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2018 Earth Science Achievement Awards

Created in 2003, the Earth Science Achievement Awards honor those often-unrecognized champions of earth science issues vital to the future of New Mexico.

Nominations for next year's awards are welcome from the general public and may be made directly to the director of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

Research & Education

Greg Mack
Dr. Greg Mack (right) with Bureau Director Dr. Nelia Dunbar

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (a research division of New Mexico Tech) awarded the 2018 Earth Science Achievement Award for “outstanding contributions advancing the role of earth science in areas of research and education” to Dr. Greg Mack.  The presentation (see text) was made on April 13 in the auditorium of Macey Center, on the New Mexico Tech campus, during the New Mexico Geological Society Spring meeting. 

Dr. Greg Mack, during his 32-year career as a geology professor at New Mexico State University, has contributed greatly to the science of geology in New Mexico through research, teaching, leadership, and service. During Mack’s tenure at NMSU, his contributions to New Mexico geoscience were wide and varied.  He spearheaded one of the New Mexico Geological Society’s best-selling books, “Geology of New Mexico”, which is a comprehensive summary of the current state of knowledge of a wide range of geoscience topics, each chapter written by experts in the field.  Mack has also published more than 120 papers in international, national, and regional journals, many based on his thorough and insightful field observations.  His papers, which typically have a regional focus, provide scientific insights applicable to geoscience problems throughout the world. 

In addition to being a strong field geologist and researcher, Mack also excels in the field of geoscience education.  He is generous with constructive advice, and provides his students with rigorous training in field methods as well as classroom education.  He has directed over 40 thesis projects, many of which have been published.  He received the NMSU “Donald C. Roush Excellence in Teaching” award in 1989. He has also led New Mexico Geological Society three-day field trips in the Las Cruces area in 1988, 1998, and 2008.  These trips typically have included his students in a number of capacities, instilling in them the admirable field trip philosophy of “more rocks, less talk.” Since his retirement from NMSU in 2016, he continues to be strongly involved in New Mexico geoscience, and is leading another society field trip in 2018. He also has a book “The Permian of the Southwest” in preparation for publication by the New Mexico Geological Society.

2018 ESAA Award recipient Dr Greg Mack & family
2018 ESAA Award recipient Dr. Greg Mack with his family

Public Policy & Service

The 2018 New Mexico Earth Science Achievement Awards for public policy were presented to Senator Jeff Bingaman and to Dr. Bob Simon. The presentation (see text) was at noon, Monday, February 5, in the rotunda of the state capitol building, which coincided with Earth Science/New Mexico Tech Day at the Roundhouse. New Mexico Tech academic and research divisions, as well as state agencies, staffed tables and displays on the ground floor of the Roundhouse. The public was invited to visit the Roundhouse throughout the day and to attend the ceremony.

2018 ESAA Award recipients
2018 ESAA Award recipients Dr. Bob Simon (left) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (right) with Dr. Nelia Dunbar (Director - NMBGMR & State Geologist)
2018 ESAA Award recipient: Senator Jeff Bingaman
Senator Jeff Bingaman (right) with Dr. Nelia Dunbar
2018 ESAA Award recipient: Dr. Bob Simon
Dr. Bob Simon (left) with Dr. Nelia Dunbar

Senator Bingaman and Dr. Simon consistently supported the fundamental concept that basic scientific knowledge is essential in order to solve our complex resource and environmental issues. The records of both men show an understanding of the importance of water supply and water quality issues and a respect for responsible resource development and environmental preservation of areas of special value and interest. They also understand that scientific knowledge is the foundation for the wise management of our nation’s lands and its resources.

Their combined efforts, along with those of other Bingaman and committee staff, helped to enact a number of important pieces of geoscience-focused legislation, including ones supporting national geological mapping, archiving of valuable geological data, studying the high plains aquifer, and forming an institute in New Mexico to study caves and karst geology. These efforts also led to designation of geologic parks, such as the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

Jeff Bingaman was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1982, where he served until his retirement in 2013. From 1999-2013, Bingaman served as chair or the ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he championed significant earth science legislation for New Mexico and for the nation.

Dr. Bob Simon began working in the U.S. Senate in 1993 as a Science Fellow on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he served for three years. In 1997, he became Science and Technology advisor in Jeff Bingaman’s office, and served as his chief energy legislative assistant.  In 1999, Senator Bingaman appointed him to the position of Democratic staff director for the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he served as the full committee staff director when Senator Bingaman was chairman. After Senator Bingaman’s retirement, Dr. Simon moved to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he worked on energy, climate, and resource issues until his retirement in 2016.

Nominations for next year's awards are welcome from the general public.

- See past award recipients -