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UWFox, Weis Museum Staff Members Receive Awards

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Two staff members at the Weis Earth Science Museum (WESM), located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, have been named award winners by organizations wiJoanee Kluessendorfthin the earth sciences and geology communities. Gary Richards, WESM educator and mineralogist, was named a recipient of the 2008 Charles A. Salotti Earth Science Education Award. Dr. Joanne Kluessendorf, director of the WESM, has been elected to Fellowship in the Geological Society of America (GSA).

Richards was cited by the Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech University as one of the “dedicated individuals who have made significant accomplishments in promoting or contributing to outstanding education in the earth sciences.” He is only the tenth recipient of the coveted award, and the first person who is not a university professor or a museum director to be cited with the award.

Richards said, "I am really humbled and honored to receive this award. I never thought about winning an award. I just like to share my love for minerals and earth science with others. The award honors my accomplishments, my ideas of conveying the importance of earth science, not to just children, but to everyone. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the Earth, minerals, rocks and fossils, so that other people can learn to enjoy them as much as I do.”

Kluessendorf’s election to the GSA is recognition of her distinguished contributions to the geosciences. Founded in 1888, the GSA is a global organization of more than 21,000 members in more than 85 countries, that is dedicated to the advancement of the geosciences.

“I’m thrilled to have received this honor from my peers in the geosciences. In addition to my passion for science outreach, I enjoy conducting geologic research and believe in serving professional organizations in my field. It was this combination that resulted in my nomination to the GSA fellowship,” she said.

The 5,500 square-foot WESM is Wisconsin’s official mineralogical museum and is dedicated to the geology of Wisconsin with its rich mineral and mining heritage, which was so important to the settlement and economic development of the State. The WESM typically has over 20,000 visitors per year. Richards, Kluessendorf and the volunteers who help staff the WESM enthusiastically share their love of earth science, geology and dinosaurs with school children, guests and visitors throughout the year.

The WESM is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 4:00 p.m.; Fridays noon to 7:00 p.m.; Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sundays 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The WESM is also home to the “Stones and Stars Gift Shop,” which offers for sale a wide variety of geologic samples, dinosaur fossils and toys, and other earth science items.

For more information about the WESM or the awards, contact Kluessendorf at 920-832-2925 or email joanne.kluessendorf@uwc.edu

Posted 12/16/2008