience issues. For example, GSA President Jean Bahr had brief meetings with Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-Wisc.) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), as well as meetings with staffers for Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.), the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Likewise, GSA Executive Director Jack Hess met with Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), as well as staffers for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rep. Edwin Perlmutte (D-Colo.).

Geosciences Congressional Visits Day began with an orientation program that 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. The orientation program also featured presentations by representatives of federal agencies (NSF, USGS, NOAA, and DOE) and Congressional Science Fellows.

GSA members will have another to participate in meetings on Capitol Hill during the Science-Engineering-Technology (SET) Congressional Visits Day on 28-29 April 2020. This event will engage scientists and engineers from all disciplines. Please contact Craig Schiffries, , for more information.