Membership in Scientific, Technical, and Professional Organizations

                           UNITED STATES
                    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
                         GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
                     Water Resources Division
                        Washington 25, D.C.

In reply refer to:                                August 7, 1958
                                                  Code 4052 0001


To:       Professional Personnel, Ground Water Branch

From:     Chief, Ground Water Branch, Washington, D.C.

Subject:  Membership in Scientific, Technical, and Professional

For many years the Ground Water Branch has maintained a position
of leadership in the field of ground water both nationally and
internationally.  Trends during the past few years indicate that
our position of leadership may be threatened unless we become more
active in bringing the results of our work before various
scientific and technical groups as well as the public.

During the past 10 years our professional staff has grown
considerably and the scope, intensity, and volume of our work have
increased.  Despite this healthy growth, the number of articles
from members of our Branch appearing in scientific and technical
journals has declined.  On the other hand, articles on ground
water by non-Survey authors have increased substantially.  These
facts would seem to indicate that leadership in the field of
ground-water hydrology is being relinquished by the Survey and
assumed by non-Survey scientists.  I do not believe this is true.
But if it is not true, each of us is obligated to become more
active in carrying out the long-standing policy of encouraging our
professional staff to take an active part in scientific and
technical meetings and in offering papers for publication in

Many reasons for the present unfavorable situation can be offered:
Our rapid growth and the consequent temporary shifting of
experienced scientists to largely supervisory and training
positions; the tendency to schedule work and limit budgets rigidly
and thereby reduce the time available for preparation of outside
papers, etc.  These reasons, although valid, do not alter the
facts.  Unless positive steps are taken we shall in truth as well
as in appearance lose our position of leadership.  Steps that
might be taken include:

     1.  Encouragement of the professional attitude among our
younger men by keeping abreast of the literature, particularly
that relating to our field.  Although engaged chiefly in
supervisory work, the senior members of the Branch are in a
position to promote this by example and in their daily contacts.

     2.  Improved programming - scheduling of project target dates
must be more realistic - we should avoid our time-honored custom
of trying to accomplish two year's work in one year, and we would
thereby gain enough time to prepare papers discussing the
significant phases of our project.

     3.  Recognizing the scientific and technical advancements
resulting from our investigations and preparing pertinent articles
on such in addition to planned project reports.

     4.  Encouragement of staff members to participants in the
activities of professional societies, both local and national.

A professional position carries with it certain responsibilities
to the profession:  financial support of professional, societies,
whose funds make available literature in our field of interest;
keeping informed on latest developments through outside reading;
preparing discussions of technical articles to correct or
supplement the work of others; serving on local, state, national,
or international committees where our training and experience will
be utilized; serving as officers in professional societies;
obtaining a State license or registration in our profession in
States where such registration is required of consulting
geologists or engineers; encouraging membership of qualified
professionals in societies; and promoting society activities as
occasion arises.

Although not required of Survey members, it is advantageous to
every professional in the Geological Survey to join and
participate actively in the work of professional societies such as
Advancement in a Survey career depends on the individual's
professional growth, and this growth is measured in part by the
stature he attains in scientific circles that relate to his
profession.  Professional growth is considered in filling
positions of greater responsibility and merit.

For organizations requiring sponsorship, Washington office members
will be pleased to act in this capacity if sponsors are
unavailable locally.

As an example of organizations that should be supported, your
attention is directed to the membership drive of the Technical
Division of the National Water Well Association.  Each office will
probably receive a letter and application forms from the
membership chairman, and it is urged that at least one individual
in each district and subdistrict office become a member.

                                (s) A. N. Sayre

Distribution:  A, B, SL