Tuesday, October 30, 2012
An Extra Ordinary Afternoon
The Jarvis Christian College Community Outreach event took place on October 20, 2012. The East Texas Natural History Collection at Jarvis Christian College also celebrated its Grand Opening.
This was a chance for the College to show off its accomplishments and allow the Students, Staff, and Research Associates to meet with a group of amazing invited guests and members of the public. I have to say it was one of the most eye opening and rewarding weekends I have ever participated in. This was a day when friendships were forged and professional networking was the soup du jour.
I was there solely by virtue of my participation in the ETNHC as a Research Associate. My daughter Elizabeth and I arrived on Thursday to help get the ETNHC ready for guests. The first thing I noticed is the amazing progress that had been made with the building in the 6 weeks since my last visit. Dr. Godwin and Dr. Goodwin have accomplished many major tasks with the renovation of the facilities, my hat's off to them. More importantly though, the collections that are so important to the mission of ETNHC are in great shape. They are all now professionally housed and ready for service to visiting scientists and visitors.
On Friday, after a full day of work with Elizabeth, we attended a preview party thrown by the contingent of artists exhibiting their works during he Grand Opening. This was a fantastic chance to
meet and talk with some extraordinary individuals, like Daphne Hatcher and Liz and Bart Soutendijk. They put together a wonderful gathering and that spirit carried forward into Saturday and the all
important Grand Opening.
Dr. Will Godwin has always said that the ETNHC was more about building a community of professionals than it was about the collections. He has stressed that the real goal is to build a network of individuals who care about East Texas and work together to grow and attract new members interested in this unique area. Well, I saw that community all pulling together and would like to say it was just unreal.
My new Networks:
I met a professional cowboy, (Cowboy Joe Dodson) rancher, actor and local pioneer who opened my eyes to a landscape of amazing richness. He might truly be the most interesting person I have ever met. I enjoyed a lunch conversation with an Ichthyologist (Dr. Dean Hendrickson) over a bowl of amazing cast iron kettle chili. I talked about insect collections with an ecologist (Dr. Tony Burgess) who was an integral part of the Biosphere 2 project. I learned about the native plant communities from several members of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (Amanda K. Neill, and Tiana Franklin Rehman) great partners with the ETNHC. The weekend was full of casual but intense conversations with several amazing artists like Sergio Barraza, Daphne and Gary Hatcher, Bart Soutendijk, Steve "Ziggy" Korevec, Woodrow "Woody" Starkey, Marcia Bush and Bruce Cunningham.
My son Robert and I talked to so many people touring through the facility. Special guests like Mr. B. F. Hicks, Scott Harvey, and Mr. Ed Fasulo the Plant Manager of the Morton Salt Plant in Grand Saline. We had such a great mix of people - Industrialists, Astronauts, Teachers, Scientists, Cowboys, Miners, Photographers, Ceramic Artisans, Educators, Painters and Business Leaders all coming together to support this new idea emerging in East Texas.
The special Antique Pottery Road Show event had several significant experts on hand to talk about local history, educate the public about all the great examples on display and examine any pieces brought in. The resident pottery experts were John Sloane, John Perkins Loraine Haley and James McNeil.
At the keynote we heard from special guests associated with the ETNHC. Dr. Dean Hendrickson (Memorial Museum and UT), Farrar Stockton (Houston Museum of Natural Science), Amanda Neill (B.R.I.T.), Tony Burgess (Texas Tech) and the President of Jarvis Christian College, Dr. Lester C. Newman.
During these talks a sense of history hovered over the audience -- in fact the first meeting of 2 very significant cousins occurred. Mr. Ben E. Jarvis - great grandson of the original benefactor and donor of the College Campus land - Mrs. Ida Van Zandt Jarvis was introduced to Tony Burgess- his distant cousin. To witness the first meeting of these 2 significant people from the history of this great college was the highlight of the afternoon.
The East Texas Natural History Collection is proud to be the first North American Host and partner with the International Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies. The Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies is a peer reviewed international Open Access Journal which is abstracted in various reputed databases. The Journal provides a platform with the aim of motivating students and personnel in all fields of Zoology.
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