2017 was another very active year for the Ice Age Floods Institute (IAFI) and its 11 chapters. To detail all of our accomplishments would exhaust even our most ardent advocates, but this short summary will provide a taste of 2017 IAFI activities to inform our members and other interested people about some of our accomplishments during the year. While these read as accomplishments for IAFI and our chapters, we couldn’t do them without the interest and support of our members, so they are also your accomplishments, and we applaud you for them. Here are some of the IAFI highlights for 2017.
Our members provide most of our support and much of the reason for the various materials, activities and events we provide. At the end of 2017, we had 752 members (509 memberships) from twelve states and one Canadian province. We would be nothing without our members, so thank you all for your devotion and support.
Chapter Programs for the Public
Outreach to inform and educate the public about the Ice Age Floods and their long-lasting impact on our area is a key part of the IAFI mission. Our local chapter programs are possibly the most effective way we meet this challenge. This year our local chapters provided at least 49 Lectures for over 2500 attendees, and 43 Field Trips for over 1150 attendees. We have also significantly increased our online outreach, typically garnering thousands of views each week through interesting articles and features on our Facebook, website and newsletter.
Participation in Community Festivals and Events
Participation in Community Festivals and Events is another great way to share our message and draw new interest to the Ice Age Floods and our organization. Our chapters participated with presentations and display booths at a great many Community Events throughout our four-state floods area, including: the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival (6 lectures and 7 field trips); Dry Falls Floods Fest; Floods, Flowers and Feathers Festival at Turnbull NWR; Gorge-ous Night Out in Salem and Olympia, Gem and Mineral Shows; Rotary; Kiwanis; Assisted Living Centers; and many others.
Field trips and presentations for professional organizations
An important avenue for advancing our science comes through sharing our stories with other professionals. There is often a surprising overlap of information and methods to be gained through field trips and presentations with a variety of professional organizations. During 2017 IAFI and our chapter members gave presentations and/or led field trips at national and regional meetings of the Geological Society of America, the Northwest Scientific Association, the National Association of Interpretation; the Washington Native Plant Society; and the Anza-Borrego Desert Paleontology Society; as well as the Oregon/California Trail Association (OCTA) Symposium; the Washington State Teachers Convention; and the University of Idaho Chemistry Dept “Flourine Reunion”.
Activities, partnerships and collaborative work with other organizations
Another way we advance understanding and the importance of the Ice Age Floods is through our work with a wide variety of other organizations. Throughout 2017 IAFI has focused on working with the National Park Service on a new brochure and other materials promoting the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. Meanwhile, IAFI chapters partner and collaborate with other local organizations to spread our message, such as:
- Lake Lewis chapter working with The Reach Museum, the MCBONES Research Center Foundation and the Friends of Badger Mountain in the Tri-Cities area;
- Lower Columbia Chapter working with the City of Tualatin, Tualatin Library, Tualatin Historical Society, and Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition;
- Glacial Lake Missoula Chapter working with the Montana Natural History Center;
- Coeur du Deluge Chapter’s MOU with the Idaho Master Naturalist Program; and
- Columbia Gorge Chapter working with Road Scholars and helping develop a new Columbia Gorge Master Naturalist Program for Oregon State University.
Working with schools (K-12 and higher education)
Bringing the Floods’ stories to students may be the most important way we can capture the interest and involvement of new generations. Wenatchee Chapter worked with the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center to conduct two sessions with elementary students, helping them learn about the Ice Age Floods. Columbia Gorge Chapter presented to Gresham High School students during a Beacon Rock field trip. Lake Lewis and Ellensburg Chapters provided lectures and field trips to Introductory and Historical Geology classes for Columbia Basin College and Washington State University.
Working on new educational materials
In addition to all this direct work with people and organizations, it is also extremely important to continue working on informative and educational materials, like the Floods Features on-line map on our website, that help people understand, explore, and contribute to the Floods stories.
- Lake Lewis Chapter installed “Lake Lewis Maximum Elevation 1250 feet” markers at two sites in the Richland, Washington area;
- Glacial Lake Missoula Chapter is working with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology to preserve the Joseph Pardee papers, and the Montana Natural History Center on a new video of glacial Lake Missoula;
- Coeur du Deluge Chapter is working with the Idaho Geological Survey preparing a new “Surficial Geologic Map of North Idaho” for publication, and they established a “Honoring Roy Breckenridge, Geologist” sign along Idaho State Highway 200 at milepost 159-160;
- Nick Zentner continues to expand his public library of hugely popular geology video series, such as Nick on the Rocks that PBS broadcasts in the Seattle area (for now?);
- Bruce Bjornstad continues to wow audiences with his many drone videos and presentations of Floods-related features and landscapes.
Working with Elected Officials and Promoting Tourism
It is also important to recognize that all of the IAFI chapters visited with Congressional staffs during 2017, providing updates on Institute activities and discussing the potential for funding development of the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. Both the Lower Columbia and Columbia Gorge chapters have also worked to promote Floods tourism in their respective areas of the Columbia River Gorge and Lower Columbia areas, the City of Tualatin and the Willamette Valley.
The IAFI is a non-profit organization. Our main sources of income are membership dues, donations, profit from field trips, and Institute Store sales. For 2017, our total income was $17,942. Our main expenses are twice a year board meetings, contract labor (our membership manager), field trips and liability insurance. For 2017, our total expenses were $14,780. Our income exceeded our expenses by $3162 due to new member dues and an increase in donations. Thank you! This also resulted in an increase in net income of $3596 from 2016 to 2017. At the end of 2017 we had reserves of $25,914 which are used to cover unplanned expenses, printing information brochures, and to pursue new opportunities related to telling the floods story.
Of course, there is much more we could list in detail, but this should give an idea of what membership in and support of IAFI does for promoting the stories of the Ice Age Floods throughout our area and beyond. Again, we could not do it without the support of our members and contributors, so these are really your accomplishments. If there is one more thing we would ask of you, it would be to share the Floods stories with your friends and acquaintances, and encourage them to become members and supporters of IAFI. Finally, if you are interested in playing a more central role in our efforts, please contact your local chapter or use our IAFI.org Contact Us page.
Wishing all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year, Ice Age Floods Institute Board of Directors