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Celebrate our Past, and Visualize our Future

The Association of American State Geologists celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2008. It was founded when 42 of the 46 states had geological surveys. The U.S. Geological Survey had been in existence for 29 years and there was both support and disagreement between states and the federal government concerning geologic work on non-federal lands. Since state geological surveys were part of state governments, these surveys needed an organization to influence the federal government, exchange ideas, and foster cooperation. The AASG was founded in Washington D.C. on May 12, 1908, with 22 state geologists in attendance. Science Magazine announced the new organization. The first officers elected were H.B. Kummel (N.J.), president; H. Foster Bain (IL), secretary; and J.H. Pratt (N.C.), executive committeeman. The first resolution, for a national topographic mapping program, was sent to President Theodore Roosevelt at the Conference of Governors.

The AASG has played a vital role in the history of the United States during the 20th century, organizing and promoting activities including topographic and geologic mapping, resource assessments, groundwater supply and protection, geologic hazards assessments, and support for and feedback to federal programs in all of these areas. AASG was instrumental in passing the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Act that was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. The history of AASG is a study in public policy, government actions and inactions, and state-federal cooperation and dissent, but ultimately it reflects the history of advocacy for geology-related programs needed by society.

The previous paragraphs were plagiarized freely from an abstract Jim Cobb, AASG Historian wrote for the 2007 GSA annual convention in Denver. It provides an appropriate backdrop as we gather this year to "Celebrate our Past, and Visualize our Future."

This year's meeting of State Geologists breaks with past meetings. Yes, we'll take time to conduct the business of the organization, but we are allocating more of the schedule to examining the history of the AASG, the future of our organization, and our relationships with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Recognizing the important role the USGS played in the founding of our organization, this Centennial Conference is sponsored by both the USGS and AASG. We are holding the meeting in the beautiful and historic Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

The 2008 meeting will be an opportunity to celebrate our common past, and visualize the future role of geological survey agencies in our society, with emphasis on the responsibilities and challenges of the coordinated Federal/State Geological Survey Agency network that will be needed by the Nation. The meeting therefore will outline a vision for our future coordinated role, and there may be focal points such as objectives that can only be fulfilled in partnership. Conference special events, guest speakers, and commemorations will support the theme. Breakout sessions are designed to articulate elements of shared AASG-USGS partnership, challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities. Each group will answer specific questions.

Come ready to relax; dress is informal.

Birdseye view of the National Conservation Training Center