By all accounts, the Bureau of Economic Geology’s recent staff retreat to the White Family Outdoor Learning Center was a tremendous success! About 90 researchers and support staff boarded buses and made their way to the Learning Center, a recent 250-acre property donation to UT’s Jackson School of Geosciences. Located in the picturesque Texas Hill Country, the rolling terrain covered in wild flowers, wooded trails, and shaded creek provided the participants a beautiful venue and unique opportunity to relax and reflect. For the geoscientists in the group, tall rock outcrops and varied landforms were available for exploration and study.
There was extensive planning for the event, and a number of activities were available. Brandon Minton, the site manager for the Center, was on-site and offered information about the property and future plans for it. Bureau researcher Brian Hunt led discussions about the Glen Rose formation and the Trinity Aquifer. There were viewings of core obtained from the property, bird watching, an art activity, fossil collection and identification, and presentations on snake and amphibian research at the Learning Center. Through it all, lively games of Frisbee and cornhole competitions were taking place. Folks also enjoyed a filling catered barbecue lunch served under the comforting shade of an enormous tent.
Credit for the success of the day goes to its organizers and presenters, including the Bureau’s Jay Kipper, Cindy Kralis, Linda McCall, Kim LaValley, Francine Mastrangelo, Nathan Ivicic, Brandon Williamson, and Evan O’Donnell.
After a few years where the Bureau of Economic Geology had faced and overcome a series of challenges, it was refreshing to see this tremendously diverse group of talented people from across the globe share a day of kindness and camaraderie out in the Texas countryside and come together as the Bureau family.