Local Chapter Affairs Articles

 

The ad hoc Committee on Local Chapters recommended that a column entitled "Local Chapter Affairs" becomes a regular feature in the Bulletin. The current chair of the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs provides the information contained in the columns. The columns feature news and commentary from Headquarters of interest to local chapters, and tips and insights on effective chapter operations.

BAMS, Vol. 85, No. 7 (July 2004)

Local Chapters' 2003 Year-In-Review

Local Chapters represent the outreach arm of the American Meteorological Society. Their interaction between the Society and general public extends the AMS mission beyond the scientific community. During 2003, 118 Local, Student and Pre-college Chapters used a multitude of techniques to promote scientific exploration. Chapters have recognized that by encouraging multidisciplinary interaction, broader community participation results.

The Central Illinois Chapter commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the first radar detected hook echo associated with a tornado. The event was hosted in conjunction with the Illinois State Water Survey. Three former ISWA employees were honored, Don Staggs, Glenn Stout and Stan Chagnon, with letters of acknowledgement from the AMS Executive Director for their 9 April 1953 discovery. Over 60 attendees were in attendance to listen to presentations regarding the development and advances in radar meteorology.

Six months later this same chapter organized and conducted the Midwest Conference on Severe and Hazardous Weather. Attendance exceeded 150 people and conference feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Keynote speakers included NCEP Director Dr. Louis Uccellini, The Weather Channel's Dr. Gregory Forbes, and New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. David Robinson.

One of the newest chapters, North Florida, celebrated their first full year during 2003. Although it is not a Student Chapter it draws a substantial student membership from Florida State University. In order to address the questions posed by their student membership regarding graduate school and application procedures, the chapter arranged a presentation by FSU Department of Meteorology's graduate program chair, Dr. Liu. They have also drawn from a talented scientific pool that presented information on tropical cyclone analysis and severe weather formation and detection. Socially, they held a picnic at the FSU Reservation, organized a block of tickets for the Florida State-Miami football game and a bowling social. North Florida has made community a priority in their chapter by holding a food drive, providing educational outreach and science fair participation. Perhaps the most ambitious accomplishment for this new chapter was the organization of a Pre-college chapter that serves the K-12 community.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison student chapter was just as creative as the Local Chapters in its interaction with members, the community and the national AMS. Their 2003-2004 year was kicked-off with a BBQ, which led to several notable guest speaker appearances from John Elise from NWS, past AMS president David Houghton and Tammy Weckwerth from NCAR. In order to host a Winter Solstice Party the chapter held several fundraising events. The T-shirt and bake sales were a success. In addition, these students have created a partnership with Adult Role Models in Science, which provides interaction with K-12 students as mentors and presenters.

The New York City/Long Island Chapter found that jointly sponsored meetings on time sensitive topics attracted greater attendance. One such meeting was the NWS Spotter Training Session held with the New York Academy of Science. The chapter continued its participation in the 8th Annual Math Science and Technology Education Conference held at Purchase College. A multitude of educational material was provided to K-12 teachers. Like many chapters, including the Arkansas and El Paso-Las Cruces Chapters, NYC/LI Chapter members participated as judges in local and state science fairs.

Educational outreach launched Omaha-Offutt's 2003 chapter year. More than 40 high school students and their parents attended the "Career Night" forum. Twelve meteorological experts from private, government and educational sectors participated during the evening's panel. The diverse representation demonstrated the various opportunities in the natural sciences that are available for the students as they enter college. Later in the year university student, Jonathan Garner, provided the chapter with a storm chasing presentation. The incredible video and outstanding photography made the April meeting one of the most heavily attended meetings. In addition, the chapter recognized the important work the members were conducting and allowed several members the opportunity to present their work to the chapter membership during the May meeting.

The Central North Carolina Chapter tackled the challenge of co-hosting a regional conference on the inland effects of tropical weather systems have on the Mid-Atlantic. The conference sought to address problems associated with inland flooding, high winds, lightning and tornadoes. More than 120 people were in attendance and 42 speakers represented a broad spectrum of hydrological and meteorological professionals. All presentations are currently available on the conference website, www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/ams/conference/agenda/. The chapter has also continued its tradition of giving academic achievement awards, which range from $100 to $300. Recipients are deserving meteorology students from area universities.

The longest running chapter to report its 2003 accomplishments was the Anchorage Chapter. Their year began with a discussion on ensemble forecast models, which was followed by a presentation from the NOAA HAZMAT response team. As with many of the chapters represented in this article, Anchorage focused a great deal of effort on education. During 2003 their efforts went towards publicizing the AMS Minority Scholarship. Considering the size and sparse population base this was a great challenge for the chapter. Thus, rural students were targeted by submitting advertising to a firm that covers 7 rural weekly papers. Several members judged the atmospheric projects in the State Science Fair and volunteers have educated school children about UV rays with the EPA Sunwise Kit. In fact, one chapter member volunteered to use the kit at a local science center for a summer children's program.

Although each chapter had great accomplishments during 2003, they also faced some adversity. However, out of that adversity has risen some fantastic advise for new and old chapters alike. North Florida Chapter's biggest piece of advice is "to not underestimate the desire of its members in wanting to get out into the community or in working to enhance the visibility and strength of the chapter itself." They also found, in some cases the hard way, that the greatest success came from well-organized plans. One student chapter felt it was best to "swing for the fences". Several chapters created more successful meetings by co-sponsoring with another group or facility, in many cases the National Weather Service. Omaha-Offutt chapter officers discovered that flexible scheduling benefits their membership. In several cases during 2003, their flexible meeting schedule allowed them to take advantage of visiting professionals' schedules. An important lesson learned by the Central North Carolina Chapter was that even broadcast meteorologists are subject to ratings "sweeps" months. All chapters should keep in mind November, February, May and July are important rating times for local broadcasters and plan accordingly. Anchorage's lesson, which may affect your 2004-2005 chapter schedule, was to plan your first meeting or two for a more general audience. Pick a topic that will appeal to the general population as well as the scientific community. As an example, the Northern Nevada Chapter held a meeting based on how the Nevada State Highway Patrol recommends citizens handle driving conditions during severe weather.

A chapter is only as strong as its membership and as this article has demonstrated, there are some very strong and enthusiastic AMS chapters. I would like to thank all of the chapters that contributed to the article. You have provided creative program ideas, as well as, a wealth of advice. Hopefully the ideas presented will provide some fresh ideas for the 2004-2005 chapter year.---by Sherri A. Del Soldato, Local Chapter Affairs Committee.


BAMS, Vol. 85, No. 4 (April 2004)

Local Chapter Activities at the 84th AMS Annual Meeting

The Local Chapter Affairs Committee has never been involved in a more productive and enthusiastic meeting than the 2004 AMS Annual Meeting. Local chapter activities and its members are having a significant and positive impact on each other, on our communities, and on the health and vibrancy of the national AMS. Grassroots efforts are paying off in big ways, due to the hard work of the LCAC members. This group includes Jim Brey, Sherri Del Soldato, Jim Keeney, Marianne Hayes, Bruce Thomas, Jenny Dean, Mike Biggerstaff, Travis Herzog, and our newest member, Jim Peronto. These professionals from all walks of our field are committed to helping local chapters succeed. AMS Manager of Marketing and Special Programs Kelly Garvey and AMS Deputy Executive Director Keith Seitter have given the LCAC top-notch support and made the job easier. Some new ideas were successfully implemented at the Annual Meeting, with more on deck for 2004.

Posters. As part of the Third AMS Student Conference, 10 student local chapter posters were displayed and viewed during the scheduled conference breaks. In addition, 27 local chapters submitted abstracts, and a record 35 chapters (and the LCAC) presented posters as part of the local chapter’s poster session. These posters need not be hi-tech. The only requirement is that they depict, in your own words and images, chapter activities that serve the members, the community, and the national AMS. Submitting these abstracts and developing chapter posters—a great tool to build a more cohesive chapter—also makes these chapters more competitive to receive the prestigious Local Chapter of the Year Award. Award applications, found on the Local Chapter Information section on the AMS Web site (www.ametsoc.org), are due to AMS Headquarters by 1 May 2004.

Committee Meeting. The LCAC had the opportunity to share their experiences and accomplishments from this past year on behalf of chapters throughout the United States. Articles published in the Bulletin included highlights from the Annual Meeting, a testimonial from Wendy Abshire at the 2003 Town Hall meeting, chapter record archiving issues, and the formation of a new precollege local chapter. In 2004, the LCAC plans to publish five articles in the Bulletin. They include the Annual Meeting activities, the Local Chapter of the Year award process, detailed information on the precollege local chapters, a look back at the highlights of local chapter activities in 2003, information available on the local chapter’s Web site, and educational opportunities in conjunction with the EWOC Teacher’s Conference in Boulder, Colorado, in 2006.

During the year, the LCAC convenes by e-mail and conference calls to choose the annual regular and student local chapter award winners. There were significant enhancements to the local chapter’s Web site this year, thanks to Garvey and Dean. Expanding the use of e-mail to keep local chapters connected, the committee sent 20 e-mails to regular and student local chapter officers informing them of upcoming activities, awards deadlines, and important information that could help them provide a value and service to not only their members, but also their community. The committee discussed ideas on how to better connect chapters with the national AMS and tie the prediction theme into the 2005 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. Finally, the committee resolved to integrate local chapters as much as possible with other efforts going on throughout our profession, and within the framework of outreach and inclusiveness as part of the AMS 10-Year Vision Study.

Local Chapters Recognition Breakfast. Over 90 members representing local chapter officers and guests, LCAC, and the AMS headquarters staff met in the Sheraton Seattle for this annual event. A record 36 local chapters were represented. Guests from the AMS staff included Garvey, Seitter, and Joe Friday, outgoing AMS president. Friday presented the 2002–03 Student Local Chapter of the Year Award to the Cook College student chapter, and the 2002–03 Local Chapter of the Year Award to the District of Columbia chapter. Friday also recognized top performing chapters who earned distinction as an AMS Honor Roll winner—Central North Carolina, High Plains, Iowa State University, Lyndon State College, Texas A&M University, and West Central Florida. Ken Carey asked all chapters to continue sending in their meeting minutes to the AMS; all submissions will be published on the AMS Local Chapters Web site and especially interesting local chapter meeting minutes will be published in the Bulletin in the Chapter Channel section. Carey reminded the group of the 1 May deadline for all applications for Chapter of the Year. To encourage participation in the award process, committee members handed out award applications to every person present at the breakfast. Garvey reminded everyone that if they had any questions or needed help in any area, they could notify the committee via amschaff@ametsoc.org. Carey asked each chapter to ensure their chapter information profile was updated, since the e-mail list serve is derived from information provided on each chapter’s chapter officer e-mail address listing. To ensure student chapter issues were being addressed, Carey requested that the award-winning Cook College chapter provide a volunteer who would join the LCAC. This chapter officer would serve for one year and be a part of all recommendations and decisions made by the LCAC. The LCAC will continue to reach out to local chapters with information and assistance (via quarterly e-mails to chapter officers), publish articles in the BAMS, and recognize top performing local chapters. As part of several initiatives to focus recognition on local chapters, Carey offered a brochure on precollege (K–12) local chapters that summarized an opportunity to harness interest in the atmospheric sciences by students and mentored and facilitated by adult advisors (parents, teachers, scout leaders, etc.).

Awards Banquet. The Cook College and District of Columbia local chapters were formally recognized at the Annual Awards Banquet. —Ken Carey, Chair Local Chapter Affairs Committee.

BAMS, Vol. 84, No. 12 (December 2003)

Consider Establishing a Pre-college Age AMS Local Chapter

The impetus for establishing pre-college-level AMS local chapters began in 2001 with an inquiry from a young associate member, Paul Westcott. At the time he was the president of a high school meteorology club in New York and was wondering if they could form a student chapter. In line with the Society's desire to increase member inclusiveness and broaden outreach to non-traditional audiences, the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC) unanimously supported the existence of local chapters for students of pre-college age and worked with the AMS Council to establish appropriate guidelines. Pre-college AMS chapters were approved in 2002. Now in 2003, the LCAC and the AMS Board on Pre-college Education (BOPE) have jointly set a goal for actively promoting the establishment of pre-college local AMS Chapters nationwide. Personally, I hope that by the 2004 AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle we will be celebrating the addition of 5 to10 new chapters in this category!

Imagine these new AMS local chapters with adult leaders connected to atmospheric science out there interacting with groups of students in the K-12 age range! What better way to promote children's natural interest in earth-system science? Not only would these kids get exposure beyond their classrooms to how fun science can be, but also, many national, state, and district science education standards are related to topics of interest to the AMS including the water cycle, energy in the earth system, and so on. The positive feedback mechanisms generated by forming a pre-college chapter are tremendous. Even an already existing weather club would benefit from becoming an AMS chapter. The students and parent leaders of these groups would form connections with a professional society that serves adults with the same interests! These future scientists could be exposed at an early age to the many people, resources, activities, and goals of the American Meteorological Society.

The guidelines for establishing a pre-college local chapter state that, "Any group of at least five students desiring to form a pre-college student chapter may petition the Council for authorization to do so. In addition to the signatures of five students, a teacher or other adult advisor must also sign the petition. The petition format is similar to that used to form regular local chapters. The signing adult must already be a member or be willing to join the Society. This is necessary for the chapter to receive important AMS-related materials. Each pre-college chapter must have a participating adult advisor. Appropriate adult advisors may be teachers, librarians, school principals, scout leaders, etc. The petition should be sent to the Secretary-Treasurer of the AMS. If it meets the minimal conditions stated above and the petitioning adult advisor is verified as a member/associate member of the Society, the petition will be sent to the members of the Council for vote by mail ballot, unless a meeting of the Council is scheduled within the next forty days. Action by the Council will be forwarded to the petitioners by the Manager of Marketing/Special Programs, the local chapter point of contact." A sample petition is available on the AMS Website at http://www.ametsoc.org, under the Local Chapters Information section, the Q&A heading, "How to start a local chapter". Other very useful information for starting a new chapter including a Sample Chapter Constitution and the Chapter Officer's Handbook is also available on the Website. The initial petition should be sent to: AMS, Attn: Local Chapters, 45 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108-3693.

Ideas about who may be interested in forming new pre-college AMS chapters are just forming, but here are a few things we've thought of that may get those juices flowing. First, schools that already have established relationships with local weather media personalities and perhaps host a weather observing station are likely potential candidates. Also, if you know of a weather/science club at a middle school or high school they too may be ripe for this opportunity. Additionally, all the AMS Education Resource Agents (AREAs) out there may have just the relationship with children and teachers that would love to be among the first to form a pre-college AMS chapter. As far as "What will these chapters do?" that question is as wide open as the imaginations of the members of the newly formed chapters. Much like other AMS local chapters, pre-college chapters may wish to invite guest speakers and/or take field trips. They may also be interested in building their own instruments, engaging in public outreach, interacting with other local chapters and facilitating earth science via school science fairs. The "sky's" the limit!

If you are interested in starting a pre-college chapter and have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact myself, AMS staff, and the other members of the LCAC via e-mail at amschaff@ametsoc.org. By the way, did I mention that the enterprising adult leader of a newly formed chapter gets a free AMS t-shirt perfect for wearing to chapter meetings?

Wendy Schreiber-Abshire
Former chair of the LCAC, current member of BOPE


BAMS, Vol. 84, No. 10 (October 2003)

Keeping Local Chapter Records: Why Should I Care and if I Care what Should I Do?

by Jinny Nathans, AMS Archivist

This article will give you some quick and easy guidelines for determining which chapter records to keep in active ongoing files and what kinds of inactive materials to treat as historical documents, valuable to the history of your chapter and therefore part of the institutional history of the Society.

Local chapters, their members and activities are the lifeblood of any national organization and the AMS is no exception. With the formation of the first chapter in 1929 in Boston, local chapters have been a part of the Society's framework, serving as an effective way to allow local professionals and weather enthusiasts to gather and exchange information and ideas. The result has been an increase in awareness of meteorology among the general public and, ultimately, growth in Society membership. The Society now has approximately 125 active local chapters, including over 40 student chapters that specifically serve the needs of meteorology students.

Among other activities, local chapters

  • Host regular meetings with speakers and lecturers
  • Produce newsletters and membership directories
  • Produce informational brochures and program posters and flyers
  • Elect officers and committees to conduct chapter business
  • Tour local meteorological facilities
  • Run contests and fundraisers
  • Hold job shadowing days
  • Support science fairs and serve as judges
  • Fund scholarships and academic awards
  • Host regional conferences
  • Offer career counseling
  • Support K-12 teachers as science advisors
  • Participate in AMS education programs
  • Produce and update a website
  • Create correspondence
Each of these activities generates records that become part of the local chapter's working files and ultimately part of its archives. Problems with keeping and managing local chapter records may result in one of the examples illustrating this article. Older records become unmanageable for a number of reasons: they are messy and disorganized; they may be illegible because they have faded or crumbled away because they are on coated paper or paper which has become dry and brittle; they are on software or in a format no longer compatible with current computer programs, but which seemed like a good way to reduce paper at the time. If your chapter's records look anything like those illustrated in this article, you may already be questioning why you still have them. Here are some quick ways to categorize your files and suggestions for how to deal with your more historical material.

Chapter records are of two types -- permanent or temporary. Temporary material that is to be held one or two years should normally stay with the pertinent officers or committees. If you are still using files for reference and ongoing projects, consider this material temporary and active. Inactive files can be transferred to a chapter archivist--if chapters designate someone to fill this position--or simply separated from still-active files. Outgoing officers and committee chairs should be prepared to transfer archival materials to the chapter archivist at the end of their term of office. However, incoming officers and committee chairs may wish to receive files intact from their predecessors. After review, they should pass the material on to the archivist for weeding and filing.

Organizing Chapter Archives

General -- (materials pertaining to the chapter as a whole)

-- Chapter Bylaws, including all revisions and amendments.
-- History: materials pertaining to establishment and early growth of the chapter.
-- Membership lists of chapter members.
-- Minutes of Business Meetings.
-- Obituaries.
-- Photographs.
-- Procedures Manual, chapter and Association.
-- Publicity: clippings, pictures, etc., about the chapter or its members.

Officers --
-- Roster of officers and committee members.
-- Executive Board - Minutes and Reports.
-- President - Annual Report and other materials of permanent importance, including correspondence not found elsewhere.
-- Secretary - Materials of permanent importance, including correspondence not found elsewhere. (Minutes are filed elsewhere.)
-- Treasurer or Secretary-Treasurer
-- Other Officers' records.

Committees -- arranged alphabetically by committee title

Projects -- Include posters, joint conferences, workshops, association-wide meetings, etc.

Publications -- (Archival files should contain one copy of the actual publication
Correspondence pertaining to a publication should be filed in the folder of the committee or position responsible for the publication.
-- Bulletin/Newsletter
-- Membership Directory

Associated Organizations
-- Reports, correspondence from liaisons with other organizations

Chapter Archives Quick Reference File

The material in these files will answer the most frequently asked questions about your chapter, when planning programs or working on nominatons or other special projects. Either have your chapter archivist maintain these files, or compile them and keep with your working, active chapter files.

  1. Officers
    List of elected officers, committee chairs, and members for the last 10 years.
  2. Programs
    List of activities for the last 10 years: date, program title, speaker.
  3. History
    Significant chapter dates such as it's establishment, signatories, place of the first meeting, outstanding events, awards, or activities at AMS Annual Meetings, such as participation in poster sessions.
  4. Special publications, such as posters
  5. Program schedules, agendas, and flyers
  6. Web-based documents, including websites
    Documents which are only available on the chapter's website should be downloaded and archived in hard copy.
  7. Other electronic records
    Download and archive in hard copy.
For further information or specific questions on setting up local chapter files and archives, please contact Jinny Nathans (jnathans@ametsoc.org).


BAMS, Vol. 84, No. 6 (June 2003)

Funding Student Participation at the Annual Meetings - the Millersville University Case Study

Authors: E. Daniel Carré, Paul J. Hughes, Shanna Sampson, Courtney L. Hanna, and Dr. Richard D. Clark

For 16 consecutive years the Millersville University (MU) Meteorology Program and the MU Student Chapter of the AMS (hereafter MU-AMS) have sponsored the attendance of senior meteorology majors at the AMS Annual Meetings. This is no small feat considering that over the past few years, as the number of students has exceeded 12 and with the AMS meetings in places like Long Beach, Orlando, and Phoenix, the travel costs become a major funding issue. In fact, students are only asked to provide out-of-pocket expenses for subsistence, with airfare, registration, and lodging being covered by other sources of funding. Still, the meteorology faculty views the Annual Meeting as a valuable and culminating experience for students and plan to continue to provide this opportunity for the foreseeable future.


So how does one offset the cost of sponsoring a dozen or so students to the Annual Meeting? The estimated budget for travel, lodging, and registration for 11 students to attend the Long Beach 2003 meeting was $8,980; two junior-level meteorology majors also attended by paying their own way. The process of securing funds for this activity began a full nine months before the meeting with the MU-AMS Chapter developing a budget that included funding for attendance at the Annual Meeting and all other Chapter activities for the following year. That budget was submitted to the University Student Senate Appropriations Committee. However, the Student Senate recognizes no more than eight students attending any conference, so that large student organizations, such as the MU-AMS Chapter with its 75 members, are at a distinct disadvantage in comparison to clubs with only a few members. The Senate appropriated about $4,000 to the Chapter of which $2,000 was earmarked for the Annual Meeting. Next, the Chapter officers approach the Department of Earth Sciences and the Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics requesting support for the activity. It has been a long-standing tradition for the department and the Dean to match funds, each contributing $1,000, but recently the department has increased its contribution to $1,500 to accommodate the increase in enrollments in meteorology and the commensurate increase in seniors attending the annual meetings. The Chapter also holds several fundraisers to generate money to help defray the cost of the Annual Meeting. The final internal funding mechanism comes in the form of an endowment fund that contributes up to $500 to offset transportation or conference registration costs. This year we received $220 toward the Long Beach venture from this endowment. None of these funds are available prior to making travel and lodging reservation or registering for the Annual Meeting, so expenses must be encumbered out of the department's operating budget.

With a balance of $4260 remaining, each student is obliged to volunteer for the AMS Students Assistants Program and apply to the AMS Travel Grants Program. This year, two students received travel grants to cover airfare, lodging and registration, an equivalent savings of approximately $1780. In addition, the AMS accepted a few MU students as assistants, covering the costs of lodging and registration and further reducing the balance to a manageable few hundred dollars. While we can reasonably estimate the amount of internal contributions, support from the AMS Student Assistants and Travel Grant Programs is not known until well after reservations and registrations are made, so that travel, lodging, and registration discounts can be applied. This uncertainty is always a source of consternation because the department budget is not sufficient to absorb such a large fraction of encumbered costs should all the elements of support fail to materialize. However, with continued support from the Millersville University Department of Earth Science, Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, Student Senate, MU-AMS Chapter, and our students, we remain optimistic that we will see you in Seattle.


The American Meteorological Society offers three travel programs to students who wish to attend the AMS annual meetings, The Student Travel Grant program, The Student Assistant program, and The Global Change Scholarship program.

  • Student travel grants provides full travel support and is available for senior undergraduate and graduate students to attend an AMS annual meeting. Travel grants are awarded to students who will not be presenting a paper at the conference. The grants are available to members only, including student members, of the AMS. Students must complete the online application form to participate. The applications are submitted electronically. Recipients are selected by the program committee of that particular conference.
  • The Student Assistant Program provides partial travel support to students willing to assist AMS staff in administering the annual meetingCstudent assistants help with various tasks. Shifts are split so that students may attend sessions and visit the exhibit area. Students who are interested must be referred by their academic advisor. Student members are given preference. However, other candidates may also apply. Applications are available on line in pdf form. The selection of students is done in office.
  • AMS Global Change Scholarships provides full travel support and is offered to graduate students to attend the Symposium on Global Change and Climate Variations, as well as other conferences and events held at the meeting. Eligible candidates must be full-time graduate students, enrolled in a department of meteorology, atmospheric sciences, hydrology, earth, geophysical, or physical/chemical/biological sciences and must be sponsored by a faculty advisor in the department in which the student is doing graduate study. Preference is given to student members of AMS and cosponsoring societies. However, other candidates may also be selected if they demonstrate a strong interest. Applications are available on line in pdf form. Applications are reviewed by the Symposium Program Committee.
More detailed information for each program may be found in the program announcements at the AMS web site. Applications and information is always posted in mid-September. The deadline for each of the travel programs is in the month of November. All programs are available at the AMS web site: www.ametsoc.org (all applications available on line only either electronically or pdf form). If you have any questions, please direct them to Donna Fernandez at dfernand@ametsoc.org, or call 617-227-2426 x246.


A Testimonial to Local Chapters

The following is a testimonial by Wendy Schreiber-Abshire that was presented at the Local Town Hall Meeting at the 2003 Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California. Schreiber-Abshire has been a Denver-Boulder local chapter member since 1982 and an AMS member since 1983. She served as former chair of the Local Chapter Affairs Committee and is currently serving on the Board of Outreach and Precollege Education.

I want to thank Ken (Carey) and the Local Chapter Affairs Committee for inviting me to be here at this local town hall meeting. I am happy to share with you my perspective on how my involvement in AMS Local Chapters has lead to significant advancement throughout my career. When I was first extended the invitation, I dashed off a note from my heart spelling out the basis of the message I intended to share with you today. As the time for this talk grew near, I revisited what I had typed that day and I didn't really want to change a word so I am going to uncharacteristically read to you what I said about the role of local AMS chapters throughout my career.

I honestly believe that being an AMS student chapter officer at Metropolitan State College in Denver was a factor in my being hired for my first student assistant job at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Once having gotten my foot in the door at NCAR I have been able to establish what to this date has been a fantastic 20-year career fulfilling my nearly life-long plan to be a meteorologist.

Later, I had the good fortune to serve in several different officer positions in the Denver-Boulder Local AMS Chapter. As a result I benefited by meeting and befriending many other meteorologists and weather enthusiasts that I would have otherwise never had a chance to interact with. The opportunity for expanding one's professional contacts through local chapter involvement are enormous!

And finally, by becoming actively involved in leading my local chapter, the National AMS took note and I was invited to begin a whole new and incredibly rewarding aspect of my professional life by serving and even chairing national AMS committees. With each of these opportunities, I have received far more in return than I have given.

None of this would have happened if I had not been actively involved with my AMS local chapters. Did I mention that nearly every month I've had the added benefit of being exposed to a wide assortment of meteorological topics that I would have likely still not heard about if it weren't for attending monthly local chapter meetings? Yes, I admit that each time meeting night rolls around it is hard for me to commit my evening to attend the local chapter meeting because I miss my kids and I really want to be home. However, I usually "make" myself do so out of what I can best describe as professional obligation. The great news is that there has NEVER been a month when I was disappointed with my choice AFTER the meeting!

In short, my career, my professional contacts, and my entire relationship with the AMS are founded in my local chapter involvement.


BAMS, Vol. 84, No. 4 (April 2003)

The purpose of the Chapter Channel section is to provide a venue for presentation and discussion of news and activities that are important for and relevant to AMS local chapters. This article highlights local chapter activities that occurred during the 83rd Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California.

WOW! The 2003 AMS Annual Meeting was, by far, the best I've been to in terms of activities and events that highlighted and promoted chapter activities and events. I was impressed with the many creative ways that chapters positively impact their community. I am also absolutely overwhelmed at the energy, enthusiasm, and initiative of so many local chapters. It's your and other grass roots efforts that are paying off in big ways!

I very much appreciate the hard work of the local chapter affairs committee members that serve with me. This group includes, Jim Brey, Sherri Del Soldato, Jim Keeney, Marianne Hayes, Bruce Thomas, Jenny Dean, Mike Biggerstaff and, formerly, Ed Argenta, our at-large student member. These professionals from all walks of our career field are absolutely committed to helping local chapters succeed, and have been great fun to work with! Kelly Garvey and Keith Seitter, AMS staff members who work with us, have given us top-notch support and make our jobs so much easier! We tried some new things at this meeting that went very well, and you can expect new ideas for the 2004 meeting. I can say with great confidence that this past annual meeting was a very positive experience for local chapter members, the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC), and the AMS staff that support chapter activities.

To ensure we, the LCAC, can help local chapters as much as possible, we meet periodically throughout the year to discuss ideas and new initiatives. Our first meeting for the year was held in conjunction with the annual meeting in Long Beach on Monday, February 10th. We enjoyed time to share our experiences and accomplishments from this past year. Our articles published in the Bulletin of the AMS included highlights from the annual meeting and one on student chapter issues. In 2004 we plan to publish six articles in the Bulletin. During the year we convened by e-mail and conference calls to choose the winners of the third Local Chapter of the Year and Student Chapter of the Year awards. Kelly and Jenny deserve a lot of credit for all of the enhancements to the Local Chapter's web site! Kelly and Chris Pagliccia, AMS network administrator, provided timely information on how local chapter web sites could be hosted on the national AMS web server. We greatly expanded the use of e-mail to keep local chapters "connected" to each other and the national society. In fact, our committee sent twenty e-mails to regular and student local chapter officers informing them of upcoming activities, awards deadlines, and important information that could help them provide a value and service to not only their members but also their community. Jinny Nathans, the AMS librarian, offered to finish the long-awaited article on chapter records. We discussed ideas on how to better connect chapters with the national AMS and tie into the prediction theme for the 2004 annual meeting in Seattle. Finally, we resolved to integrate Local Chapters as much as possible with other efforts going on throughout our profession, and within the framework of outreach and inclusiveness as part of the AMS 10-year vision.

Our committee applauds those chapters that were able to submit an abstract about their chapter activities. These abstracts were published in the annual meeting program. Over sixteen chapters developed outstanding posters showing off their accomplishments, history, and future initiatives. Submitting these abstracts and developing chapter posters, a great tool to build a more cohesive chapter, also makes these chapters more competitive to receive the prestigious Local Chapter of the Year Award. Award applications, found on the Local Chapter Information section on the AMS web site (http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS), are due to AMS Headquarters by May 1, 2003.

On Tuesday, February 11th, LCAC, local chapter members, plus AMS headquarters staff, met in the Hyatt Regency for our annual breakfast meeting. Over 16 local chapters were represented, enjoying a scrumptious breakfast, and some great fellowship! Guests from the AMS staff included: Kelly Garvey, Manager, Marketing/Special Programs; Jinny Nathans, Archivist, AMS National Headquarters, Rick Rosen, outgoing AMS President; and Keith Seitter, AMS Deputy Executive Director. After LCAC Chair Ken Carey introduced committee and AMS staff members, it was time to recognize the top performing local chapters. Rick Rosen presented the 2002 Student Local Chapter of the Year Award to Texas A&M University student chapter, and the 2002 Local Chapter of the Year Award to the District of Columbia chapter. There were also great chapters who earned distinction as AMS Honor Roll winning chapters-Anchorage, Iowa State University, Houston, Lyndon State, Houston, Kansas City, West Central Florida, Purdue, and the University of Utah. All of these chapters deserve a WELL DONE! Each of the Honor Roll chapters provided examples of what accomplishments they were most proud of, and really encouraged all those who attended to continue their worthwhile efforts. Ken asked all chapters to continue sending in their meeting minutes to the Bulletin. While AMS won't be publishing the entire version, AMS will publish topics and themes from local chapter activities that may be of interest to all chapters. Ken reminded the group of the May 1st deadline for all applications for Chapter of the Year. To encourage participation in the award process, committee members handed out award applications to every person present at the breakfast. Kelly Garvey reminded everyone of the list serves for the regular chapters (amschapters@ametsoc.org), student chapters (amsstudentchapters@ametsoc.org), and local chapter administration amschap@ametsoc.org). Ken asked for each chapter to make sure that their chapter information on the AMS web site was up to date so that they would receive communications from AMS and the LCAC in a timely manner. To ensure student chapter issues were being addressed, Ken requested that the Texas A&M University chapter provide a volunteer who would join the LCAC. This chapter officer would serve for one year and be a part of all recommendations and decisions made by the LCAC. Ken also announced the approval for the formation of Pre-College AMS local chapters. These chapters are designed to encourage K-12 students, parents, and other interested adults to more formally join us in our common pursuit of increasing our awareness of atmospheric, oceanic, hydrologic, and related sciences.

As part of several new initiatives to focus recognition on local chapters, Ken first presented the first-ever brochure highlighting local chapter activities, history, and awards. Second, and occurring later that same day, the LCAC hosted a very successful lunchtime Interactive Town Hall Meeting. Approximately 50 people, including Rick Rosen, outgoing AMS President, Joe Friday, incoming AMS President, Susan Avery, the AMS President-elect (for 2004), and Robert Serafin and David Houghton, former AMS Presidents, attended this open forum intended to raise the awareness of local chapter activities to the national AMS. We had informative discussions on the characteristics of successful local chapters, ideas to partner with other organizations with similar goals and interests, and a very moving testimonial given by Wendy Abshire, former LCAC chair and member. Thanks to the Los Angeles AMS Chapter, local chapter officers were invited to a social get-together at the home of Rick Dickert, the LA Chapter secretary. Instead of the planned beach volleyball (go figure-it was rained out!), nearly 20 chapter officers and their guests were treated to a gorgeous view of the beach from Rick's home, and lots of good food, drink, and open discussion!

Ken highlighted several initiatives to foster and support the impact that local chapters can have on their members, national AMS, and community. First, we will continue to provide and share information that helps local chapters. We'll continue to expand the use of student and regular chapter e-mail. We want to continue to increase the communication between our committee and local chapters on issues and topics relevant to them. Our committee, with help from local chapter officers, will craft and publish articles in the Bulletin that are relevant to local chapters. Planned articles right now include ones focused on highlights from the annual meeting, chapter records, science fairs, student travel and scholarship opportunities (authored by the Millersville University Local Chapter), partnership with local museums (authored by the Houston local chapter), and Wendy's testimonial from our Town Hall meeting.

On behalf of all Local Chapter Affairs Committee members, thanks for all of the amazing things that you, as local chapter officers and members, do! You may not realize the tremendous and positive impact you have on those around you.---Ken Carey.

BAMS, Vol. 83, No. 7 (July 2002)

The purpose of this local chapter affairs column is to provide a venue for presentation and discussion of news and activities that are important for and relevant to AMS local chapters. This article highlights local chapter activities that occurred during the 82nd Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

I think I can say with great confidence that this past annual meeting was a very positive experience for local chapter members, the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC), and the AMS staff that support chapter activities so very well! Our week start off very well, as Wendy Abshire, outgoing LCAC chair, and Ken Carey, incoming LCAC chair, directly participated in the preparation for the first-ever AMS Student Conference! The conference attracted nearly 185 participants. Wendy and Ken provided feedback and recommendations on the content and makeup of the conference agenda. Wendy served as a chair of one of the sessions, while Ken arranged for government meteorologist to chair the session on government meteorological initiatives. In addition, many student chapter officers and members participated in the conference itself.

Many chapters submitted abstracts about their chapter activities. These abstracts were published in the annual meeting program. In addition, 23 chapters developed and displayed posters showing off their accomplishments, history, and future initiatives. Submitting these abstracts and developing chapter posters, a great tool to build a more cohesive chapter, also makes these chapters more competitive to receive the prestigious Local Chapter of the Year Award. Award applications, found on the Local Chapter Information section on the AMS web site (http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS), are due to AMS Headquarters by May 1, 2002.

The LCAC met on Monday, January 14th, to discuss ideas and map out activities designed to enhance AMS local chapter activities. Committee members include Mike Biggerstaff (Texas A&M Chapter), James Brey (Packerland Chapter), Ken Carey (District of Columbia Chapter), Jenny Dean (Metro Atlanta Chapter), Sherri Del Soldato (Northern Nevada Chapter), Marianne Hayes (Southeast Arizona Chapter), Jim Keeney, and Bruce Thomas (Kansas City Chapter). Committee initiatives will include publication of articles in the new BAMS relevant to local chapters, greater use of new e-mail list serves to keep student and regular local chapters in touch with important and fast-breaking issues and activities, and a Town Hall Meeting at the 2003 Annual Meeting in Long Beach.

On Tuesday, January 15th, LCAC, local chapter members, plus AMS headquarters staff, met in the Rosen Plaza Hotel for an annual breakfast meeting. Over 31 local chapters were represented, plus a large contingent from Howard University (some part of the District of Columbia chapter)! Guests from the AMS staff included: Kelly Garvey, Manager, Special Programs and Marketing; Jinny Nathans, Archivist, AMS National Headquarters, Rick Rosen, incoming AMS President; Jeff Rosenfeld, Chief Editor of BAMS; Bob Serafin, outgoing AMS President; and Keith Seitter, AMS Deputy Executive Director. After each of LCAC mmebers and AMS staff introduced themselves, LCAC Chair Ken Carey asked members from each table to say what chapter they represented. Jeff Rosenfeld, Chief Editor of BAMS, discussed the new January issue of BAMS with its restructured format for readability. Jeff encouraged chapters to continue sending in their meeting minutes. While AMS won't publish the entire version, Jeff and his staff will be publishing "nuggets" from chapter activities that may be of interest to all chapters.

LCAC Chair Ken Carey thanked the 18 chapters who submitted abstracts about their chapter activities, and congratulated the 23 chapters for displaying posters that were very well done! Ken reviewed the Local Chapters web page and told everyone present that the LCAC is seeking ideas to enhance the look and content of the web page that would benefit local chapters. Ken asked anyone who had ideas to contact Kelly via the e-mail alias amschaps@ametsoc.org. Committee member Jenny Dean will be spearheading work on this and asked for local chapter members to provide her suggestions and feedback. The highlight of the meeting was recognition of chapter of the year award and honor role winners. The AMS Chapter of the Year Banner was presented to the Houston Chapter for their continued demonstration of a tremendous commitment to serving their membership, their community, and the AMS. Chapter President Doris Rotzoll and last year's chapter President Lew Fincher accepted the award. The AMS Student Chapter of the Year Banner was presented to Lyndon State College. President Jason Furtado accepted the award on his chapter member's behalf. The chapter was honored for the second year in a row as their outstanding efforts that positively affect not only their chapter but also all of AMS chapters. Chapter Honor Roll status was bestowed upon the following top performing regular and student chapters: West Central Florida, Greater St. Louis, Chicago, and Anchorage; University of Utah, Iowa State, and Purdue. Each chapter representative offered the audience their most noteworthy accomplishment. Congratulations!

Ken reminded the group of the May 1st deadline for all applications for Chapter of the Year. To encourage participation in the award process, committee members handed out award applications to every person present at the breakfast. Kelly Garvey reminded everyone of the list serves for the regular chapters (amschapters@ametsoc.org), student chapters (amsstudentchapters@ametsoc.org), and local chapter administration amschaps@ametsoc.org). Participants were reminded to update the Chapter officer's emails in their Chapter list. Pending approval from the Executive Committee, Ken recommended that a chapter officer from the Student Chapter of the Year be added to the Local Chapter Affairs Committee. This chapter officer would serve for one year and be a part of all recommendations and decisions made by the LCAC. Ken asked Jason Furtado, President of the Lyndon State Student Chapter, to let him know whom he would like to nominate to serve for through January 2003. Ken presented several items to Wendy Abshire to recognize her outstanding performance as LCAC member and chair. Ken asked AMS Bob Serafin to join him while presenting a personal letter from him, as incoming LCAC chair, lauding her service over the last seven years. Ken then presented Wendy a Certificate of Achievement on behalf of the entire AMS staff thanking her for her tremendous service to local chapters.

Finally, Ken offered her a personal gift from the entire committee, thanking Wendy for her leadership and friendship. Ken introduced a proposed Town Hall Meeting for the next annual conference (2003 in Long Beach, CA). It would have a local chapter focus and possibly include topics such as a mentoring program to students from the AMS and other professional groups, local chapter concerns and interests, and promotion of local to national membership. Ken highlighted several other initiatives to continue support for local chapters and enhance interaction between local chapters and the national headquarters. First, we will continue to submit articles to the BAMS on issues relevant to local chapters that enhances their ability to positively impact their members, community, and our Society. Planned articles right now include ones focused on highlights from the annual meeting, student chapters, chapter records, K-13 education, and AMS local chapter web site enhancement/redesign. Second, we will make greater use of the regular and student local chapter e-mail list serves to keep chapters informed on important and fast-breaking news and activities. Third, we will investigate the feasibility of enhancing awareness of the availability of guest speakers for local chapters. Ken requested members to consider being active on the Local Chapter Affairs Committee. Two key committee members, Sherri Del Soldato and Mike Biggerstaff, will complete their terms this year. Interested members were to contact either Ken or Kelly. After the meeting Ken received an overwhelming response to join the committee, receiving 7 business cards from people interested in being a part of our group-WOW!

On behalf of all Local Chapter Affairs Committee members, thanks for all of the amazing things that local chapter do! You may not realize the tremendous and positive impact you have only chapter members, our communities, and our great Nation.---Ken Carey.

BAMS, Vol. 83, No. 4 (April 2002)

Student Chapters of the AMS: A Perspective

BAMS, Vol. 82, No. 12 (December 2001)

The purpose of the local chapter affairs column is to provide news of issues and events relevant to local AMS chapters. This article summarizes some of the many community education efforts conducted by local AMS chapters nationwide and provides rationale for starting similar programs (if you haven't already).

During August 2001, the AMS Local Chapter Affairs Committee assisted Roberta Johnson of the AMS Education Advisory Committee in surveying all AMS local chapters regarding education programs conducted at the local level. This was done as a part of a broader effort by the AMS Education Advisory Committee to develop a comprehensive picture of the range of activities underway throughout the AMS.

Chapter officers were asked via e-mail to respond on behalf of their chapters to the following questions:

Chapter name?
Program name?
Frame of reference (brief explanation)?
Who's in charge?
Extent of members' participation?
Cost of program?
Funding source(s)?
Measures of impact (who or how many benefit/have benefited?)
When will funding expire?

A total of thirty-three local chapters submitted a completed survey representing approximately a 30% response rate. While this is only a subset of all local chapters nationwide, I believe the detailed responses that were received are an excellent representation of the scope of education activities conducted by most local chapters. I would like to thank all the chapters that did respond. Your input was greatly appreciated and will contribute to a well-rounded report by the AMS Education Advisory Committee.

So what are local chapters doing? There are simply too many shining examples of individual chapter achievements in the area of community outreach and education to share them all in this column. The input totaled over twenty-three pages! However, I will try to share the range of activities represented by the reports from the responding local chapters.

By far and away the one activity that nearly all respondents participate in is support, judging and presentation of awards at local science fairs. This is a long-standing tradition within the AMS and it is good to know that it is alive and well. Many chapters are also involved with one or more national AMS education activities such as reviewing AMS minority scholarship applications, participating in Project DataStreme and Project Atmosphere, as well as the new Water in the Earth System program. Another activity submitted by more than one chapter was the generous donation of books, weather instruments and NOAA weather radios to local schools. Some local chapters are even actively involved in conducting local conferences/workshops and collaborating with other programs including NASA and NSF. The WWW is a common outreach tool where chapters invest a lot of energy in maintaining and updating science information for their local community. Special attention is often given to providing resources and support for local science teachers. Some of the unique activities done only by a few chapters include awarding their own locally funded scholarships, arranging for students to job shadow meteorologists at work and/or attend workplace tours, holding student scientific paper competitions, conducting career nights and job fairs for students, and regularly providing speakers to other public organizations and schools.

It is hoped that by sharing this information, AMS members and other local chapters will gather some new ideas that perhaps they haven't considered in the area of community education and outreach. The national AMS has as part of its current 10-Year Vision Statement the goal of increasing outreach beyond the science community. The goal specifically states, "The AMS must place greater emphasis upon reaching out to the broad spectrum of our public. We must pay great attention to having a positive impact on public policy. This implies that the AMS should have more activities and outreach directed to decision makers, as well as the generating grass-roots public support through education of the public." Local chapters have a critical role in interacting with, educating, and fostering a love of science and the earth-atmosphere system at the local level. By choosing to engage in local community education they can provide a key component of outreach to schools, the general public, other professions, and local governments to mention a few.

Again, thank you for all you already do! Should your chapter choose to endeavor in to new educational outreach activities remember two things, 1) there may be some advice that other local chapters can offer you and 2) the goals of the society are behind you!-Wendy Schreiber-Abshire, local chapter affairs committee.

BAMS, Vol. 82, No. 6 (June 2001)

The year 2000 was a year full of elections, and the local chapters of the AMS were among those busy choosing their officers.

Why hold elections within a local chapter? The best answer may be to participate in all the benefits one's professional organization has to offer. The election of officers for your chapter assures the continuance of an AMS presence in the chapter's geographic area.

Local chapters are the lifeblood of the AMS, creating a forum where like-minded people in meteorology and related fields can gather-both professionally and socially-to learn and exchange ideas.

It can be difficult, however, to bring a group together and get enthusiastic participants to spearhead a committee. An informal survey taken at the recent AMS Annual Meeting revealed an almost unanimous difficulty in getting members to volunteer to be officers for a year. Finding enthusiastic people to serve as local chapter officers can be challenging, especially since the position is voluntary.

Whatever the situation, it is possible to expand the list of "eligible" members who may serve as chapter officers. A good place to start is the Chapter Officers' Handbook-a helpful guide to organizing a chapter and tapping into both national and local resources. The handbook can be found on the AMS Web page (http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS/) under "Local Chapter Information."

The following suggestions may help a chapter discover the dynamic leadership hidden in their membership list:

  • Know the membership. In every chapter there are people who like to volunteer, who always have ideas, and who enjoy being involved and making a difference. Chapters can tap into this reserve by encouraging their ideas, actively soliciting their contributions, and asking them to head a committee to accomplish their ideas. Chapters should support their ideas with funds and put them in touch with others who have similar ideas. People like this bring vitality to the chapter and are potential leaders of the organization.

  • Educate the membership. Does everyone know how to become a chapter officer? What are the particular responsibilities of each position? Does the secretary know that meeting minutes need to be submitted to the Manager of Marketing/Special Programs at AMS Headquarters on a regular basis (and do they know this is part of the consideration for the Local Chapter of the Year Award)? Is an enthusiastic local member and potential officer not a national member? If no, why not? Maybe a member would like to be an officer and is reluctant because they are unaware of what it entails. Chapters should help members like these or risk losing a valuable contribution.

  • Clarify election procedures. If they are always drawn from the same pool of members, chapter officers already know how the chapter elections are run. Chapters need to make sure their entire membership knows the process and should start recruiting potential officers a few months before the end of May. Elections must be held in April and May, with results submitted to AMS Headquarters by 1 June. The AMS Local Chapter "year" runs from June to May, not January to January or September to May.

  • Be creative and adapt to the unique needs of the membership when holding an election. Whether the membership is concentrated in one town or scattered throughout several counties, to encourage active interest and participation in the chapter election the information must be spread effectively. Notes in the chapter newsletter, announcements on the chapter Web site, and chapter-wide e-mail are among the ways to alert members about the annual elections. The Smokey Mountains Chapter draws from a diverse and geographically scattered membership. Prior to the annual election in May, the biographies of the nominees are e-mailed to the membership. Voting is also done electronically as the members send in their e-mail ballots by the election deadline. The student chapter at the University of Oklahoma (OU) has each nominee give a short speech before the ballots are cast, and the student chapter at North Carolina State University posts the ballot for several weeks before the election so all members are aware of who is being nominated.

  • Are the chapter officers representative of the entire chapter? Rotating positions through the same group of people each year could create chapter stagnation. Chapters should seek out new members and ask them to volunteer, or check with members who have not been active recently and see if they would like to become involved again. A balance of interests-private sector, academic, broadcasting-can bring fresh ideas to the executive council or planning committee of a chapter. Some student chapters have representatives from the various classes. At OU, the second-oldest student chapter, membership has been increased from eight just a few years ago to over 100 today. Consequently, in addition to the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer, there are representatives from the graduate school and each of the classes. Depending on the freshman class size, there might be one to three representatives on the executive council.

  • Communicate. Does everyone know when the meetings are? Are the present members aware of all the benefits that an AMS membership brings? Happy members are more likely to talk about the meetings and speakers and to encourage like-minded friends and fellow professionals to attend the next meeting. Members who attend a majority of the meetings could be approached and encouraged to become more proactive in chapter affairs. It is important to talk about the chapter leadership positions (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer) and their responsibilities during chapter meetings.
The above are just a few of the many possible ideas to invigorate chapter elections, motivate the membership, and tap those hidden talents. Chapters should make every effort to elect officers who are enthusiastic and have something to offer the organization.

Chapters looking for dynamic leadership and a strong membership are challenged to find a talented pool of individuals. Some chapters are blessed with a small group of people who are consistently active and vocal, while others have members who need to be cajoled and motivated on an annual basis. Serving as a chapter officer involves some time in planning meetings, contacting speakers, finding a location, and organizing a fun and informative program, but it is well worth the effort.-Jenny Dean, local chapter affairs committee.

BAMS, Vol. 82, No. 4 (April 2001)

The purpose of the local chapter affairs column is to provide news of issues and events relevant to local AMS chapters. This article recounts local chapter activities that occurred during the 81tst Annual Meeting of the AMS in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This past annual meeting was a successful, productive and rewarding time for local chapter representatives and the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC). Perhaps the most visible local chapter presence was the increased participation in both the chapter abstracts published in the AMS Annual Meeting Program and the local chapter posters on display throughout the weeklong conference. Participation in both these opportunities reached a new high with 20 chapters displaying posters and 21 chapters publishing abstracts. Numerous attendees commented on the quality and variety of local chapter activities that were highlighted via both these mechanisms. This year for the first time the LCAC also displayed a poster. Congratulations to all who participated! It is the LCAC's goal that next year in Orlando, poster and abstract participation will reach at least 30 participants which would represent one-third of all the currently active local AMS chapters. Remember, even if you have no local chapter member attending the meeting to display a poster, you can still easily submit an abstract for the Program. The LCAC views participation in both of these activities favorably when reviewing applications for the Chapter of the Year awards.

On Monday, 15 January 2001 LCAC members met in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The meeting began by recognizing former member Wayne McCollum for his service to the committee and welcoming new member Jenny Dean. The committee reviewed its accomplishments during the past year, which included publishing four columns in the Bulletin and processing and administering the first ever Chapter of the Year awards! The committee also planned Local Chapter Affairs Column articles for the coming year which will include an article specifically targeted at student chapter issues, another elucidating the many benefits associated with National AMS membership including associate membership, and yet another discussing recruitment of new officers and other annual election issues.

Early Tuesday, 16 January 2001, approximately 50 people representing 30 chapters and AMS headquarters gathered for breakfast and an information exchange at the Doubletree Hotel. Committee chair Wendy Schreiber-Abshire facilitated the meeting and introduced other LCAC members in attendance: Jim Keeney, Sherri Del Soldato, Maj. Ken Carey, and Jenny Dean. Headquarters advisor to the committee, Dr. Keith Seitter, and outgoing and incoming AMS presidents Dr. Jeff Kimple and Dr. Bob Serafin also addressed the gathering.

The highlight of the breakfast meeting was honoring chapters achieving honor roll status and the presentation of the Local Chapter of the Year awards. The following nine chapters were awarded to the local chapter honor roll: Arkansas, Houston, Kansas City, North Dakota, Plymouth State, Texas A&M, Twin Cities, West Central Florida, and West Texas. Congratulations! The regular chapter of the year for 1999-2000 was the Omaha-Offutt chapter, and the student chapter of the year award went to the Lyndon State College chapter. Each was presented with an impressive banner and certificates for each of the officers who served during that time. The two minimum requirements to be eligible for the awards were recounted to those in attendance. They are that 1) the president or chair of the chapter must be a national AMS member and 2) that chapter election results must be submitted to the AMS. A new criterion just added by the LCAC was also mentioned. In the future, applicants must have submitted their meeting minutes for publication in the Bulletin in a regular and timely fashion during the evaluation period for local chapter of the year applicants to be considered for chapter honor roll.

By a show of hands of those in attendance, it was apparent that use of the Local Chapter link on the AMS Web page at http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS was up over the previous year. If you are not already doing so, it is recommended you make use of the information provided there. You can access information on starting a chapter, borrowing taped lectures from the video lending library, submitting chapter meeting minutes and election results, and much more. The importance of submitting chapter election results every year by 1 June was also discussed. Even if the election results are the re-appointment of the current officers, it is important to let AMS headquarters know so they don't assume the chapter has become inactive.

The last LCAC function during the annual meeting was the fourth annual student-mentoring luncheon held Thursday, 18 January 2001. Approximately twenty-five students joined eleven mentors and AMS staff representing various career paths in the atmospheric sciences. The professionals in attendance were Bruce Thomas, Deirdre Kann, Robin Marshment, Bob Davis, David Homan, Maj. Ken Carey, Jenny Dean, Keith Seitter, and Wendy Schreiber-Abshire. New AMS president Bob Serafin and president-elect Rick Rosen also spent a portion of the lunch meeting visiting with student attendees. The purpose of the annual luncheon is to provide the hardworking local chapter student officers serving as annual meeting volunteers with an opportunity to meet one-on-one with professionals working in various aspects of our field. Students and mentors alike continue to greatly appreciate and enjoy this annual activity.

The AMS and the LCAC thank everyone for all the amazing work that numerous volunteers do on a year round basis via local chapter initiatives. Please watch your mailboxes for mailings from AMS headquarters during the coming year. They contain important information including local chapter of the year applications and information on all the activities to be held during the 82nd annual AMS meeting. Next year please either continue to participate or consider having a representative of your chapter attend some or all of these exciting activities during the annual meeting in Orlando. See you there!-Wendy Schreiber-Abshire.

BAMS, Vol. 81, No. 12 (December 2000)

Local chapters are provided with poster space each year at the AMS Annual Meeting. This is an excellent opportunity for chapters to showcase their annual activities. However, very few chapters have been represented at previous national conferences. This article addresses the abstract and poster submission process. The most important aspect to remember is that all local chapter posters are eagerly accepted, even up to the conference dates.

The first step toward preparing your chapter's poster for the 2001 AMS Annual Conference is the abstract submission. Chapter abstracts are due at AMS National Headquarters by November. The abstracts are then published in the conference program. Abstracts are normally only a paragraph in length. Your abstract provides conference attendees with a brief synopsis of local chapter activities and perhaps a brief chapter history.

Once the abstract has been submitted to AMS Headquarters, it is time to prepare your chapter poster. As a chapter officer or even a member, deciding how to represent your chapter to over 3,000 attendees can be a tremendous challenge. Here are some helpful suggestions for creating your chapter poster:
  1. Pick a committee or individual to direct the poster creation.
  2. Gather chapter photographs, meeting minutes, meeting announcements, etc.
  3. Create a poster outline. How do you want your chapter represented at the Annual Meeting?
  4. Assess the software and equipment available to create this poster. There are many ways to create your poster. Remember, your poster is not judged on artistic ability or content. The Local Chapter Affairs Committee simply wants to see your chapter represented.
  5. Create a poster that you and your chapter believe best represents its chapter, community and national AMS contributions.
Referring to suggestion 4, the chapter poster can be as simple or complex as local capabilities allow. A more basic poster may only require some photographs and a word processing program. Many chapters have used this method to create outstanding poster presentations. Newspaper articles and local chapter meeting announcements help portray community and chapter involvement. Photographs taken at meetings, chapter functions and science fairs present conference attendees with a visual representation of what your chapter has done during the past year.

If your chapter is fortunate enough to have more sophisticated technology available, then the chapter poster creation process can become a creative experience. Scanners, graphic software and poster printers can increase your chapter's visual capabilities. However, keep in mind that your poster is limited to a 4'x 8' area. In addition, these large graphical posters take substantial computer storage space. Should your chapter decide the graphic phenomenon is the poster for you, ensure that someone knows how the graphics software works. Otherwise, the technical poster may become frustrating and extremely time consuming. For chapters that have the graphic software, but not the poster printer, poster-printing services are available at area print shops. Make certain you check printing constraints before the poster is created on the computer.

The final submission step is actually displaying the poster at the conference. Any chapter member can display the chapter poster at the meeting. In fact, if a local chapter member is unable to attend the conference anyone in the chapter area that is attending the conference can display the poster. Individuals are not required to perform poster presentations. There are peak viewing times when chapter member participation is recommended, but this is not required.

One extremely important aspect to remember as your chapter decides whether to present a poster this year, is that your chapter's participation at the national conference can be the deciding factor for the Local Chapter and Student Chapter of the Year Awards. The Local Chapter Affairs Committee encourages your chapter's participation this year. We look forward to seeing you and your posters in Albuquerque.-Sherri L. Del Soldato.

BAMS, Vol. 81, No. 8 (August 2000)

The purpose of the local chapter affairs column continues to be providing a vehicle for sharing information relevant to local AMS chapters. This article shares a Local Chapter Officer's perspective on the essentials of creating a great local AMS chapter.

Teamwork is the Key! Create a vibrant and healthy chapter environment by putting the needs and goals of your chapter membership ahead of your personal desires and wishes for the chapter. If you're a chapter officer, encourage a get-together with the other chapter officers before the chapter year begins to develop a unique game plan for your chapter and to foster a positive chapter officer climate. Ask the national AMS headquarters, other chapter officers, and a few people in your area for their advice and opinions. Once the officers have formulated their ideas, find a way to bounce it off your chapter members. A survey is one way to get their ideas so you can incorporate chapter member feedback. The October 1997 Bulletin of the AMS (BAMS) contains an excellent local chapter affairs article on tips on conducting surveys. This article is also available under the local chapter link on the AMS homepage, and is part of the Local Chapter Officer's Handbook. Another way to get member buy-in is to outline the proposed chapter schedule via e-mail, your web page, or in person, and incorporate ideas and changes you receive. If you're a chapter member, provide constructive ideas and suggestions to your chapter officers, and help them achieve success! Consider joining forces for a complementary activity with the local Astronomical Society (Packerland chapter) or team up with the local National Weather Association chapter (Omaha-Offutt chapter). Throughout the year, consider new ways to rejuvenate chapter participation.

Activity Diversity. Each local chapter is unique. Find activities that best match the commitment and desires of your membership. Every chapter has a varying amount of talent right at your fingertips! Potential speakers can be drawn from the local community, scientists visiting the area, and the chapter membership. Many industries and utility companies have speaker's bureaus and/or frequently give tours of their facilities. Every community likely has an emergency manager who could explain preparations and planning for weather-related disasters. Every chapter probably has at least one "computer whiz" who could demonstrate the different weather information that can be found on the Internet. Hosting a conference or symposia is excellent; however, because it requires lots of work, your chapter must strongly support it and be committed to its success!

Other chapter guest speakers have included a representative from a local power company (Central North Carolina); a representative from a state highway department who discussed snow removal (Puget Sound and Omaha-Offutt); a representative from the International Ice Patrol--which was established after the sinking of the Titanic (NYC/Long Island); and a representative from the National Science Teachers' Association (Denver/Boulder). Other possibilities include the sponsorship of an Explorer Post (Omaha-Offutt); staffing a weather booth at the science museum (Kansas City), the donation of weather instruments to local schools (Arkansas), a weather trivia contest (Wright Memorial); participation in highway trash pickup (Oklahoma); acknowledgment of local individuals and groups through a chapter award program (Metropolitan Atlanta), and sponsorship of a high school scholarship (Omaha-Offutt). Several chapters organize and conduct local conferences and workshops (High Plains, Puget Sound and Wright Memorial). Consider these creative ideas too! Take a tour of a baseball stadium and find out how they get their weather information (Denver-Boulder), visit a science museum (Chicago) to enhance your historical perspective, or take a tour of a water management district facility (North Texas) to broaden your knowledge of how your community works. The Los Angeles chapter holds an annual pot luck dinner with members bringing videos and photos to share, while the University of Nebraska chapter has an annual picnic. Go storm chasing with the Greater Milwaukee chapter! Check local theaters for weather-related movies. Some chapters invite the winners of the local science fairs to give their presentations to the chapter. The Palmetto chapter hosts an annual mini-technical conference over a weekend, inviting members from neighboring chapters to participate. Other possibilities include recognizing a "Member of the Year" with a plaque or similar award, often at an annual banquet, or holding chapter contests with some fun weather-related paraphernalia as the prize. Contests could involve weather photography, date of first snowfall, first day over 100 degrees, first freeze, or something else that is appropriate for the area. Showcase the talents of your own chapter members with a "Members Night".

Public Relations, Marketing, and Communication. Everyone is very busy, so why should someone join and be a part of your chapter? Your challenge is to link the Society's objectives with the needs and desires of your local chapter members. Get out and market your planned activities! Chapter officers should enthusiastically communicate their vision and objectives for their chapter. Leverage the Internet and local newspaper, radio, and television outlets to get your activities publicized. A chapter newsletter is a great way to publicize your events and spread useful information. Chapter events should improve chapter member knowledge of the atmospheric sciences and the relationship with and impacts on community customers, research or forecasting activities. Enthusiasm and ability to articulate your chapter initiatives that bring your atmospheric science community closer together are far more important to a chapter's vibrancy and health than anything else. After setting up your next meeting, it is just as important to provide plenty of advance notice of your meeting dates. Use of variety of ways to publicize chapter activities; e-mail, links to web sites, and colorful flyers are a few options. At the beginning of the year, consider a mass mailing to current and other possible chapter members with proposed chapter activities and a survey with a stamped return envelope to reenergize participation. The AMS headquarters can provide a list of national members' names and addresses and as discussed below will even pay for the cost of one mass mailing a year per chapter. You could then send a personalized letter inviting them to join local chapter activities. Consider door prizes to liven participation, and nametags to foster group cohesion and fellowship.

Outreach to Your Chapter Members and Community. Your goal should be to provide value to your members and community. Local chapters are the AMS's representative and link in each of our communities. Treat each chapter meeting and activity as an opportunity to educate each other, foster life-long professional and personal relationships, and provide a valued service to your community. Consider sponsoring a forum to educate teachers and other educators about the atmospheric sciences and to motivate their desire to teach their students about meteorology and it's relationship and importance to the world around them. Don't forget to meet needs in your community. Sponsor a scholarship for top performers in school, a blood drive to help meet local and regional needs, seize opportunities to mentor local teenagers, provide weather radios to local schools, spearhead a banquet for top school performers, or learn how airport authorities use and the importance of timely an accurate weather forecasts. Your only limitation is your imagination and ingenuity!

Leverage the Vast Resources of the AMS Headquarters. The AMS Headquarters has a tremendous array of information to assist local chapters. The AMS's Local Chapter web site, http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS, has a wealth of information to assist local chapters. Noteworthy items in this web site include: a Local Chapter Officer's Handbook, which summarizes essential information concerning the Society and local chapters; the names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses of important contacts at AMS Headquarters, and a section on program ideas for local chapters; a directory of every AMS local chapter and student chapter, which includes telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for chapter officers; and information about chapter news or activities that could be helpful to other chapters. The best part of the AMS Headquarters help is someone dedicated to serve chapter needs. Ms. Kelly Garvey serves as the local chapter point of contact at AMS Headquarters. She can be reached at Marketing/Special Programs Manager, American Meteorological Society, 45 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-3693; telephone: 617-227-2426, ext. 215; fax: 617-742-8718; e-mail: kgarvey@ametsoc.org. AMS Headquarters will also support one mailing per chapter per year to all AMS members in the local chapter's area. The BAMS has a section on Chapter News dedicated to local chapter activities and events. In addition, specific articles designed to enhance chapter activities are provided and authored by the AMS's Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC). To help recognize outstanding local chapters, the AMS Council has just recently approved an award for Local Chapter of the Year and Student Chapter of the Year. Nomination packages will be due by 1 May of each year to the AMS Headquarters Local Chapter Affairs representative. At the AMS annual meeting, local chapters are afforded several opportunities to display their initiatives, to meet other chapter officers, and to meet with professionals in our field. Local chapters are provided a highly visible space to display posters or other information about their chapter to the annual meeting participants. The LCAC sponsors a breakfast for local chapters to facilitate an exchange of ideas. Later during the week, the LCAC also holds the popular Student Mentors Luncheon that provides an opportunity for atmospheric science students to meet with and discuss career opportunities with weather professionals. If you are not involved in a local chapter, maybe it's time to look into what you are missing!-Major Ken Carey.

BAMS, Vol. 81, No. 4 (April 2000)

The purpose of the local chapter affairs column continues to be providing news of issues and events relevant to local AMS chapters. This article recounts pertinent events that occurred during the 80th AMS Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California.

Once again the Annual Meeting was a busy and productive time for local chapter representatives and the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC). On Monday, 10 January LCAC members met in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The committee thanked Richard Petersen for his service to the committee and welcomed new members Kenneth Carey and Mike Biggerstaff.

The committee reviewed its accomplishments during the past year, which included publishing two columns in the Bulletin, surveying local chapters to find out about chapter- sponsored scholarships, succeeding in having the AMS headquarters video produced, and, most significantly, gaining AMS Council approval to institute "Local AMS Chapter of the Year Awards" for both regular and student chapters. The committee also planned "Local Chapter Affairs Column" articles for the coming year that will address topics such as the new "Local Chapter of the Year Awards," tips for creating a chapter poster for display at the Annual Meeting, lessons learned (both good and bad) by other local chapters, and an article specifically targeted at student chapters. The majority of the meeting time was spent revising the draft application for the "Chapter of the Year Awards." Stay tuned for more information about applying for these new well-deserved awards!

On Tuesday, 11 January, approximately 50 people representing 30 chapters and AMS headquarters gathered for breakfast and an information exchange at the Westin Hotel.

Committee chair Wendy Schreiber-Abshire facilitated the meeting and introduced other LCAC members in attendance: Wayne McCollum, Jim Keeney, Sherri Del Soldato, and Ken Carey. The AMS Headquarter local chapter contact, Kelly Garvey, and Keith Seitter, were also introduced.

During the meeting it became apparent that only about half of the attendees have visited the AMS Web site, which includes a link to all the local chapter support information and documents. If your chapter and/or chapter officers are not using this resource, please give it a try. The Web site may be accessed from the local chapter link on http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS. At this site you will find information on starting a chapter, borrowing taped lectures from the video lending library, submitting chapter meeting minutes and election results, and much more. You can even download a routinely updated version of the Local Chapter Officer's Handbook. Garvey stressed the importance of submitting chapter election results every year by 1 June. Even if the election results are the reappointment of the current officers, it is important to let AMS headquarters know so they do not assume the chapter has become inactive.

Of course the newly established "Local Chapter and Student Chapter of the Year Awards" were also discussed at the meeting. A majority of the attendees unfortunately were not aware that these awards were being established despite mailings about the process from the AMS. It will be especially important for local chapter officers to watch for and read mail from the AMS headquarters during the coming year so they can receive all the information about these awards as well as other AMS and LCAC activities. The scope of the application for the awards was covered as well as the two minimum requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for the awards. They are that 1) the president or chair of the chapter must be a national AMS member and 2) chapter election results must be submitted to the AMS.

The meeting concluded with a viewing of the newly produced 30-minute video A Video Tour of the AMS Headquarters/Meet the AMS Staff. A copy of this informative, professional, very interesting video was mailed to each local chapter in January 2000. Each chapter should have received one copy. If you have not received one, please contact Kelly Garvey at 617-227-2426 ext. 215 or kgarvey@ametsoc.org. This video provides wonderful insight into the staff, functions, and facilities of AMS and would make an excellent basis for a local chapter meeting. The committee is very interested in your comments about and experiences with the video. You can send your comments about this or any other issue via e-mail to amschaff@ametsoc.org.

The last LCAC function during the Annual Meeting was the third annual student-mentoring luncheon held Thursday, 13 January. Approximately 35 students joined nine mentors and AMS staff representing various career paths in the atmospheric sciences. The professionals in attendance were Sherri Del Soldato, Ken Carey, Bernard Meisner, Joe Cassmassi, Jenny Dean, Dejan Ristic, Keith Seitter, Kelly Garvey, and Wendy Schreiber- Abshire. The purpose of the annual two-hour luncheon is to provide the hardworking student volunteers, who greatly facilitate the Annual Meeting, with an opportunity to visit one-on-one with professionals working in various aspects of our field. Students and mentors alike continue to greatly appreciate and enjoy this annual activity.

In conclusion, local chapter activities were also evident via the chapter abstracts published in the Annual Meeting Program, which is given to every registered attendee, and by the local chapter posters on display throughout the weeklong conference. Participation in these opportunities was up over the previous year, with 14 chapters taking advantage of the opportunity to display posters and 11 chapters publishing abstracts recounting their activities during the previous year. As committee chair I would like to strongly encourage even more chapters to participate in the Annual Meeting in this manner at next year's meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With approximately 30 chapters typically participating in the annual local chapter breakfast meeting, it is the LCAC's hope to have at least that many posters and abstracts at the Annual Meeting. This participation goal is still less than one-third of all the currently active local AMS chapters. Remember, if you have no local chapter member attending to display a poster, you can still submit an abstract for the program. Again, watch your mail and this column in the Bulletin during the coming year for tips on creating a poster and other information about the 81st AMS Annual Meeting. The LCAC will view participation in both of these activities favorably when reviewing applications for the "Chapter of the Year Awards."

The AMS and the LCAC thank everyone for all the great work that goes on year round due to local chapter initiatives. Next year consider having a chapter representative participate in some or all of these activities and during the next Annual Meeting as well. I'm sure they'll find the experience rewarding!-Wendy Schreiber-Abshire.

BAMS, Vol. 81, No. 4 (April 2000)

This installment of the local chapter affairs column shares exciting news about two newly established AMS awards initiated to formally recognize the outstanding efforts of AMS local chapters nationwide. Applications for these awards are due by 1 May. Read on to learn more.

The idea of establishing "Local Chapter of the Year Awards" was first discussed by the Local Chapter Affairs Committee (LCAC) during the AMS Annual Meeting in February 1997. Details of the awards process, criteria for judging chapter accomplishments, and the application form itself were iteratively prepared and in October 1999 the AMS Council approved "Local AMS Chapter of the Year Awards" for both regular and student chapters. In addition, the Council approved awarding other deserving chapters who apply for the "Chapter Honor Roll" status. Throughout the year, and at the Annual Meeting, winning chapters and chapters that earn the honor roll status will be recognized as such with special icons whenever they publish chapter news or are otherwise noted in AMS text and Web publications. These notations will stand for a period of one year, until the next awards are given.

The first awards will be given to one regular local chapter and one student chapter for the 1999-2000 chapter term for those activities conducted in the 11 months prior to May 2000. The awards will consist of a permanent cloth banner for the chapter to keep and display and certificates for each officer who served during the application period. There are two minimum requirements that must be met to be eligible for the awards. They are that 1) the president or chair of the chapter must be a national AMS member and 2) chapter election results must have been submitted to the AMS during the evaluation period. These requirements are necessary so that the local chapter is in good standing with the AMS and is in full communication with the AMS about local chapter issues. The winners will be notified in October and the awards will be presented to both the winning chapters at the local chapter breakfast meeting held during the following annual meeting. The first awards will be given at the 2001 AMS Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The application form for a chapter to nominate itself will have two portions. The first section contains a short informational area for chapters to indicate their officers, membership size, and number of meetings held during the evaluation period. This information will be used to put activities in context, but not to serve as criteria. The other section will allow the chapters to demonstrate the extent to which their chapter activities further the mission of the AMS. This will be accomplished via one-page written answers to the following questions.

1) In the past year, what has your chapter done for your members?
2) In the past year, what has your chapter done for your community?
(Questions 1 and 2 are not limited to activities of a scientific nature)

3) In the past year, what has your chapter done for the national AMS?

For question 3, activities that should be highlighted include, but are not limited to, regular submission of meeting minutes for publication in the Chapter News section of the Bulletin and displaying a chapter poster and abstract at the Annual Meeting that falls within the evaluation period. The human and material resources available to a chapter will be considered along with their accomplishments in the evaluation process.

Application forms for the "Chapter of the Year Awards" will be mailed to each chapter officer during the first week of March. Additionally, the application form will also be available for downloading from the AMS Web site at http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS under the local chapter information link. Any chapter member may fill out the application, but the chapter president or chair must sign the form prior to submission. The applications must be received at AMS Headquarters by 1 May. Late applications will not be considered. Because many chapters will be wrapping up their annual activities after this deadline, it will be acceptable to include in the application those significant chapter accomplishments that are expected in the last month prior to the election of new officers. This deadline was necessary to allow review committees adequate time to make their recommendations prior to regularly scheduled AMS committee meetings.

As both a former student chapter officer and local chapter officer I am very excited about the establishment of these awards. The LCAC and the Council believe that by giving these awards, the AMS will have a formal mechanism for acknowledging the vital role that local chapters have in carrying out the mission of the AMS. Additionally, over time these awards will provide positive reinforcement to many AMS members and weather enthusiasts who volunteer substantial time and energy to local chapters. As the LCAC chair I would like to strongly encourage chapters to take the small amount of time necessary to apply for these awards. It would truly be a shame if no applications were received during the first opportunity to present these awards to deserving local chapters at the 81st AMS Annual Meeting in Albuquerque. Remember, even if you do not win, sharing your chapter's accomplishments via the application process may very well earn your chapter honor roll status, a bragging right of its own.-Wendy Schreiber-Abshire.

BAMS, Vol. 81, No. 1 (January 2000)

Each fall most local chapters begin a new year after a summer hiatus. New officers begin planning the year's meetings, create strategies to increase membership, and maintain the current members' involvement. Maintaining enthusiasm and planning monthly (for some chapters) meeting agendas are challenges. Now imagine adding special events like a conference or a weather explorer post to the annual preparation. Many chapters find it difficult enough to elect new officers each year and maintain an active membership. However, some local chapters and their officers have ventured into projects that require extensive planning.

Several local chapters organize recurring activities or one-time special events. The events include conferences, mini workshops, job fairs, and annual picnics. In fact, the Omaha- Offut chapter sponsors the only known weather explorer post for young adults ages 14-20. The Houston chapter sponsored a job fair that required coordination with NASA, DOD, NWS, and other major organizations. Another example is the Golden Jubilee Symposium on Tornado Forecasting that the Oklahoma chapter organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first tornado forecast made at Tinker Air Force Base in 1948. These zealous chapters have proven that events or activities are possible, but not without a strong chapter commitment.

Often the actual planning process is rarely considered. Yet, no matter what activity a chapter considers, several dedicated individuals must pull the event together. Whether a chapter has experience producing a conference or is simply considering its first annual picnic, many questions need to be addressed prior to a chapter's commitment. Each event or activity will have different concerns, but general planning items will be addressed in this article.

As a chapter officer or member, the initial considerations are what the event's focus is and who will plan it. Will a committee be formed? Are only officers responsible to plan events that may increase a community's AMS awareness? No matter how these questions are answered, 5 to 10 individuals must commit to the planning and program success.

Once the organizational team has been established and the focus decided, it is time for logistics. The first question is whether the focus is local, national, or global. Heavy precipitation effects on an area drainage system may be a local concern; the new research techniques utilized to study the problem may draw international interest. Even a job fair could expand from a local affair to global acclaim by asking for NASA's participation. Make certain to set constraints early in the planning process. The participant numbers will dictate where the event is held or how long it will last.

Will registration fees be charged and how much? Where will speakers and attendees be accommodated? Are there enough hotel rooms for a large function? Are only guest speakers invited to present or will paper and poster presentations be solicited? What attendee types are expected? An important aspect is the participant and sponsoring community demographics. A weather explorer post may focus its efforts on youth weather education, while a flood conference could have emergency managers as a target audience. The last major hurdle is financial. A smaller chapter may not have the initial funds to support an extra activity. Planners need to consider whether an event has fund-raising potential, as well as prepare for financial loss. The event will need promotion through flyers, a Bulletin announcement, and other media resources. Of particular concern is whether food will be provided during the event. Even single-day symposiums often provide break refreshments and boxed lunches. In addition, conferences often supply preprints, writing utensils, paper, cloth bags, and other attendance momentos. Although participants enjoy the free items, each additional "gift" will subtract from the chapter's fund-raising potential.

This article by no means addresses all the details or questions that may occur while planning a special event. Each chapter will face unique challenges and successes. Most chapters have found the experience beneficial to the chapter and community, which have produced annual events.

Good luck with any chapter events, and should any questions or ideas arise, e-mail the Local Chapter Affairs Committee at amschaff@comet.ucar.edu.-Sherri A. Del Soldato.

BAMS, Vol. 80, No. 7 (July 1999)

The purpose of the local chapter affairs column, an ongoing feature of the Bulletin, is to provide a vehicle for news of issues and events relevant to local AMS chapters. This article recounts pertinent events that occurred during the 79th AMS Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

The week of 11-15 January 1999 was an active time for the AMS. Headquarters support of local AMS activities was never more evident than at this Annual Meeting. Once again local chapters were invited to display a poster in the entrance to the exhibit hall. Eleven chapters displayed posters about their chapter activities throughout the week in this highly visible location. AMS Headquarters also provided the opportunity for chapters to have a poster abstract printed in the Annual Meeting program. Unfortunately, only five of the 103 active chapters submitted an abstract. As chair of the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs I would like to strongly encourage wider participation in both of these activities at the 80th AMS Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California. Even if your chapter will not be able to send a representative to display a poster, please submit a simple one paragraph abstract for the program when you are invited to do so. If 50 chapters participate next year when invited to do so we will increase our participation tenfold. This is a tremendous opportunity to advertise your chapter and its activities to a large and diverse audience of meteorologists and weather enthusiasts.

On 11 January the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs met. We thanked Bernard Meisner for his leadership and dedication as committee chair for the past three years and welcomed two new members, Sherry Del Soldato and Jim Keeney. The 1999 AMS President, George Frederick, and AMS Executive Director Ron McPherson also attended the meeting. The primary focus of the meeting was to outline our activities for the coming year including the establishment of new AMS awards for both Chapter of the Year and Student Chapter of the Year. This process is well under way and we are hopeful that these awards will go forward.

Tuesday 12 January began with approximately 50 people representing 27 chapters gathering for a breakfast meeting. We discussed our goals, activities, and common challenges and reiterated the many avenues of support that AMS Headquarters provides to local chapters. A common theme that emerged from the discussion was the nearly universal difficulty of finding chapter officers and guest speakers. Yet all persons present expressed how they as active local chapter members found it a rewarding activity. I was personally impressed with the diversity of chapter activities beyond regular meetings including conferences, chapter scholarships, newsletters, regular forecasts for local media and school papers, contests, tours of all sorts, and many forms of community outreach. The attendees of this breakfast recommended that in addition to the Chapter of the Year awards that a chapter honor roll be established. This recommendation was included in the proposal put forth to the AMS Executive Council in spring 1999.

Acting on a request made by local chapter representatives at the previous Annual Meeting, the AMS staff arranged to professionally record keynote lectures given during the 1999 Annual Meeting. The tapes of these presentations are now available for loan to local chapters. Two lectures are currently available, including the 42-minute Walter Orr Roberts Memorial Lecture by Richard C. J. Somerville of the University of California, San Diego, speaking on "Can Climate Models Be Trusted?" and, from the Annual Meeting luncheon, James Fleming's 30-minute presentation "Why the History of Science is Important to Science." The purpose for making these tapes available is to not only share these exciting presentations, but also to help mitigate the difficulty in planning topics for local chapter meetings. If your chapter is interested in either of these tapes, contact Kelly Garvey at 617-227-2426 ext. 215, or kgarvey@ametsoc.org.

The final major activity of the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs during this Annual Meeting on 14 January was to host the second annual luncheon for student volunteers. Thirty students gathered with the committee members and special guests Major Ken Carey, John Honorae, Rose Auld-Miller, Kristine Kahanek, Mary Cairns, and representatives from AMS to discuss obtaining your first job in meteorology or a related science. Students listened and asked many questions as advice was dispensed. The importance of finding a career mentor was stressed by several of the speakers, and many of the students have already heeded their advice, staying in contact with some of the professional attendees. More than one student was overheard saying that the luncheon (where they were given direct access to professionals currently involved in a wide variety of scientific career paths) was the most valuable activity of the week for them. Needless to say, the third annual luncheon with a similar theme will be held in Long Beach next year.

As always, if you have any questions, ideas, or issues pertaining to either local AMS chapter activities, AMS headquarter support for local chapters, or the establishment of the Chapter of the Year award and the chapter honor roll, please e-mail the members of the Local Chapter Affairs Committee at amschaff@ametsoc.org. We would be happy to hear from you and are committed to facilitating local chapter activities as well as supporting the 10-year goals of the AMS.-Wendy Schreiber-Abshire.

BAMS, Vol. 79, No. 6 (June 1998)

The purpose of the Local Chapter Affairs column, an ongoing feature of the Bulletin, is to provide news and commentary from Headquarters and the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs. It is prepared by the current chair of the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs. The first column appeared in the July 1996 issue (see Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 1610-1611); the second appeared in the October 1996 issue (see Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 2354-2355); the third in the March 1997 issue (see Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 528-529); and the fourth in the October 1997 issue (see Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 2268-2269).

The 78th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society was an active time for the representatives of local AMS chapters who were in attendance. If you were in Phoenix maybe you noticed a blue "LC" (Local Chapter member) sticker on many attendees' name tags. Everyone who has indicated on their annual national dues form that they are a member of their local chapter automatically receives one of these stickers on their badges at every national AMS conference. This year, eleven local chapters presented poster exhibits during the Annual Meeting, sharing information about their membership and their past year's activities. Abstracts of the posters appeared in the Annual Meeting program.

Bright and early Tuesday morning 12 January, approximately 40 persons representing 29 local AMS local chapters gathered for the annual chapter breakfast meeting sponsored by the AMS. Keith Seitter, Associate AMS Director, and Kelly Garvey, manager of special programs and local chapters' focal point also attended. The theme of this year's breakfast was "Novel Chapter Activities," which are those activities in which chapters engage beyond the typical lecture/seminar meeting or trip to the local television station. Bernard N. Meisner, chairman of the Local Chapter Affairs Committee, led the meeting. He began by sharing the activities of the Local Chapter Affairs committee, and then each person at the meeting introduced him/herself, and shared a special achievement or highlight related to their local chapter.

Novel guest speakers included a representative from a local power company (Central North Carolina); a representative from a state highway department who discussed snow removal (Puget Sound); a representative from the International Ice Patrol--which was established after the sinking of the Titanic (NYC/Long Island); and a representative from the National Science Teachers' Association (Denver/Boulder). Novel activities included the sponsorship of an Explorer Post (Omaha- Offut); staffing a weather booth at the science museum (Kansas City), the donation of weather instruments to local schools (Arkansas), a weather trivia contest (Wright Memorial); participation in highway trash pickup (Oklahoma); and the acknowledgment of local individuals and groups through a chapter award program (Metropolitan Atlanta). Several chapters organize and conduct local conferences and workshops (High Plains, Puget Sound and Wright Memorial). Novel meeting ideas included a tour of a baseball stadium--how do they get their weather information (Denver-Boulder), a visit to a science museum (Chicago) and a tour of a water management district facility (North Texas).

All chapters are encouraged to submit reports of their meetings and activities for publication in the AMS Bulletin and for inclusion in the Local Chapter Officers' Handbook. During the breakfast meeting the chapter representatives expressed their support for establishing a "Chapter of the Year" award. Summaries of chapter activities published in the Local Chapter News section of the Bulletin would be important criteria used for such an award.

Everyone was reminded repeatedly that for the answer to any question or concern regarding local AMS chapters they should, "Call Kelly (Garvey)" at AMS headquarters.

The following day, members of the Local Chapter Affairs Committee took time out from attending conference sessions for a committee meeting. First, the committee discussed ideas for local chapter affairs articles to appear in the Bulletin during the coming year. A majority of the meeting was spent constructing input for a draft proposal to present to the Executive Council regarding the establishment of a yearly award recognizing the local chapter and local student chapter of the year. Stay tuned for more details!

Another exciting activity organized by the Local Chapter Affairs Committee, with complete support from the AMS, was a luncheon for the student chapter officers who were working as volunteers at the meeting. Each annual meeting is greatly facilitated by the hard work that these students do during the week. The theme of the luncheon was "Getting Your First Job in Meteorology." Professionals representing a broad spectrum of employment opportunities in meteorology sat at tables with students and engaged in informal discussions. Col. Tom Adang (AFWA), Gary Carter and Theresa Rossi (NWS), Erwin Prater (Trinity Consultants) and Valerie Voss (CNN) joined Local Chapter Affairs Committee members Wendy Schreiber-Abshire (COMET), Wayne McCollom (retired), Carmen Tarbell (NWS) and Richard Peterson (Texas Tech Univ.) in discussing strategies and techniques for a successful job search.

Dr. Meisner shared his experiences from his long and varied career in academia, research, the private sector, the USDA Forest Service and the NWS. Other professionals at the luncheon added their two cents worth as well, while students eagerly collected tips and made notes. Several students commented on how much they enjoyed the mentoring time, and many suggested that this activity be established as an annual event. After the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, many students lingered and visited one-on-one with the meteorologists in attendance concluding with a frenzied business card exchange.

The link between the national AMS and local chapters is stronger and more evident than ever. Exciting new endeavors are in the works for the coming year. During 1997, seven new chapters were established, and six more were reactivated! Most local chapters have established Web pages as well; and they can be reached from the national AMS home page at http://www.ametsoc.org. If you are not involved in a local chapter, maybe it's time to look into what you are missing!-Wendy Schreiber-Abshire and Bernard N. Meisner.

BAMS, Vol. 78, No. 10 (October 1997)

Chapter leaders, how well do you know your chapter? When I was elected chairman of the Riverside-San Bernardino chapter several years ago, as a relative newcomer to the area I decided to conduct a survey of its members, and we got some interesting results. Part of my motivation for conducting the survey was based on a leadership seminar I had recently attended at my alma mater. Like most chapter leaders, I am active in a number of organizations.

We had many retired members in the chapter and spouses usually attended our monthly chapter dinner meetings. With so many members on fixed incomes the chapter traditionally looked for restaurants with a meeting room and total dinner costs around $10.00. Needless to say, there were not many in the area that met those criteria.

By sending a questionnaire to all the chapter members, we learned that the majority of the members were willing to spend more for dinner and travel farther than had been assumed to attend a meeting. That gave us a greater selection of meeting locations. The members also provided some interesting ideas for speakers and topics for future meetings.

Here are some survey tips I learned at that leadership workshop.

  • Avoid white paper for surveys. It reduces the response rate. Although 70% of people prefer to read black text on white paper, bright colors like red, orange, and hot pink increase survey response rates.
  • "Yes/No" questions elicit the highest response rate.
  • Multiple choice questions capture the most information and are the next most popular with readers. Give four or six choices. An odd number of choices introduces a bias because the natural tendency is to pick the middle response.
  • Ranking items by number is the third most effective form of question.
  • Open-ended questions (where the respondents are free to write out their responses) are valuable, but the answers cannot be tabulated easily. They also elicit the lowest response rate. As a rule of thumb, do not have more than one open-ended question for every 10 yes/no or multiple choice questions.
  • It is ideal to provide a return postage. You will, at the very least, delay the response if you depend on the reader to provide a stamp.
  • Surveys should be taken every two to five years.
  • The best times of year to send out any direct mail is September, October, February, or March; the worst times are November, December, early January, and June, July, and August.
  • While you may use Web page forms for your surveys, do not assume all potential respondents have Internet access and/or are comfortable with providing information over an insecure Internet line.
  • Test your survey before distributing it. Showing your survey to a few people will help identify any confusing directions or misleading questions.
  • To help eliminate any bias, explicitly tell your respondents not to sign their names to the survey form.
  • It is most effective to include your survey as part of an annual dues statement or a monthly newsletter. However, keep the survey as a freestanding pullout page. Respondents are reluctant to clip or tear a newsletter.
  • Prominently indicate the deadline for responding. Allow sufficient time for people to receive their surveys and consider their responses, but do not let them wait more than a week. Otherwise, the survey may get buried in a "do later" pile. (I have several of those on my desk.)
  • Be concise. Limit the survey to one or two pages at the most.
  • Summarize the results of the survey and publish it so everyone can see their response did make a difference.
Remember that AMS Headquarters will support one mailing per chapter per year to all AMS members in the local chapter's area. The local chapter should provide camera-ready copy of the mailing to AMS Headquarters with ample time to allow for duplication and mailing. Chapter officers should contact Kelly Garvey (AMS, 45 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108; telephone: 617-227-2426, ext. 215; e-mail: kgarvey@ametsoc.org), the local chapter point of contact at AMS Headquarters, to plan the mailing.

I invite chapter leaders to share copies of surveys they develop with the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs. In turn, the committee would be glad to provide copies of those surveys to other chapters who are planning a survey.-Bernard N. Meisner.

BAMS, Volume 78, No. 3 (March 1997)

How do you build an organization to which people want to belong? This is the fundamental question local chapter officers face on a monthly basis as they plan meetings and activities. In that spirit, this installment of the Local Chapter Affairs article series presents some ideas to both encourage membership and make meetings fun.

Getting people in the door is the first trick. It is important to not only plan a variety of speakers and activities, but to also provide plenty of advance notice of your meeting dates.

Potential speakers and activities. Potential speakers can be drawn from the local community, scientists visiting the area, and the chapter membership. Many industries and utility companies have speaker's bureaus and/or frequently give tours of their facilities. Every community likely has an emergency manager who could explain preparations and planning for weather-related disasters. Every chapter probably has at least one "computer whiz" who could demonstrate the different weather information that can be found on the Internet.

The Los Angeles chapter holds an annual pot luck dinner with members bringing videos and photos to share, while the University of Nebraska chapter has an annual picnic. Check when your local IMAX theater is next showing the movie Storm Chasers. Some chapters invite the winners of the local science fairs to give their presentations to the chapter.

The Palmetto chapter hosts an annual mini-technical conference over a weekend, inviting members from neighboring chapters to participate. Be advised that such a conference requires a lot of planning to be successful.

Scheduling a meeting. There are two common approaches for planning monthly meetings-one needs to decide which works better for the chapter. Some chapters choose to have their meetings on the same day of a given week each month, for example, the third Thursday of each month. This method is very useful for planning purposes and less advance notice is required because members know when to expect a meeting. The downside of this approach is that it limits flexibility in accommodating guest speakers' schedules and may prevent some members-who always have a conflict on that day-from attending.

The other approach is to vary the day and even the week to accommodate speakers and tour schedules. Although this approach allows for a great deal of flexibility and may keep meetings open to a broader range of attendees, it does not allow for regular planning and demands at least two to three weeks of advance notice to members so they can set that time aside.

Aside from all the effort that is required to secure guest speakers, plan field trips, and set meeting times that will interest and accommodate a majority of your membership, there are other things of which one may not have thought that can help create an exciting atmosphere for the local chapter.

Some additional ideas. Consider holding a raffle at a meeting where those in attendance buy tickets for a chance to win a weather-related item, such as a calendar, poster, book, instrument, or clothing item. Use the proceeds to help finance a chapter activity or to pay for special snacks at the next meeting. In a similar vein, one can devise a method to award a door prize to one of the attendees, perhaps the one sitting in the lucky chair. The District of Columbia chapter, for example, awards a weather radio each month, with the provision that the winner must donate it to a local school or other organization.

Another idea is to hold chapter contests with some fun weather-related paraphernalia as the prize. Contests could involve weather photography, date of first snowfall, first day over 100 degrees, first freeze, or something else that is appropriate for the area. Some chapters recognize a "Member of the Year" with a plaque or similar award, often at an annual banquet.

If chapter members are not paying their dues, one consideration to influence them to do so is creating a special name tag system for the paid members. The peer pressure to be wearing a nice name tag like the others in the room is amazingly convincing. This idea has the dual benefit of improving chapter communications by providing both old and new members an easy way to establish a first name basis and creates a mechanism for officers and members to recognize visitors who may be potential new members.

Many local chapters now have pages on the World Wide Web. This is an excellent medium for publicizing the local chapter and attracting new members. There will soon be links to all local chapters' pages from the AMS Local Chapter Web page. Remember to add a link to the AMS home page to your chapter page.

Whatever you do, do not forget to aim high. The sky is the limit in terms of who you invite to speak and where you decide to go, as well as the education and science efforts you choose to be involved in. If the officers and/or other members involved in various chapter activities are excited, others will be too. Getting individual members involved in specific efforts creates a feeling of chapter ownership and will contribute to a strong local chapter. Remember the famous words from the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." And remember to share your successes by submitting a synopsis of each meeting for publication in the Chapter News section of the Bulletin.-Wendy Schreiber-Abshire and Bernard Meisner.

BAMS, Volume 77, No. 10 (October 1996)

Many of the services provided to local chapters by AMS Headquarters and the Committee on Local Chapters are listed and outlined in the following text.

Committee directive. The goals of the Committee on Local Chapters are 1) to continue to enhance interaction between AMS Headquarters and local chapters, 2) to improve and facilitate interactions among chapters, and 3) to increase the number of active local chapters and to increase the membership in local chapters.

Postage costs. The Committee on Local Chapters noted at its first meeting that postage costs are often the largest item of a chapter's operating budget. At the recommendation of the committee, AMS Headquarters will support one mailing per chapter per year to all AMS members in the local chapter's area. This mailing might consist of a survey to determine the best time(s) and place(s) to hold a local chapter meeting, an announcement of a special chapter meeting (awards banquet, special guest speaker, minitechnical conference, etc.), ballots for an election of local chapter officers, or just an invitation to participate in the next chapter meeting. The local chapter should provide a camera-ready copy of the mailing to AMS Headquarters with ample time to allow for duplication and mailing. Chapter officers should contact Kelly Garvey, the local chapter point of contact at AMS Headquarters, to plan the mailing.

Chapter letterhead. In addition, AMS Headquarters provides official chapter stationary at no cost to all local chapters. As always, contact Kelly Garvey at AMS Headquarters to arrange for printing and delivery of the chapter's stationary.

Chapter directory. A directory of all local chapters is published in every August issue of the AMS Bulletin. The directory includes telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for chapter officers. Please feel free to use this directory to contact the officers of your local chapter for information concerning upcoming meetings and other chapter events. Chapter officers should contact their colleagues in neighboring chapters to plan a joint meeting or coordinating the judging of science fairs in their area.

Local chapter home pages. Recognizing the potential of the Internet's World Wide Web for publicizing and promoting local chapter activities, the committee has discussed the potential for providing links to local chapters' pages from the AMS home page (URL: http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS. A questionnaire was sent to all local chapter presidents last spring to determine interest in chapter Web documents. Several local chapters already have Web pages. AMS Headquarters is in the process of creating a basic Web page for local chapter on the AMS Web server or another server to which the local chapter has access. All local chapter Web documents, in turn, should have a link back to the AMS home page.

Chapter news. In every issue of the Bulletin, chapters share their activities and other interesting events with other AMS members through the "Chapter News" section. Chapter news should be submitted to Julie Burba, the news editor, at AMS Headquarters.

AMS meetings. Local chapters are also recognized at many national meetings of the Society. A map showing the location of all local chapters is prominently displayed at these meetings. Local chapters are also invited to display a poster featuring chapter activities at the annual meeting of the Society. Local chapter members are also called upon to volunteer their time by helping out at AMS sponsored meetings and conferences, especially the Annual Meeting. Chapter recognition. A question concerning local chapter affiliation has been added to the annual dues statement sent to every member. This information is being added to the Society's member database. All local chapter members will be recognized with a sticker on their name badges at the upcoming 77th Annual Meeting.

Summer opportunities. As a special service to our student members, each spring the Society solicits information concerning summer employment opportunities from employers. These job announcements are sent to every student member of the Society and are also electronically published on the Society's Web pages.

The handbook. Perhaps the best service provided to the local chapters is the Chapter Officers' Handbook, first introduced last year. The handbook summarizes essential information concerning the Society and local chapters; including a listing of all local chapters and officers; the names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses of important contacts at AMS Headquarters; and a section on program ideas for local chapters. Chapter officers are encouraged to share their program ideas for future issues of the handbook.-Bernard N. Meisner.

BAMS, Volume 77, No. 7 (July 1996)

In January 1993, the AMS Council, in response to a recommendation from the AMS Planning Commission, created an ad hoc Committee on Local Chapters to review the Society's relationship with its local chapters and take action where possible to improve that relationship (Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 74, 669). The committee was tasked to report back to the Council by January 1996 on its progress and with recommendations for additional steps that might be taken to strengthen the relationship between the Society and its local chapters.

The ad hoc Committee met during the Society's 74th, 75th, and 76th Annual Meetings. In addition, there was regular correspondence among members of the committee via mail, e-mail, and fax. Substantive technical, legal, and administrative support was provided by the AMS Headquarters staff, especially by Keith Seitter, Kelly S. Garvey, and Julie A. Burba, without whose assistance the ad hoc Committee could not have functioned.

In addition to aforementioned work sessions, the ad hoc Committee met with groups of local chapter officers in breakfast meetings at the 74th, 75th, and 76th Annual Meetings. These sessions were very well attended by representatives from local and student chapters. At each meeting there were productive discussions among committee members, AMS staff, and the chapter representatives. These discussions addressed what the Society might do to foster activities within and among local chapters and what the local chapters might do to support the Society. Written input in the form of a survey of local chapter officers was also taken during the 74th Annual Meeting. Each year the current president of the Society and the president-elect have regularly participated in the committee's meetings and the local chapters' breakfast.

From discussions with, and input received from Society members active in local chapters, it is clear that many of these grass roots organizations play important professional and social roles in the lives of these members. This appears to be especially the case with those members not directly associated with a university. As private sector meteorology becomes more important in the coming years, local chapters can be expected to play an even greater role in this regard than they have in the past.

Student chapters also play an important role in shaping the professional attitudes of those aspiring to become meteorologists, providing them venues in which to learn leadership skills and to meet informally with practitioners in the discipline.

Local chapters also provide important support to the Society. For example, over the past three years selected local chapters were asked to participate in the Minority Scholarship program by disseminating announcements, soliciting applications, and assisting in the review process. In several cases, comments from the local chapters were very helpful in identifying the successful candidates. This support has shown that there are many individuals in the local chapters who, if called upon in an appropriate and timely manner, can assist the Society in its educational and outreach efforts, and perhaps in other areas.

In fall 1993, in response to a related recommendation of the Planning Commission, Kelly S. Garvey, member/subscription services manager, was designated as the local chapter point of contact at AMS Headquarters. As a result, the Society has the most effective contact with its local chapters that it has had in years. She can be reached at Member/Subscription Services Manager, American Meteorological Society, 45 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-3693; telephone: 617- 227-2426, ext. 215; fax: 617-742-8718; e-mail: kgarvey@ametsoc.org The primary action taken by the ad hoc Committee has been to develop a Local Chapter Officers' Handbook. The handbook contains a wide range of material, pulling together into one document numerous procedures and policies that have evolved over the years about what local chapters can and cannot to relative to the Society, as well as providing much useful information on operating an effective local chapter.

Actual writing of the handbook was carried out by the staff at AMS Headquarters. Drafts were reviewed by the ad hoc Committee, the Headquarters staff, local chapter officers, and the Society's legal counsel. With the hard work of the Headquarters' staff, the preparation of this document moved forward in a timely manner. A copy of the final draft was provided to the AMS Executive Committee in a July 1995 report. Following the favorable recommendation of the Executive Committee, the draft handbook was approved by the AMS Council at its September 1995 meeting. The handbook was published in the fall of 1995; an announcement indicating its availability appeared in the November 1995 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

In formulating its recommendations to the AMS Council, the goal of the ad hoc Committee was to identify actions that the Society can take that will become a routine part of the way it does business, and in doing so, enhance the visibility and stature of the local chapters within the Society.

The ad hoc Committee recommended the addition of local chapter membership affiliation to the Society's membership database. This information solicited in the questionnaire was included with the most recent annual dues statement. At the recommendation of the committee, a prominent location has been established for local chapter displays at each Society-sponsored meeting. The committee also recommended that the breakfast with local chapter representatives become a regular part of the Society's annual meeting. To facilitate interaction among local chapters, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses have been added to the annual chapter directory, which is published in the August issue of the Bulletin.

Noting the need to maintain the momentum that had been developed by the ad hoc Committee, and to provide advice and counsel to the AMS Headquarters staff on issues affecting local chapters, the ad hoc Committee recommended that the Society establish an AMS Committee on Local Chapter Affairs. The ad hoc Committee also recommended that a column entitled "Local Chapter Affairs" become a regular feature in the Bulletin, and that the Chair of the Committee on Local Chapter Affairs should be designated as the editor of this column. The column, of which this is the first, will feature news and commentary from Headquarters of interest to local chapters and tips and insights on effective chapter operations.

Further refinement and actual implementation of most of the recommendations of the ad hoc Committee will be the responsibility of the new Committee on Local Chapter Affairs, which, at the recommendation of the ad hoc Committee, was appointed by the AMS Executive Committee at their January 1996 meeting. The members of the committee are Bernard N. Meisner (North Texas chapter), chair; Wendy Schreiber-Abshire (Denver-Boulder chapter); Wayne McCollom (St. Louis chapter); Lucille Marks (Northern California chapter); Richard Peterson (the West Texas student chapter faculty advisor); and Carmen Tarbell (District of Columbia chapter).

The Committee on Local Chapter Affairs held its organizational meeting during the 76th Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Recommendations and suggestions made during that meeting will be reported in the next issue of the Bulletin.-Bernard N. Meisner, chair, Committee on Local Chapter Affairs.

 




[ About the AMS | Policy Program | Conferences, Meetings, and Symposia ]
[ Education Programs and Resources ]
[ History of Earth Sciences | Journals and Publications | Local Chapter Information | Member Services ]
[ News and Information | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) ]

[ Disclaimer | Contacts at AMS | Email AMS Web Administrator ]

Return to AMS Home Page Click on Logo to Return to AMS Home Page
© 2002 American Meteorological Society
Headquarters: 45 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-3693
Email: amsinfo@ametsoc.org
Phone: 617-227-2425; Fax: 617-742-8718