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by Donald B. MacGowan

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The muted jungle light illuminates the lava trees at Lava Tree State Monument, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

There are many wondrous, enigmatic and fascinating attractions on the Big Island of Hawaii, some better known than others, many out of the way and generally off the beaten track.  Tour Guide Hawaii has produced an encyclopedic collection of the most up-to-date information, presented as short GPS-cued videos, in an app downloadable to iPhone and iPod Touch that covers the entire Big Island, highlighting the popular and the uncrowded, the famous and the secluded, the adventurous and the relaxing.

Lava Trees State Monument

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The stately lava trees of Lava Tree State Monument, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Under a fascinating, beautiful, lacy canopy of monkeypod trees, lava casts of ohi’a trees stand as monuments to a fast-moving pahoehoe lava flow that passed through here in 1790.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The jungle tree canopy filters and shades an eerie light at Lava Trees State Monument, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Contained within the Nanawale Forest Reserve, south of Pahoa and just off Highway 132 between mile markers 2 and 3, Lava Trees State Monument is open free, daily from dawn to dusk. Hiking in the park is relaxing and interesting, showcasing the native Hawaiian plants and trees, the forest birds as well as the fascinating Lava Trees themselves

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Looking into a tree mold at Lava Trees State Monument: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The lava trees formed when the liquid lava, at about 2000° F, came in contact with the cool, wet ohi’a trees.  A quickly-cooled coating of lava congealed around the trees and buried them to a depth of as much as 11 feet.  The original trees burned away, but their hollow casts stand today, so perfectly molded inside that imprints of the tree bark remain. The rest of the flow passed on, perhaps draining away down the numerous cracks in this area that formed contemporaneously with the flows; one of the cracks which likely drained the lava away is still visible, just left of the restrooms.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

This rift was both the delivery tube of the lava stream and the conduit down which it drained away after forming the lava trees at Lava Trees State Monument, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Lava Trees Park offers trails to hike and a restful, bird-filled jungle to sit and listen to.  You can spend between 20 minutes to an hour wandering the trails, here, exploring and discovering.  Be careful, however, the area is riddled with hidden cracks in the ground which can make exploring hazardous.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

A 0.7 mile trail winds through Lava Trees State Monument, connecting to other jungle hiking trails through the Pahoa area, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Facilities include picnic tables and a barbecue, trails, drinking water and restrooms. You may wish to avail yourself of the restrooms at Lava Tree State Monument; no matter which direction you go after leaving the Park, they are the last public facilities for some distance.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Looking through the forest at two lava trees and the awesome crack through which the lava drained away: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

To see the new iPhone/iPod Touch App, please visit http://www.tourguidehawaii.com/iphone.html. The best of Tour Guide Hawaii’s free content about traveling to, and exploring, the Big island, can be found here. For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and on touring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

These standing monoliths are the casts of Ohi'a trees made by pahoehoe lava flowing through a forest in 1790; Lava Trees State Monument, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

At Tour Guide our goal is to insure you have the most fun, most interesting and enjoyable vacation here in Hawaii–that you are provided with all the information you need to decide where to go and what to see, and that you are not burdened with out-dated or incorrect information.

For independent reviews of our product, written by some of our legions of satisfied customers, please check this out.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

This lava mold of an Ohi'a tree was made by fast-moving pahoehoe lava flow in 1790: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

All media copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.

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by Donald B. MacGowan

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Mauna Loa looms over the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Whether you visit the Big Island for a few days, a couple weeks or a few months, you want to make the most of your time in Paradise. With such a wide variety of natural and commercial attractions, it is natural for the visitor to get a little overwhelmed in the “Option Overload” and not be able to make a balanced and informed decision on what they want to do and how best to spend their time.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Warrior Footprints of the Ka'u Desert as photographed in 2006, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Even choosing which beach you want to spend time on, or where you want to hike can be an exercise in confusion and conflicting advice.  Clearly, visitors to Hawaii could use help making quality decisions about how best to spend their time.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Frank Burgess hikes the Ka'u Desert Trail: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Tour Guide Hawaii is excited and proud to announce the release of their new GPS/WiFi enabled App for iPhone and iPod that helps you navigate your trip to Hawaii with hours of informative, location-aware video and information. Although our video guide will lead you to dozens of unusual, untamed and unspoiled spots, let’s look at a hike you might have heard about, but might not be able to find from maps and guidebooks and would otherwise miss if you did not have Tour Guide Hawaii’s new App.

Ka’u Desert Trail/ Warrior Footprints, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Ka'u Desert Trail as it winds away from the Parking Strip, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Just inside the National Park boundary, where the Hawai’i Belt Road enters Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from the West, is a small parking strip that many visitors, in a hurry to visit more well known attractions, might overlook. You should slow down and pay closer attention, because this small parking lot is the gateway to a host of wonders within the Mars-like landscape of the Ka’u Desert section of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Ka'u Desert Trail is part of a vast system of intersecting trails within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

From about 4200 feet elevation down to sea level, the Ka’u Desert Trail wanders across this high, barren expanse of basalt and sand dunes formed of volcanic ash. Other trails intersect the Ka’u Desert Trail and travel from the Hawaii Belt Road east to Kilauea Crater as well as west to the intersection with the Ka’aha Trail then down the Hilina Pali to the coast. Seldom in a National Park is such unrelentingly inhospitable, but intensely spectacular, land made so accessible by trail.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Unconsolodated ash sifts across the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

There is no water, there is no shade, there is no protection from the elements; the land and climate are as unforgiving as they are alluring. For details about hiking or backpacking in this spectacular, empty portion of the Park, contact the Backcountry Office at the Kilauea Visitors Center (808.985.6000). Do not venture from your car here without carrying water.

Unconsolodated ash sifts across the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Ka'u Desert Footprints are preserved under a small ramada: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

But there is something more about this seeming unearthly spot that inspires people’s imagination and draws them to visit this lonely place. Less than a mile, scarcely a twenty minute walk, from the parking lot are the remains of footprints made by a party of doomed warriors more than 200 years ago.

Ka'u Desert Footprints are preserved under a small ramada: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The lunar-like surface of basalt and ash of the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Kilauea’s eruptions are generally characterized by the leisurely, almost peaceful outpouring of lava and occasional more than mild earthquakes. However, it is not unknown for Madam Pele to erupt in a blast of fury, spreading ash and tephra for hundreds of miles. As recently as 1790 and again in 1924, such violent, steam-driven eruptions have occurred. These eruptions result from groundwater percolating downward through the earth to near the volcano’s magma chamber. The water becomes super-heated and, surging along existing structural weaknesses, makes new conduits to the surface, finally erupting in a roiling mass of superheated steam, ash, tephra and rocks. This type of eruption, and the ash they produce, are key to the mystery and eeriness of this site.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The same footprint as shown above, but photographed in 2010; note that erosion and vandalism have greatly degraded the integrity of the cast: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The warrior footprints preserved here under a modern ramada are believed to have been formed in 1790. At this time, Kamehameha the Great was solidifying his military and political hold on the Island of Hawai’i, though not all his foes were vanquished. His cousin Keoua organized an army and, while Kamehameha was occupied elsewhere, he seized parts of Ka’u and Puna districts. Keoua sent an army overland to directly challenge Kamehameha…however, camping overnight at the volcano they were caught by the massive, explosive eruption. Fearing he had angered Pele, he organized his army into three columns for a hasty retreat from the falling ash. The first column seems to have emerged unscathed, but the second column went missing. When these warriors and their families were encountered by the third column, come searching for them, they were found dead on the ground, in close groups still clutching each other, overcome by the toxic volcanic fumes. The footprints seen here along Ka’u Desert Trail are from these doomed warriors and their families, made and preserved preserved in the the shifting ash dunes of the Ka’u Desert landscape. It is said that as many as 400 warriors, women and children died here.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Ka'u Desert Ohia Lehua Blossom: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The people of Hawai’i Island accepted Pele’s judgment against the interloping Keoua and, although he continued to fight, he never came close to turning the tide of battle against his cousin, Kamehameha. As an ostensible peace offering to his cousin, Kamehameha invited Keoua to the ceremony sanctifying the newly erected Pu’u Kohola Heiau. However, when Keoua’s canoe approached the temple grounds, he was seized and immediately sacrificed to the War God, Kuka’ilimoku, thus becoming the first human sacrifice at the new luakini heiau and ending a vexing political problem for Kamehameha, all at one time.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Ka'u Desert Trail as it reaches the Warrior Footprints: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

An emergency phone is available here; there are no other services.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Warrior Footprints are preserved under this Ramada in the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Frank Burgess

To see the new iPhone/iPod Touch App, please visit http://www.tourguidehawaii.com/iphone.html. The best of Tour Guide Hawaii’s free content about traveling to, and exploring, the Big island, can be found here. For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and on touring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Ka'u Desert Ohia and Bee, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

by Donnie MacGowan

With minor local exceptions, the rocks of the Big Island of Hawaii are made up almost entirely of eruptive volcanic effluent—lava and ash, and sediment derived from eroding and weathering lava and ash. As such, it doesn’t seem a likely place to hunt fossils. After all, the lava pours from the vents on Hawaii’s volcanoes at between 1100° and 1130° C and even the hardened crust on the top of an active flow can be as hot as 600°C. It seems like the advancing lava ought incinerate everything in its path and leave no trace of organic matter behind as fossils.

Palm Frond Fossil in Basalt From 30-Year Old Lava Flow, Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Palm Frond Fossil in Basalt From 30-Year Old Lava Flow, Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Or would it? Sometimes things in nature don’t always act the way we expect them to.

Lava Mold of a Palm Tree in a 2000 Year Old Flow, Honaunau, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Lava Mold of a Palm Tree in a 2000 Year Old Flow, Honaunau, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

As a child, my mind, when not actually occupied with thoughts of dinosaurs, was chiefly occupied with thoughts of volcanoes or thoughts of fossils. It’s scarcely surprising, then, that I grew up to be a geologist, but when I eventually washed-up on the shores of the Big Island, I thought I’d landed in heaven—five volcanoes, two of them active! But as I explored my new home I found more and more examples of where Hawaii’s volcanoes had preserved fossils of plant and animal life.

To be sure, owing to the extreme temperatures of the lava, these fossils tend to be molds or casts, but they are abundant and fascinating. More delicate fossils are contained in ash deposits, but so far, these have been only marginally explored.

Let’s take a quick tour around the island of Hawaii and look at some of the remarkable, amazing, lava fossils of Hawaii.

Lava Tree State Monument

Lava Tree Mold at Lava Trees State Monument, Big Island, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Lava Tree Mold at Lava Trees State Monument, Big Island, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Let’s start down in Puna District, just a few miles south of Pahoa Town. At Lava Trees State Monument fingers of lava poke vertically at the sky, remnants of a flow that that passed through a wet ohi’a tree forest in 1790. The flowing lava enveloped the wet ohi’a trees, cooling and congealing around them. As the lava flow drained away down nearby cracks, the fingers of cooling lava were left behind. The remnants of the trees were burned and rotted away, so today these stubby towers are hollow.

Towers of Lava Tree Molds at Lava Trees State Monument, Big Island, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Towers of Lava Tree Molds at Lava Trees State Monument, Big Island, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Mauna Loa Tree Molds, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

But what happens if the lava doesn’t drain away and leave the fingers behind, but rather cools in place around the trees? An example of this can be found along the Mauna Loa Road, in the part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that is north of Highway 11. Here, large acacia koa trees (the same kind of trees that are currently growing around the parking area) were buried 10-30 feet deep in lava erupted by Kilauea some 700-800 years ago.

Tree Molds on Mauna Loa in 700-800 Year Old Basalt, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Tree Molds on Mauna Loa in 700-800 Year Old Basalt, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The wet trees chilled and cooled the lava as it surrounded them and thus they were insulated from the intense heat of the surrounding flow. The cooling was rapid enough to preserve the shape, even the texture of the bark, of the trees, though the trees themselves burned away.

Mauna Loa Tree Molds 2008 small

Kalapana-Waikupanaha

But tree trunks are not the only casts and molds that are preserved in molten lava. Sometimes even quite small items, such as coconuts and fruits are preserved with incredibly finely-detailed impressions. Down in the Kalapana-Waikupanaha area of Puna, up against the eastern border of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the lava surface is between 30 years and 30 minutes old.

Lava Mold of a Coconut in Basalt from a Very Recent Flow Near Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Lava Mold of a Coconut in Basalt from a Very Recent Flow Near Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Trails leading out to both Kaimu Black Sand Beach and the Waikupanaha Ocean Entry Lava Viewing Area are literally punctuated with preserved palm fronds, pandanus fruit, coconuts and other vegetation debris. The hiker has only to keep his eyes sharp to find hundreds of examples of where the lava has preserved, sometimes in astonishing detail, the forest it flowed through.

Mold of Pandanus Fruit in Basalt from Flow Less Than 10 Years Old, Waikupanaha, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Mold of Pandanus Fruit in Basalt from Flow Less Than 10 Years Old, Waikupanaha, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Devastation Trail, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

As I mentioned earlier, however, sometimes other volcanic processes also preserve fossils. Along Devastation Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are some well-preserved tree molds—some with the dead tree still standing in them—from hot ash and cinder erupted from the Pu’u Pua’i vent on Kilauea Iki in 1959.

Tree Standing in Ashfall from Pu'u Pua'i, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Dead Tree Standing in Future Tree Mold in Ashfall from Pu'u Pua'i, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

This eruption produced fire-fountains some 1900 feet tall, showering the downwind region with hot ash and cinders. Some of the pieces of volcanic material were so hot they welded together after landing, others were so cool the trees they buried didn’t burn. Many trees were completely buried or burned away, but you can still see some, standing above the level of the ground, in what will be tree molds when the trees eventually rot away. There are also numerous examples of already empty tree molds along the trail.

Small Tree Mold Along Devastation Trail, Pu'u Pua'i, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Small Tree Mold Along Devastation Trail, Pu'u Pua'i, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Warrior Footprints Trail, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Not all the fossils, molds and casts we find in ash and cinder deposits are from plants, either. Although the Hawaiian volcanoes have a reputation as being quiet and well-behaved, rarely violent in their eruptions, such is not always the case. There are quite thick and extensive ash deposits indicating episodes of intensely violent eruption. Called “phreatomagmatic“, these eruptions get their power and violence from ground water entering the magma chamber and flashing to steam, blowing ash high into the atmosphere. Many times the ash produced in these eruptions preserves the material it covers in quite fine detail. One such case can be visited along the Ka’u Desert/Warrior Footprints trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Mold of Human Footprint in Ash from 1790 Phreatic Eruption of Kilauea, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Mold of Human Footprint in Ash from 1790 Phreatic Eruption of Kilauea, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

In 1790, a party of warriors was passing by Kilauea on their way to make war on Kamehameha the Great. 400 men, women and children were caught in a giant phreatomagmatic eruption and suffocated where they stood. Another contingent of warriors, coming upon their companions bodies, momentarily thought them merely sleeping until they realized their comrades were all dead. Molds of the footprints left by this second set of warriors are preserved in the ash along the Warrior Footprint Trail; it’s an an eerie hike to see them.

Place of Refuge, Pu’u Honua O Hounaunau

Small Bowl Carved into Surface of Basalt, Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Small Bowl Carved into Surface of Basalt, Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Sometimes we find things on the surface of lava flows which do not look like any kind of natural lava flow structure, but they are also not an obvious mold, cast or fossil. Some of these features are obvious human artifacts and not fossils at all. Hawaiians would spend days carving out bowl-shaped depressions into the surface of the rock—once made, they could be used for generations. In just such manner, salt pans for evaporating sea water to get salt were constructed. Larger carved depressions were for cooking. Hawaiians would build a fire in these larger depressions until the rock was quite hot. Scooping away the fire and ash, they would add water and food to cook, sometimes continuing to add hot pebbles to keep the water boiling. Although these features are ubiquitous on the Big Island, excellent examples of them can be found all the way along the beach fronting the temple complex at Pu’u Honua O Honaunau over to Two Step Beach on Honaunau Bay.

Tree Branch Fossil Preserved in Extremely Recent Lava Flow, Kaimu, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Tree Branch Fossil Preserved in Extremely Recent Lava Flow, Kaimu, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com. For information about the author, please go here.

All media copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan; all rights reserved.

UPDATE: A museum without a curator? It’s worse than a church without a preacher–worse than a library without a librarian or a bar without a bartender…who is going to take care of the collections? Make sure research specimens are preserved and returned after study? Who is going to preserve the present and coordinate growth for the future…who is going to provide leadership and vision for the museum?

Certainly not the boobs and cretins who came up with THIS plan.

It would be nice to think that the University was run by thoughtful, adult professionals who understood their jobs in general and the requirements of running a museum in particular…but NO, we get that boob Buchannan–who obviously would store his wife’s jewels in the shit house, judging by the idiocy of his plan. What complete nonsense and buffoonery.

Yes, Donnie, but do you have an OPINION about this?

Reprinted from here.

UW to Use Private Funds to Reopen Geological Museum to Visitors

July 18, 2009 — UW President Tom Buchanan has directed the University of Wyoming Geological Museum to reopen on Aug. 24 on a part-time basis for public visits.

The UW Foundation has identified and offered private funding to pay for security so the Geological Museum can be open to UW visitors through the coming academic year.

“I remain fully committed to meeting UW’s budget reductions and intend to achieve savings in our state appropriation from the museum’s operations,” UW President Tom Buchanan says. “I am grateful to the Foundation for providing the resources needed to keep the doors open to the public.”

The museum closed June 30 as one of a series of steps taken to meet an $18.3 million state budget cut that took effect July 1. Buchanan says UW administrators are working hard to minimize the impact of recent budget reductions on students, faculty, staff, the community and the state of Wyoming.

“The generous assistance of Vice President Ben Blalock and the UW Foundation will allow us to respond to concerns the museum would remain closed to alumni, tourists, school children and families. Although the museum will not be open on the same basis it was before July 1, this approach meets the most pressing desires for access articulated by the public,” Buchanan says.

Buchanan has initiated steps to identify a financially sound future for the museum and will direct a campus group to develop a plan for the display collection no later than the end of the fall semester. The plan will also address the extent to which the research and display collections can mesh with UW’s broader academic mission, especially in earth and energy sciences and in science education.

For more information call Jessica Lowell, (307) 460-0604.

Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009

Help Save the University of Wyoming Geological Museum!!!

***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***

The Casper Star-Tribune has an online poll today to vote for either a full time, part time or closed Geological Museum. We all need to show the administration at the University of Wyoming what we think of their recent decisions. So head on over to the Casper Star-Tribune website and scroll half-way down the page and vote! Thanks!

So far, the vote is 93% in favor of having the Museum open on some basis, 5% in favor of closing and 3% in favor of turning the Museum into a skate park. In fact, the facetious answer of “turn it into a skate park” is statistically similar to those who want to close it!  Keep the pressure on the feckless UW Administrators who want to favor losing athletic teams over academic pursuits and the fanatic Religious Right who want the Museum closed on religious grounds

Add your voice, here!

ALSO: Remember to keep the letters to the Editor and to UW officials pouring in.  Email address available below, as well as here.

Don’t let the creationists, religious zealots, christards and intelligent design hoaxers win!  Express your opinion here: http://www.trib.com/

Previous Post:

The Administration of the University of Wyoming have decided to close the Geological Museum due to a funding shortfall. Despite continuing to lavish millions upon millions of tax dollars on a lack-luster-to-losing Division 1-A Athletic Program, the Administration has tried to reconcile this shameful misallocation of funding as loss of Bowl and television revenue, loss of tradition and loss of long-standing inter-collegiate rivalries.

Well wah-fucking-wah.

What about the 122-year tradition of excellence at the UW Geological Museum? What about the thousands upon thousands of primary, secondary and college students who annually come to the museum to have their curiosity nurtured, scholastic experiences enriched and their intellects stimulated? What about the hundreds and hundreds of families who visit the museum each year who otherwise would not come to Laramie and spend money in the local economy?

In fact, revenues from athletics does not come close to compensating the residents of the State of Wyoming for the millions and millions of tax dollars in real cost these programs suck in–just look at the waste of many millions in the new stadium sky boxes as just a single example. The details of this bait-and-switch deviousness can be found in the UW budget numbers (see for example here: http://www.uwyo.edu/president/info.asp?p=3672 and here: http://www.uwyo.edu/president/info.asp?p=11604) and the thinly disguised misinformation-as-rationale here (http://www.uwyo.edu/president/info.asp?p=11789#Revised).

If we can flush millions away on a robust, if dismally-performing, athletic program, can we not find a couple hundred thousand dollars to keep the successful and popular Museum funded?

Provost Myron Allen proposes his plans for the UW Geological Museum here (http://www.uwyo.edu/presidentsupport/outbox/2009/geology_museum_15_jun_09.pdf). Although a brilliant mathematician and otherwise decent guy, Dr. Allen’s proposal for closing the museum manages to be simultaneously short-sighted, amateurishly incomplete and maddeningly misleading.

In a personal e-mail, Dr. Allen assured me that Christian intolerance, religious superstitions and irrational creationist beliefs played no part in the closing of the Museum. However, a quick survey shows that such scientific illiteracy and non-reality-based belief systems are rife among many of the the UW Trustees as well as some Members of the Wyoming State Senate and House of Representatives; perhaps this explains the lack of vociferous opposition to this obscene and perverse misallocation of University resources.

The fact that, in this day and age, in this state, so many University Trustees, Senators and Congressmen do not understand the value of a Museum, the fundamentals of science nor even subscribe to any modern notion of science, underlines emphatically and exactly why this University has an absolute ethical responsibility and urgent need to keep this museum open.

Perhaps it is not possible for non-scientists (such as the UW President and Provost) to understand the importance of science museums, but science and technology only grow though fostering early interest in young students–this is done primarily through programs like the UW Geological Museum. Every time Drs. Buchannan or Allen listen to their iPod, check their schedules on their handheld, email their colleagues or microwave popcorn to eat while watching their plasma screen Televisions, perhaps they should stop and consider the enormous debt Americans pay daily to scientists and engineers developing and refining new technology to produce new products. Scientists and engineers who chose, and excel at, their professions precisely because as children they had access to, and were captivated by, programs such as the UW Geological Museum provides.

Or perhaps it is our job to remind Dr. Buchannan and Allen of their debt and responsibility to the future. Below are a list of the most essential people for you to contact and express your outrage at an institution that is willing to pour millions and millions and millions of tax dollars, year after year, into losing athletic programs that produce nothing, while letting a successful, brilliant and beloved academic program, such as the UW Geological Museum, die simply to save a couple measly hundred thousand dollars. It is clear to even the most casual observer that this is not in the best interests of the people of Wyoming, nor in the spirit of academic excellence to which UW claims to aspire, nor even in keeping with the simple recognition that these men are responsible for preserving for the future the best parts of the present at UW.

Drs. Buchannan and Allen, if allowed to carry through with this hideous misallocation of tax money, are failing miserably at all three tasks.

I am reminded of how Winston Churchill is reported to have once characterized a similar caliber decision: “Save us from the maliciously ignorant and the aggressively stupid!”

Write. Today. NOW. EVERYBODY ON THE LIST!

Sincerely and with hope-

Donald B. MacGowan, PhD

For MORE go here and here.

ADDRESSES:
Important UW email Addresses:
President of the University of Wyoming
Tom Buchannan
tombuch@uwyo.edu

Provost of the University of Wyoming
Prof. Myron Allen, Provost
allen@uwyo.edu

Chairman, Department of Geology and Geophysics
Prof. Art Snoke
snoke@uwyo.edu

State Geologist
Dr. Ronald C. Surdam
rsurdam@uwyo.edu

Governor of the State of Wyoming
Governor Dave Freudenthal
governor@state.wy.us

Letters to the Editor:
kerry.drake@trib.com

http://www.wyomingnews.com/our_services/letter_to_the_editor/

dthomsen@laramieboomerang.com

openforum@denverpost.com

University of Wyoming Trustees:
Jim D. Neiman
jimd@neiman.biz

Warren A. Lauer
warrenlauer@lauerlegal.com

Dave Bostrom
mba-db@mbawyoming.com

Dick Davis
dick@davisandcannon.com

Betty Fear
bfear@centurytel.net

Taylor Haynes, M.D.
rangebeef@aol.com

David F. Palmerlee
dpalmerlee@vcn.com

Bradford S. Mead
bradmead@wyoming.com

Ann Rochelle
arochelle@casperlaw.net

James Trosper
jltrosper@wyoming.com

Ex Officio Trustees:
Jim McBride
supt@educ.state.wy.us

Kelsey Day
asuwpres@uwyo.edu

Elected Officials:
Members of the Wyoming House of Representatives
Representative Rodney “Pete” Anderson
randerso@wyoming.com

Representative George Bagby
g.bagby@bresnan.net

Representative Joseph M. Barbuto
jbarbuto@wyoming.com

Representative Rosie Berger
rberger@wyoming.com

Representative Stan Blake
sblake@wyoming.com

Representative Dave Bonner, Jr.
dbonner@wyoming.com

Representative Bob Brechtel
bbrechtel@wyoming.com

Representative Kermit C. Brown
kermitbrown@wyoming.com

Representative Edward A. Buchanan
ebuchanan@wyoming.com

Representative James W. Byrd
jbyrd@wyoming.com

Representative Richard L. Cannady
rcannady@wyoming.com

Representative Seth Carson
scarson@wyoming.com

Representative Pat Childers
childers@wyoming.com

Representative Roy Cohee
roy@cytransportation.com

Representative Cathy Connolly
cconnolly@wyoming.com

Representative Bernadine Craft
bcraft@wyoming.com

Representative Kathy Davison
kdavison@wyoming.com

Representative Ross Diercks
diercks@wyoming.com

Representative Amy L. Edmonds
aedmonds@wyoming.com

Representative Ken A. Esquibel
kesquibel@wyoming.com

Representative Mike Gilmore
michaelgilmore@wyoming.com

Representative Keith Gingery
kgingery@wyoming.com

Representative W. Patrick Goggles
pgoggles@wyoming.com

Representative Mary Hales
mary.hales@realestateincasper.com

Representative Timothy P. Hallinan, M.D.
tphallinan@bresnan.net

Representative Debbie Hammons
dhammons@wyoming.com

Representative Steve Harshman
sharshman@wyoming.com

Representative Elaine D. Harvey
harvey00@tctwest.net

Representative Peter S. Illoway
pete_chloeilloway3@msn.com

Representative Allen M. Jaggi
ajaggi@wyoming.com

Representative Peter M. Jorgensen
pjorgensen@jorgensenassociates.com

Representative Jack Landon, Jr.
jlandon@wyoming.com

Representative Thomas A. Lockhart
tlockh1617@aol.com

Representative Thomas E. Lubnau, II
tlubnau@vcn.com

Representative Michael K. Madden
madden@wyoming.com

Representative Robert M. McKim
rmckim@wyoming.com

Representative Del McOmie
dwmcomie@bresnan.net

Representative Erin E. Mercer
emercer@wyoming.com

Representative Saundra Meyer
slmey@wyoming.com

Representative David R. Miller
repmiller@wyoming.com

Representative Lori Millin
lorimillin@bresnan.net

Representative Glenn Moniz
gmoniz@bresnan.net

Representative John W. Patton
johnpatton@wyoming.com

Representative Frank Peasley
fpeasley@wyoming.com

Representative Bryan K. Pedersen
bpedersen@wyoming.com

Representative Owen Petersen
opetersen@wyoming.com

Representative Frank Philp
fphilp@wyoming.com

Representative Lorraine K. Quarberg
lquarberg@wyoming.com

Representative Jim Roscoe
jroscoe@wyoming.com

Representative Mark A. Semlek
msemlek@wyoming.com

Representative Lisa A. Shepperson
lshepperson@wyoming.com

Representative Colin M. Simpson
csimpson@skelaw.com

Representative William “Jeb” Steward
jebsteward@union-tel.com

Representative Tim Stubson
tim@stampedeforstubson.com

Representative Matt Teeters
mteeters@wyoming.com

Representative Bill Thompson
billthompson@wyoming.com

Representative Mary Throne
mthrone@wyoming.com

Representative Sue Wallis
sue.wallis@vcn.com

Representative Dan Zwonitzer
dzwonitzer@wyoming.com

Representative David L. Zwonitzer
davezwonitzer@wyoming.com

Members of the Wyoming State Senate
Senator Jim Anderson
jamesda1@msn.com

Senator Eli D. Bebout
senbebout@wyoming.com

Senator Bruce Burns
bburns@dbburns.com

Senator Cale Case, Ph.D
ccase@wyoming.com

Senator Henry H.R. “Hank” Coe
hcoe@wyoming.com

Senator Stan Cooper
scooperwy@gmail.com

Senator Dan Dockstader
ddockstader@wyoming.com
Senator Floyd A. Esquibel
fesquibel@wyoming.com

Senator Gerald E. Geis
ggeis@wyoming.com

Senator John M. Hastert
jhastert2@wyoming.com

Senator John J. Hines
jhines@wyoming.com

Senator Rick Hunnicutt
rhunnicutt@wyoming.com

Senator Kit Jennings
kit@kitsenate.com

Senator Wayne H. Johnson
wajohnsonsd6@yahoo.com

Senator Bill Landen
blanden@bresnan.net

Senator Grant Larson
senlarson@wyoming.com

Senator Marty Martin
mmartin@wyoming.com

Senator Mike Massie
mamassie@msn.com

Senator Curt Meier
cmeier@wyoming.com

Senator Phil Nicholas
nicholas@wyolegal.com

Senator Drew A. Perkins
drew@schwartzbon.com

Senator R. Ray Peterson
rpeterson@wyoming.com

Senator Tony Ross
tross@wyoming.com

Senator John C. Schiffer
jschiffe@wyoming.com

Senator Charles K. Scott
charlesscott@wyoming.com

Senator Kathryn Sessions
ksessions@wyoming.com

Senator Charles Townsend
ctown@wyoming.com

Senator Bill Vasey
bvasey@wyoming.com

Senator Michael Von Flatern
mvonflatern@wyoming.com

US Senator John Barrasso
http://barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactUs.ContactSubmit&CFID=1239277&CFTOKEN=16382076

US Senator Mike Enzi
http://enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInformation.EmailSenatorEnzi

US Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis
http://mail01.mail.com/scripts/common/login_home.cgi?a=8f98139853a8036ef957959bc549ccbb9038a83922ff63e1f0f0eb5b4b61dfdabce6feb0bdc38a56668f46386b88ababbac9158156503c7c8e90a60cee2396f14a7bbf2ebfd857c722e5e29ca5151f69d55cb84105916d