University of Michigan EARTH eNews: February 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends,
We hope that each of you is off to a wonderful 2016. Here in Michigan, we are enjoying a wonderful, mild winter and hope that the absence of a shadow on Punxsutawney Phil is a sign of warmer days to come. In this newsletter, alumnus Steve Glass shares his own warm memories of spending three summers at Camp Davis, and alumni board chair Steve Henry requests your help reaching out to alumni. A third article congratulates alumnus Paul Koch for his recognition as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As always, we welcome news of our alumni and friends. Please email us and let us know what you're up to, and if you have any news you would like to share.

Sincerely,  Adam Simon and Kacey Lohmann

Alumnus Elected to AAAS
Paul Koch, who earned his MS and PhD in Geology from the University of Michigan, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and will be inducted at the AAAS meeting in February. Paul is Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences and currently Dean of Physical & Biological Sciences, at the University of California Santa Cruz.  Paul was recognized by the scientific community for his groundbreaking research to understand environmental change in Earth's geologic past.  Congratulations Paul!

Camp Davis Note
As Chairman of the Alumni Board Camp Davis Fund Raising Committee, I want to let you know of some critical infrastructure needs at Camp Davis. You may be aware that Phase I of a major Camp Davis renovation was completed several years ago, on the “faculty side” of the camp. This included new cabins and shower facilities. It is now imperative that Phase II renovation on the “student side” be completed in the near term. The cabins and shower facilities are beyond repair and need replaced with new facilities, and the water, sewer and electrical infrastructure are also in dire need of replacement. Please consider making a contribution to this endeavor.

My experiences at Camp Davis undoubtedly “sealed” my geological interest and curiosity that lead to a long, rewarding career as a petroleum geoscientist. It was June 1976 and I found myself in the parking lot at the back entrance by the loading dock of CC Little Building anxiously waiting to jump into a University van and head west to the Rockies and Camp Davis. I did not know any other students heading to Camp, nor had I ever been west of the Mississippi at that time. I was 26 years old and had been working for 4 years since undergraduate school (B.S., Geology, 1972, Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa.), and was ready to begin an M.S. program at UM. My undergraduate degree did not require a field geology course, so I enrolled in UM’s 440 course before starting grad school.

That summer was the first of three that I spent at Camp Davis. The summer of 1977 I went back to Camp Davis to do the field work for my M.S. thesis: stratigraphy and sedimentation of the Peterson Limestone, a fresh water carbonate, one of 5 non-marine formations comprising the Cretaceous Gannet Group. The summer of 1978, after just having completed my M.S. degree requirements, I again went back to Camp Davis as a TA for Geology 116 before heading to Houston for employment with Shell Oil. I was accompanied by my wife Cindy, who was Camp Nurse that summer, and our 4 month old daughter, Kelly.

My most memorable learning experiences include the western Wyoming stratigraphic sequence (Cambrian Flathead through the Miocene Camp Davis Fm.), measuring section, field mapping (yes, including plane tabling at Hot Springs) and construction of geologic maps, structural interpretation, metamorphic facies mapping, and geophysical methods (gravity and magnetic surveys in Star Valley, as I recall). Equally rewarding were friendships that were forged, beer kept cold in the Hoback River to be enjoyed upon return to Camp, the pleasure of putting a fresh coat of paint on Bruce Wilkinson’s Chevy pickup truck each summer with a brush, grilling steaks on the fire pit, and also Ike Smith’s “Barby Q” roast!!

I can honestly say that these three summers at Camp Davis were the highlights of my geological career which has now spanned almost 45 years. The opportunities to see, live and breathe geology in the Western Wyoming overthrust belt and Camp Davis setting are unparalleled. Not only was the formal learning experiences outstanding from a plethora of great faculty, both from UM as well as other institutions, but equally valuable were the less formal learning experiences from faculty and especially other students. I truly hope Camp Davis experiences and opportunities remain available for many years to come, not only for those who study geology, other earth or environmental disciplines, but also those non-science students who now also have the opportunity to study at Camp Davis.

If you have fond memories of your days at Camp Davis, or simply want to see this field experience be there for generations to come, please consider helping the needed renovations become reality by making a contribution to this effort.

Steve Glass M.S., 1978

From The Alumni Advisory Board
In the 2015 Fall Newsletter I stated that the Alumni Board will be putting a lot of effort into helping the Department raise the $3.7 million for the renovation of the student side of Camp Davis. The goal is to start construction at the end of the 2016 field camp and have the cabins ready for the 2017 field season. The Department needs your help making sure our message reaches as many alumni as possible.

Those of us who graduated before the early 1990’s didn’t have email accounts, and most of us have had 5-10 email accounts since then. The Department has a good list of email addresses for graduates since the early 2000’s, but they can’t tell if these addresses are like an unopened P.O. Box with the mail just piling up and never being read.

To help the Department in their efforts, please forward this newsletter to your geology friends from your days at Michigan and ask if they have been receiving the Department’s newsletter. If not, ask them to send their email address to asking to be added to the list. Think of this as your opportunity to talk with some old friends and at the same time help the Department to better communicate with their graduates.

Steve Glass is the Board’s Camp Davis Fundraising Chair. He shares some of his memories of Camp Davis above. If you want to share your Camp Davis memories, send them to as we hope to publish at least one in each of the upcoming newsletters. While that memory is fresh in your mind, think about going online ( and contributing to the renovation. Every contribution, no matter what size, moves the Department closer to their goal and will keep Camp Davis open for current and future students to experience geology and learn what we learned.

Steve Henry, PhD (’81), Alumni Board Chair

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