Field Camp Rocks!

Liz Miller takes part in an experiment at Field Camp.

Liz Miller, Field Camp, 2005  (Geological Sciences class of 2006)


In 1969, Mike Morgan (BS geology, 1969) rode in a car caravan for three days to Ephraim, Utah to attend Field Camp, a summer geology field course—an experience he remembers vividly to this day.
 
Mike and Cindy Morgan.Forty years later, he and his wife Cindy endowed a fund to ensure that generations of future students in the School of Earth Sciences are able to take advantage of the real-life laboratory.
 
“Ask most Ohio State graduates for a defining moment in college and they will probably say, ‘Saturday at the Horseshoe,’” said Morgan. “Ask the same of Ohio State geoscientists, and they will reply: ‘Field Camp!’”

Edmund Spieker established Ohio State’s field geology course in Ephraim, Utah, in 1947, to “put the responsibility to see, to think, to relate, and to conclude onto the student, rather than have teachers point and tell.”
 
For nearly 65 years, that is what the Field Camp experience has done, continuing to meet Dr. Spieker’s goal of providing a unique environment for field-based research experiences for students and faculty. Research skills developed during field camp typically include collection and interpretation of geologic data, synthesizing geological histories, report writing, and geologic mapping.
 

"THESE SKILLS ARE HARD-EARNED THROUGH FIELD CAMP AND OHIO STATE GEOLOGISTS CAN HIT THE GROUND RUNNING. THEY'VE GOT AN ADVANTAGE ON JUST ABOUT ANYONE ELSE COMING OUT OF SCHOOL." {Mike Morgan}
 

“I have worked with both large and small oil companies and there’s one thing they all have in common: a demand for graduates with excellent analytical, problem solving, written, and verbal communication skills,” Morgan stated.
 
These skills are hard-earned through Field Camp and Ohio State geologists can hit the ground running. they’ve got an advantage on just about anyone else coming out of school.


Group of students at Field Camp.


Students at Field Camp.The Morgans hope that by endowing the Field Camp fund, others will come forward with support for the camp. Funding will help the School of Earth Sciences purchase and maintain vans for transportation; provide support for students to offset the costs of camp; and support faculty who spend six weeks each summer at the camp.

Most importantly, endowed funding will ensure that Ohio State’s Field Camp remains one of the best in the nation, drawing students from around the globe to the School of Earth Sciences.

“Field Camp is an essential part of the learning experience in the School of Earth Sciences,” said Anne Carey, professor and undergraduate coordinating advisor. “It’s been said that the best geologist is the one who has seen the most rocks.”

In Utah, students are exposed to the rock record of geological events ranging from Proterozoic to Holocene. Since its inception, Field Camp has hosted over 1,000 students who have gone on to pursue successful careers in geology.
 
“Many of my friends have described Field Camp as the best experience of their undergrad education,” said Claire Mondro, a recent graduate in earth sciences. “The big-picture problem solving skills I learned help me in every aspect of my life.”

Morgan, an exploration geologist, has lived in Houston, Texas – oil country – since graduation and knows firsthand the value of Field Camp.
 
“If we preserve Field Camp, Ohio State could emerge as a significant force in research in the oil industry and thousands more will have the same once-in-a-lifetime experience that I had,” said Morgan.

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