Friday, May 31, 2013

From a Land of Riches to the Barrens: The Basin and Range

We set off early today on our journey of exploration on the Colorado Plateau, but to get to the plateau we needed to travel nearly 500 miles from California's Great Valley to Las Vegas, passing through some of the loneliest landscapes to be found in the United States. I couldn't help but notice how we also passed from a land flowing literally with milk and honey (dairy farms and beekeepers among the thousands of farms) to a barren landscape where life must be grasped and fought for. We crossed Tioga Pass, which despite the frighteningly dry year was still mantled with some snowfields, and into the Basin and Range Province east of the Sierra Nevada. The difference was striking.
The Basin and Range Province happened because a high plateau-like region with rivers extending from at least central Nevada to the Pacific was stretched to the breaking point. About 29 million years ago, the subduction zone that had dominated the tectonic history of the Western United States for nearly 180 million years was destroyed by a process that resulted in the formation of the San Andreas fault. The crusted extended and broke into numerous fault block mountains (horsts) and deep fault valleys (grabens). The Sierra Nevada was the largest and highest of these fault blocks and as a consequence, the mountains prevent most of the rain and snow from ever reaching the lands to the east.

The Sierra Nevada is the realm of the cool dark forests and the high glaciated peaks. The Basin and Range is a place where sagebrush reigns, and practically the only trees are dumpy little pinyon pines and juniper. It's a hard dry land. We crossed Montgomery Pass into Nevada and had a close look at Boundary Peak, which at 13,147 feet (4,007 m), is the highest point in Nevada. Ironically it is not the highest peak in the mountain range in which it is situated. Adjacent Montgomery Peak is 13,441 feet (4,097 m) tall, but as the name suggests, the state boundary falls between the two. A bit farther south, White Mountain Peak soars to 14,252 ft (4,344 m), the third highest peak in California.
It's a hard land, but that doesn't mean that life doesn't thrive. We were lucky to see some members of the Montgomery Pass herd of wild horses right next to the highway. Horses came to America with the Spaniards in the 1500s and escapees over the centuries formed naturalized herds across the west. In a sense though, these horses are returnees to a long-lost homeland. The horses evolved in North America, and migrated to Asia over the Bering Land Strait, but about 12,000 years ago they became extinct in the land of their origin.
I took a new road today, the highway through Dyer and Fish Lake Valley. It is a beautiful place, and few hundred ranchers and farmers make a living off the small streams that flow off the White Mountains and from the copious amounts of Pleistocene groundwater that lies hidden beneath the valley floor (a nonrenewable resource though; they're using up the water that arrived there during the Ice Ages).
Others tried to wrest life from the land, but in a different way. When the California Gold Rush petered out in the 1850s, hungry miners scoured the lands to the east for the next great Mother Lode. Their searches were most often futile, but a few rich mines were discovered (such as the Comstock Lode), and other towns were built on dreams of avarice, but not much more. Such was the fate of Palmetto in western Nevada. There are only a few structures remaining, carved out of the rhyolite tuff that covers much of the region. For a time, several hundred miners pitched camp here, looking for plays of valuable minerals in the rocks, but they found little and quickly abandoned the site.
The desert has reclaimed much of the old town, except a few buildings which stand only because...well, I don't know how the wall below is still standing.
The miners could look out a window and see the sometimes snow-capped summit of White Mountain Peak in the distance, dreaming of water and riches, but having neither. A barren land, yes, but rich in other ways. The geology exposed in these barren mountains is fascinating, and volcanoes and earthquakes show that the crust here is still very active.

This is one of my favorite regions on the planet...

On the Road Again, To the Mysterious Realm of the Colorado River!

This summer is all about the Colorado River, one of the most geologically mysterious rivers on planet Earth. Most rivers start in some mountains, flow onto a coastal plain, and hence into the sea. The Colorado can only be said to do the first. It starts in the Rocky Mountains, but then it follows all sorts of strange pathways, cutting through mountain ranges here, abandoning channels there, forming entrenched meanders that make the river look tens of millions of years old (which it is, in places), but then historically ending in a sea that has existed for only four million years. But it doesn't end there anymore, because humans have grabbed onto every last drop of the river, using it over and over until it dies in the desert sands, many miles from the original delta.

I have a lot to learn about this river and the landscape it flows through. I leave in about five hours on the first of three journeys this summer to explore and learn about the canyons and gorges of the river. I'm joining geologists and their families on a week long trip from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and all of the fascinating places in between. If there aren't too many mistakes to correct, I'll have the guidebook available in a month or two for anyone interested in the journey.
I'll be home for a week, and in the last half of June, it will be the turn of my students at MJC to see this incredible landscape. More on that later. Then, in July and August, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of floating down the Colorado River from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek through almost all the Grand Canyon. My incredible brother won a slot in the private trips lottery, and is letting me come along. I can barely wait.

So the adventures start in the morning. I'll try to put up a post now and then to share in the sights.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time Beyond Imagining Becomes a "Book" (or: "Where I've Been Hiding These Last Few Weeks)!

A best-seller if there ever was one! In fact, I think the first run will sell out (15 copies in the first printing, so not really a surprise). If you've been following Geotripper for very long, you will maybe have seen that one of my first blog series was called Time Beyond Imagining (link is here), and that it was a series that introduced the history of the Colorado Plateau over the course of around 70 posts. I always felt that all that writing should be rounded up into a single narrative some day, and that day kind of arrived when I decided to lead a trip through the plateau country with some geologists and their families from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. I started on the project 18 months ago and made a lot of progress, but the first trip in 2012 was cancelled, and I so let the project simmer for awhile.
We scheduled the course again this year, and by May we realized we had enough participants to run the trip, which meant I had a strict deadline...which unfortunately coincided with the end of the semester, AND the big move into our new Science Community Center. So I disappeared more or less for the last few weeks furiously writing and rewriting a narrative and field guide for the trip. It felt a lot like finishing my thesis way back when, but back then I was taking care of an infant. This time I had a son who is an expert anthropologist who wrote an extensive section for the book on the cultural history of the region. The book and guide went to the printer this evening, and we leave for Las Vegas on Friday.
The guidebook is imaginatively called "The Geology and Cultural History of the Western Colorado Plateau, with a geological road guide to Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks". It currently includes a section outlining the chronology of geological events and descriptions of the rock units on the Plateau, another on the cultural history of the different people groups in the western part of the plateau, and road guide for a six-day trip looping out of Las Vegas through the three national parks, and a lot of places in-between.

And there are some truly fascinating places in between! Our trip includes a journey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the Diamond Creek Road out of Peach Springs on the Hualapai Reservation. It will also include a visit at Antelope Canyon, a surreal labyrinth on the Navajo Reservation near Page, Arizona (picture below).
We will also explore a portion of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by following the forty-plus mile long Cottonwood Wash Road along the Cockscomb Monocline, a truly spectacular drive through some really distorted rocks.
The monument also includes the beautiful Grosvenor Arches in one of the most isolated corners of the country. As recently as 1949, the National Geographic Society called their visit to the region an "expedition" (which probably elicited a laugh from the local ranchers...).
Our trip will include a visit to one of the gems of the Utah State Parks system, Kodachrome Basin State Park. It contains extensive exposures of Entrada Sandstone with dozens of strange clastic pipes that tower over the trails and campground. The trip wraps up with a tour of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, though with a twist. We intend to take the road to Lava Point, which gets missed by the vast majority of Zion National Park visitors. When Zion Canyon proper is sizzling hot and dry, there are cool meadows and pine forests among the sandstone cliffs, and a lot of fairly recent lava flows and cinder cones.
In general, I've written the narrative portions at a fairly basic level (I included a "geology basics" at the beginning), and the road guides as to be understood by anyone with a geology class or two under their belt.

I would hope that there would be some interest in the book and road guide, but I know I'll need to do some serious fact-checking and mileage confirmations (the numbers never quite add up right, which has been true for every guide I've written) while on the trip next week. And I also need to find a cheap way to print it, because the 160 page guide ran $30 apiece at Kinkos (I know they call it something else now, but I can't remember what!). I would love any ideas you might have!

Despite the long nights and all, I've been having a lot of fun revisiting one of my favorite corners of the planet, and I'm thrilled to be hitting the road in a couple of days (one week with AAPG, and then two weeks with my students). I'll try to post some pics from the road, and not be quite as invisible as I have been the last few weeks.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

There IS Hope for Science Education in the Central Valley

It was quiet this morning in the Science Community Center at Modesto Junior College. I walked up to the roof to have a look around and there was a beautiful cloud pattern and the Diablo Range rose in the distance. It was a peaceful start to the day. But what a day it was!

It was the Ribbon Cutting event for the Science Community Center. It was a decade-long-plus journey for the science faculty at MJC who were tasked with envisioning and designing a facility for teaching science that could carry our campus through the next century. How in the world can you plan for a century? We can't possibly know the kinds of changes that face our community and society over the next century, but we can do our best to prepare our children for the incredible journey. We came together and produced a vision: a teaching facility that could house the biology, chemistry, physics and earth science programs, but which would also house our community outreach in the form of the Great Valley Museum, a fully functional observatory, and a state-of-the-art planetarium. And an outdoor nature laboratory. We saw a place that would give the best possible educational opportunity to our students, and inspiration to generations of children who might not otherwise ever be exposed to science.

As I've noted before, the vision was challenged. It was too expensive. It was so grandiose. It was too ambitious for a community that has consistently high unemployment, and too many low-paying jobs. Attempts were made to cut back the project, but the faculty and staff persisted, and aided by a very unfortunate Great Recession that drastically cut construction costs, the Science Community Center has become a reality with the vision largely intact. And millions of dollars under budget.

Unlike many projects at public educational institutions, this project (and dozens of others across our campus) was funded by the local community, not the state. It was the fruit of Measure E, a bond issue in our district and county. The community supported the concept of giving our students and our children the best possible education as the best way of out of our economic malaise. They gave us the mandate, and I think we achieved the aims. The only piece now missing is the Outdoor Nature Laboratory, and it may be just a year away from construction.

But we still wondered. Would the public show up for a ribbon-cutting ceremony? Was the community still behind us? I felt they would be there, but I'm not sure what the organizers of the event were expecting. They only put out 70 chairs (but they did provide a live musical act and food). Twenty minutes before the event, the chairs were mostly filled...
And then more than filled. Dozens of people were standing behind the chairs. And more were arriving by the minute...
There were at least 150 gathered around the seating area by the time the dignitaries started their speeches. And still more people were arriving.
And then I looked behind me, and realized the entire foyer was filled with hundreds more people. They couldn't even see the speakers or the ribbon, but they pressed in. It was a wonderful affirmation of years of hard work on the part of our faculty and staff people.

We spent the next few hours leading tours through the facility. It was delightful to experience the enthusiasm our community members had for the center. There were seniors who had served on this site during World War II when this property was a military barracks, or a few years later when it was a mental health facility (I'm inclined to still think of this place as an asylum). Some of my first students from the early 1990s were there. Some of my current students were there. And there were kids. Kids enthralled at the opportunity to touch a genuine dinosaur bone, and excited to realize that our region was the first place in California where a dinosaur was discovered. And that even more exciting creatures once dwelt here, including sabertooth cats and wooly mammoths. And menacing 30 foot long mosasaurs!
There is hope when a community can come together and support a project as ambitious as the Science Community Center. I have come to truly feel that the people of our region have collectively decided that education is a valuable tool in the effort to produce a better economy and society.

My day ended more quietly with what to me was an equally exciting event: I conducted the first ever class in the new Geology Laboratory in the Science Community Center. It was the first class meeting for our summer field studies class. As you can tell, I was happy to be there.
You don't get many days like this...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

It's Like a Disaster Movie...sort of. Put Aside May 21st!

You all know how the plot of a disaster movie plays out...amid the destruction of the city, the world, the solar system, a small plucky group of survivors goes about surviving, the concerns of the few outweighing the needs of the many, so to speak. That is how I felt this week as I come up for air (briefly) to explain my absence from any kind of blogging for the last week. We moved our science division, a gargantuan task involving dozens and dozens of people working under a strict deadline. But like the disaster movie concentrating on a small plucky group, I offer a view of the move from the point of view of our little geology department. I'm not saying it was a disaster, by the way, it was quite the opposite. It is a great triumph for our community.

Read to the end for an invitation!

The Science Community Center is the realization of a vision developed by the faculty and staff of the Science, Math and Engineering Division at Modesto Junior College thirteen years ago. Like a disaster movie, it looked at times like it would never happen, or if it did, it would never resemble the original vision. But it did happen, and it happened because our community, the towns of Stanislaus County, decided to pass a bond issue to renovate the college campus, including the construction of the SCC. There were losses...because of the recession we don't even have an engineering department anymore despite the name of our division. But in the end, the project was completed, and the vision was largely intact. We now have one of the finest science teaching facilities to be found at any community college in the state of California. We have a planetarium, an observatory, a new museum, and classrooms and labs for biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, earth science, and geology. And all because of the support of our community!

So here is how things played out with our plucky group of geologists! More than a dozen geology students volunteered their time to make this happen (it just couldn't have happened without them).
The old department had to be packed up. It was an astoundingly complicated task with the accumulation of a quarter-century of books, rocks, minerals, fossils, and paper. Lots and lots of paper. We let lots of stuff go, but we still ended up with 200 boxes, and dozens of wood trays filled with big rocks.
And then last Monday, it disappeared as the moving crew picked it all up and transported it to West Campus at the other end of town. It was a shock to see an empty room where I had been teaching for the last 15 years or so.
All of the boxes magically appeared in the new facility, and the work began of unpacking them and organizing the new laboratory. The geology students once again proved their worth!
For a time the geology lab looked as chaotic as the old one did, but a week of spit and polish fixed it up nicely!
Almost there...
And by Friday, the new lab was ready for the fall semester!
I even found a few minutes to put up some preliminary exhibits in the display cabinets on the third floor landing outside the geology department. We want the department to look good this week, because...
...Tuesday, May 21st is our long-awaited Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony! If you are in the Modesto area, come out at 10 AM and take a tour, and see what can happen when a community chooses to support education!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Science on Screen: Jurassic Park at the State Theatre! Sunday, May 12

The final film in our State Theatre "Science on Screen" series is happening this Sunday, May 12 at 2:00 PM. I'm looking forward to this one especially because I will be serving as the speaker before the film. We will have some bone specimens in the lobby, and will be raffling off a few samples of bone to lucky kids (or their parents...). If you live in the Modesto area, I hope to see you there!

The following is an announcement from the State Theatre...

What better way to celebrate Mom's special day than treating her to one of the best adventure films of all time?  That's right, there is no better way than bringing her to The State for Jurassic Park  -- the old-school version NOT the 3D version because we're assuming Mom is old-school, like us! We're so honored to have Mom spend her day with us, that we're going to admit her for free. That's right, bring Mom to the May presentation of Science On Screen and Mom gets in at no charge. She'll love the interactive activities before the film and the presentation too. Be sure and check out the fossils and talk with the MJC geology club, or enter a drawing to win a HUGE, inflatable dinosaur. There will be lots more to do and experience so come early and stay late -- for the Q&A with Garry Hayes following the film.

Film: Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg's blockbuster in which a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its dinosaur exhibits, cloned from prehistoric DNA, to run amok. Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough.
Speaker: Garry Hayes, M.S. -- Dinosaurs: From Fossils to Film
Mr. Hayes is a geologist, local scientist and popular geology instructor at Modesto Junior College where he's taught and shared his passion -- and popularized paleontology -- with thousands of students since 1988.

Doors at 2 p.m.; presentation and film 3 p.m.

(Q&A following the film)
These programs are made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
A pioneering program pairing Hollywood films with presentations by notable experts from the world of science, technology, mathematics and medicine.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Is There a Golden Age of Teaching? Ruminations on Moving and Great Students

It's a busy week to say the least. There was the hectic rush through finals and the posting of grades, and the deadline, only three days later, of having an entire Science Building packed and ready to move to another building. That's happening tomorrow. I am happy to say I had a lot of help from more than a dozen students who helped us get everything into the moving boxes.

Sifting through the detritus of twenty-five years of community college teaching is bound to reveal a few surprises, and I wasn't disappointed. Forgive me if I ruminate a little on what's gone on through those many years. To start with, I have a messy office. Not the messiest, it only achieved honorary mention the last time anyone judged. But more than messy enough.

I'll leave the reasons to the psychologists, about whether this is revealing something chaotic in the organization of my mind, but I can say that as messy as it always has been, I've always known where to find the items I was looking for (I only found two misplaced ungraded papers, for instance). I prefer to think that my office is messy because I subscribe to a corollary to the Peter Principle. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the principle states that in a hierarchical organization, people rise to the level of their own incompetence. This means that as long as you are successful at what you do, you get promoted, until you reach a position where you are incapable of successfully executing your duties. Since you are no longer successful, you receive no more promotions, and everyone above you and below is unhappy and dissatisfied with you.
There are only a few ways to escape the trap of the Peter Principle, and one of them is to get to a position where you are happy and don't want further promotions, so you find a way to be incompetent in insignificant ways so you can't be promoted, but can remain happy and successful at what you are doing. Hence, I maintain an office that would be unacceptable as a dean's office, but is tolerable in a professor.  And no one has ever asked me to be a dean (probably for many reasons).

Join me on a tour through the office that is soon to be stripped clean of twenty-five years of memories and experiences. The new office is very nice, with a view out the windows and clean walls, and directives about how and where we are to put our personal items on the walls. It will never be quite the cubbyhole I finished cleaning up today....
For me, a desk was never a place where work was accomplished, except for the writing that took place on the computer. For a geologist, a desk is a collecting place for the specimens of significant events and localities, much like the point bar on the inside of a river meander. What deskcrops are found up there? Beautiful crystals of azurite, topaz, quartz, calcite, rhodochrosite, and garnet. Fossils of ammonites, trilobites, eurypterids, and Green River fish. Samples of serpentinite, orbicular granite, xenoliths, and Mariposa slate. Some of them I found. Some were given to me. A few were in the school collection long before I came here.

The walls are covered with drawings by my son (the ammonites), a 40 year old painting of the Sierra Nevada done by a dear family friend when I graduated from high school, pictures of the family, and some of my accomplished students, and a Murphy's Law poster that I found when I started here in 1988. It went onto the wall back then and has always been a cherished message to meditate on (the favorites: "If everything seems to be going well, you obviously don't know what's going on" and "Nature always sides with the hidden flaw"). There is a sign of my Star Trek geekiness (hanging over the monitor). There's a shot of me standing next to a lava flow on the Big Island.
 On the wall by the door is a tsunami warning poster from Washington, a 1912 vintage geologic map of the Owens Valley and southern Sierra Nevada, some political stuff, and a couple of those certificates of appreciation that sometimes come one's way.

My office and adjacent lab preparation area were always a little cramped because the building's reinforcement columns had to go right through them. They made great bulletin boards and memory walls. For instance, in my office, the column supports pictures, signs from field trip vans (the "Chicks of Death"), drawings by associates (that beautiful chalk rendition of Half Dome), pictures of my kids (at all stages of their lives from childhood to their current business cards), the most outrageous of the creation science papers that crossed my desk, and a torn up picture of George Bush composed of the pixels of soldiers who died in Iraq. I had that picture on the outside of my door for the duration of the war, and it prompted a great many angry responses, including the vandalism that hung there until this week. And comics. Lots of comics with a geological theme.
The column in the lab prep area was reserved for pictures of favorite moments with my students. There is a shot of me trying to lecture while a deer was making faces behind me, a fist pump after something good happened at a gas station in Grand Tetons (I don't remember what), and the incredible Walter's Wiggles on the way up Angels Landing in Zion Canyon.
The other side has pics of sunsets, cool rock discoveries, makeshift comics, and antics with a fake hand that we enjoyed putting under boulders and the like. Pictures of shrines that developed in the back seat of vans during particularly long trips (the plastic rats were kind of creepy).
And then there is the chalkboard. I'm not sure how a chalkboard ended up in the lab prep area, but inscriptions soon appeared and were never erased. The "cake is a lie" was a relatively recent addition, but some of those lines are 15 years old.

The flood of memories got me thinking. Is there a golden age in the arc of one's teaching career? Is there a time when you've got just enough experience to be half decent at teaching, and still energetic enough to keep up with the demands? I could still recall some of my very first students, one of whom actually came back to help pack this week, and another who commented on my facebook page about watching my job interview lecture 25 years ago (she now teaches earth science in Nevada). I thought about our two year internment in a warehouse just off-campus while our building was seismically retrofitted. The students from those years formed the Geology Club, many became geologists, and some of them organized a dino-dig that resulted in the discovery of a rare Zephyrosaur in Montana in the late 1990s. There was a bunker mentality in that group that was marvelous to behold.

But thinking it through, I realized there are always some incredible students, there are always enthusiastic ones, and there are always those who you can't forget. There have been tough periods when budgets were slashed, and recessions caused big cutbacks. But the students have always been there, and they have always inspired me to do whatever I could to assist them in achieving their goals. I've had no end of frustrations with inconsistent and ever changing regulations sent to us from above, but I have never become tired of dealing with students, even the ones that I wanted to shake  and say "this is your big chance in life, and you are screwing it up for sheer laziness?".

This almost sounds like the ruminations of someone on the verge of retirement, but that isn't the case. This week I am literally beginning a new career, that of a professor teaching geology in a new building on a different campus in another part of the city. Everything will be different, but no less exciting. As long as I can come to school in the morning and teach with enthusiasm, I'll be here.

But it ain't gonna happen until all this crap gets moved from this building to the new Science Community Center on west campus...

Tomorrow will be an interesting day...

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Bit of Blue Gemstone for a Friday

As I've mentioned a few times, our new Science Community Center at Modesto Junior College is opening soon. Most of the first floor will be devoted to the vastly enlarged Great Valley Museum along with a planetarium and an observatory. One of the aspects of my involvement has been in developing an exhibit of California's state symbols. What today is a few pictures on a wall in the present museum will in a few weeks be a complete display with a full skeleton of a sabertooth cat (our state fossil), a gold specimen (our state mineral), a big chunk of beautifully glossy serpentine (our state rock; yes I know it's called serpentinite, but the legislature was unaware of this) and some of others like our state grass, bird, and flower.

Today I got to take a really close look at our state gemstone, which is one of the most obscure such designations in the United States! Can you say what this beautiful blue mineral is called?
The first Europeans to discover it thought it was sapphire. It's so rare that it was only described for the first time in 1907. And gem-quality specimens are found in abundance at only one mine in the entire world. It is a barium titanium silicate mineral called benitoite (after San Benito County, where it was found).

Benitoite crystallizes in the hexagonal crystal class, but forms a rare triangular type of crystal within the class. It is a beautiful blue color, but is a bit on the soft side (6-6.5) for extensive use in jewelry. It is also known for fluorescing in ultraviolet light. The matrix in which it is found is called natrolite, and sometimes elongated crystals of neptunite are associated with the benitoite.

It's a beautiful specimen that we'll have on display. Don't miss it if you are ever in Modesto!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Science Community Center at Modesto Junior College: Ribbon Cutting on May 21st! Come and have a look...

If I've been blogging less of late, it has something to do with the end of the semester, finals week, and the big move to the new building that is the end of a 10 year long journey from the original sketches on paper. The Science Community Center at Modesto Junior College, a facility built with funds from our own local community, is set to open for tours and observations on May 21st at 10 AM (ribbon cutting at 10 AM, tours to follow). The first classes are being taught this summer session.

I feel that this may be the finest facility for teaching science at any community college in the state (yes, I am biased). It includes a planetarium with the most advanced star projector in North America, a state-of-the-art observatory, and a vastly expanded Great Valley Museum including Science on a Sphere. We expect in the next year to install an adjacent outdoor nature laboratory as well. The facility includes laboratories and smart classrooms for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Earth Science, and of course, Geology.
If you are anywhere near Modesto (easy freeway access), I encourage you to stop by. I'll be giving tours on the third floor with our new geology displays all day. It has been a long hard road reaching this day, with thousands of hours logged by our staff people making sure that we have the finest facility possible (and we did it within budget!). I deeply appreciate the efforts of the staff and faculty members of our division who put their heart and soul into this incredible project.