2008 ISGS Open House Attracts Large Crowd

School children watch as Keith Hackley, right, holds a bubbling beaker at the Fun  with Gases, Liquids, and Solids exhibit.Well over 1,500 visitors enjoyed 34 exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on activities presented by Illinois State Geological Survey scientists and others at the 2008 ISGS Open House on Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8. More than 450 students, teachers, and chaperones had advance reservations for Friday. These class field trips were only a portion of the visitors who gathered during the most heavily attended Friday morning in ISGS Open House history. The kids loved the exhibits, the teachers were interested and entertained, and the exhibitors were excited to share their professional expertise with visitors.

In addition to the 100 plus ISGS staff participants, exhibitors included representatives from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Clean Coal Institute, the Illinois Natural History Survey Mobile Science Center, and University of Illinois Geology Department. Invited guests in attendance included State Senators Michael Frerichs and Dale Righter, State Representative Naomi Jakobsson, representatives from the offices of Senator Barack Obama and Senator Dick Durbin, and University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman.

At 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, with the wind chill factor hovering near zero, almost 200 runners and walkers braved the cold and lined up for the first ISGS Earth, Wind, and Fire 5K Run and 2.5K Walk. This was an amazing level of participation for a first-time event. Andy Derks of Charleston finished the run in first place with a time of 15:50. Elane Jones of Savoy won first place for the walkers. Illinois Senator Dale Righter was the Overall Male Masters winner.