We celebrated The Oceanography Society’s thirtieth anniversary at the February Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon. Among the week’s highlights (aside from the t-shirt giveaway) was a gathering of past presidents (see photo) at the TOS breakfast and a moving talk by Jim Baker about the Society’s founding (available at https://youtu.be/rUzgpv9qilo).
As Jim noted in his remarks, the Society has matured over the past three decades. Along with publishing Oceanography, TOS gives awards, hosts meetings, connects people—all of the typical things that societies do for their members. We need to acknowledge that many founding members, ocean scientists who understood 30 years ago that our field needed a society of its own, are moving into retirement. This reality underscores the importance of the TOS initiative to grow our membership by attracting young people—a diverse group of students and early career scientists from academia, government agencies, and private businesses around the world. Our forward trajectory is upward, with youthful energy.
Along with our move to attract new members, we also need to find creative ways to keep our senior-most members engaged in TOS. These long-time members are an enormous storehouse of wisdom and practical knowledge about how to build the field—we depend upon many programs and research structures that they created. Let’s find ways to transfer their wisdom to the new generation of leaders who will take the wheel and steer the TOS ship toward new waters.
How can we do this? The TOS Council is looking for ideas. Would our senior members consider serving on an advisory group that would mentor our younger members into leadership positions? Or perhaps they could simply have a conversation with our student members over coffee at meetings? Can they help with our strategy of strengthening the ties between academic, government, and industry sectors—all important parts of ocean sciences? Can they help to build international connections? Knowing how we got where we are today will benefit our young generation of ocean scientists—who best to impart that wisdom but our founding (and other long-term) members.
Senior TOS members, if any of these ideas resonate with you, or you have others to share, please contact me and let’s talk.
Younger members—when you see our senior members at meetings, introduce yourself, ask them questions. Soak up that wisdom—and lead on.
– Alan C. Mix, TOS President