Northeastern Section–41st Annual Meeting (20–22 March 2006)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


TITUS, Robert C., Hartwick College, Dept Geology, Oneonta, NY 13820,

The Catskills have long had a tradition of commitment to natural history. Our 19th Century tourist trade was founded on outdoors recreation. The Hudson River school of art was established here. Our region played an important role in modern environmentalism with the creation of the Catskills Forest Preserve. In this light, the Catskill community is well suited as a place to develop a model for the communication of the geosciences to the general public.

At the center of such communication are local newspaper columns. These, usually weeklies, provide ideal space for focused publications. Any professional geologist will know scores of fascinating geological sites in any area. These are perfect for description on a weekly or monthly basis. Catskill area papers, the Woodstock Times, the Greenville Press and the Columbia County Independent have provided the author with extensive space for periodic columns since the late 1990's. At a higher level is the regional magazine. Kaatskill Life magazine has been publishing the author's "The Kaatskill Geologist" columns in every issue since 1991. This seasonal magazine provides ample space for full color, feature geological articles, well-suited to the general public. Beyond these are the regional book publishers. These local presses present ideal opportunities to publish introductory geology books aimed at a local audience. The Catskills have two of these. Both have published books on regional geology. At the highest level are the local public radio and television stations. These provide only occasional access to the geo-writer, but they are very valuable. At the lowest, grass roots level, are formal and informal civic groups: local nature groups, historical societies, hiking clubs, business societies, public schools, libraries, museums and a host of others. These very commonly offer opportunities for public lectures and slide shows. Audiences are generally very interested and receptive.

In the end, a geologist can readily make his science a genuine part of any community. The author has found a very rewarding second career. All this, however, is serious business. We are under assault by Creationists, Intelligent Design advocates and a host of other groups beyond the margin of science; we must carry the debate directly to the public. This is an effective way.