1994 Annual Report to ACS
During 1994, the Montana Section of the American Chemical Society continued three themes.
These include: Enhancement of education opportunities, service to the Montana ACS
membership, and linkage of communication with and between chemically oriented groups and
individuals in Montana. In addition, a new initiative for 1994 was to develop mechanisms
needed to reach out to the industrial chemists of the section. This summary will reflect our
efforts in these areas as we continue efforts in contributing to the health of chemical sciences.
A focal point of the Section's educational and public outreach activities was again National
Chemistry Week 1994. Members were again very active across the State, with education
materials provided to classrooms and chemistry demonstrations presented. Although the major
commitments necessary for NCW activities during the even-numbered years led to section
activities of lesser magnitude than in 1993, Section members and affiliates augmented the
November activities with similar efforts, such as visitations of classrooms and demonstrations
throughout the year. In Eastern Montana, members from Montana State University-Billings
(formerly Eastern Montana College) assisted in a dozen "Chemistry Magic" presentations at area
schools and to the general public through involvement with the MSU-B Student Affiliate. The
MSU-B SAACS, formed in late 1993 with the encouragement of Section members Mark
Waddington and Rhonda Dillman of MSU-B, was a particular gem to Society activities in 1994,
having received funding from an ACS Innovative Activities Project Grant and from local
businesses in excess of $1000 in support of the project, "Chemistry Demonstrations for Fun and
Education." Well over one thousand people were "exposed" to the positive aspects of chemistry
as a result of these extensions of the "Chemistry Magic" show organized by Mark Waddington
during National Chemistry Week 1992, after encouragement from Dr. Andrea Stierle of Montana
Tech, long-time State Coordinator of NCW.
During the Spring ACS members worked with students throughout the state in finishing science
fair projects, organizing science fairs, and providing expert judges to the competitions, with the
Section providing savings bonds to students having the best chemistry projects at three Regional
Science Fairs. The Chemistry Olympiad was again supported by the Section and the
Membership. Led by Gary Freebury of Kalispell, 1995 Section Chair and a high school
chemistry teacher, 1100 students received a locally designed exam, with the top eight students
receiving awards from the Section. A highlight of the year was the growth of the Chemistry
Concept Workshop Program. Spearheaded by ACS member and former sectional chairperson,
Dr. Arnold Craig of Montana State University, this National Science Foundation supported
program initiated in 1993, is intended to provide exceptional continuing education opportunity
for Montana's Secondary Science Teachers. In 1994, three half-day workshops were carried in
Billings, Missoula, Glendive, and during an entire week at Bozeman. Another workshop was
scheduled for Kalispell during January, 1995.
Many Section members attended the "Meeting in Miniature" held in conjunction with the Annual
Meeting of the Montana Academy of Sciences during April at Montana Tech in Butte.
Organized by former section Chair, Don Stierle of Tech, over twenty papers were delivered and
over 40 attendees enjoyed the presentation by ACS Tour Speaker, Sr. Mary Virginia Orna,
entitled "The Chemist as Detective in Examining Art and Artifacts."
As has been the case for some time, ACS members conducted chemical safety workshops and
audits of school laboratory facilities. Organized by Russ Hartford and Gary Freebury of
Kalispell, these initiatives provided not only a potentially hazardous storage or operation
conditions, but also provided educational updating and liaison, which significantly altered the
environment of chemical experimentation in the state. Additional service was reflected in the
consultative work of our members, who gave advice and analytical expertise in formal to
informal settings throughout the year.
The Montana Section again sponsored the annual Fall Social Gathering in October. Held this
year near Dillon, Montana (site of Western Montana College of the University of Montana) at
Birch Creek, a former CCC camp now used as a field station by WMC, over two dozen members
from all corners of the state enjoyed two days at the beautiful site nestled at the foot of the
In continuing our effort to enhance communications among Section members, Executive Board
members have made more usage of electronic methods information transmission, including usage
of the InterNet, and we anticipate this will be a growth area in the future with the advent of a
"new and improved" METNET computer system operated by the Montana Office of Public
Instruction, allowing a link with public school educators (including those of our affiliated
Montana Science Teacher Association). Our continuing involvement with public school
education was evidenced by attendance of members at the meeting of the Montana Education
Association in Billings and presentations of in-service programs by several Sections members.
We also continued our long relationships with the MSTA.
A new initiative this year was to develop mechanisms needed to reach out to the industrial
chemists of the section. With this in mind, the Executive Board invited Andy Valkenburg,
Quality Assurance Manager at Energy Laboratories, a major employer of chemists in Billings, to
our April Board Meeting. His ideas to enhance the interaction between industrial chemists and
those from academics, especially as related to impacting the educational experiences and future
career opportunities of public school students, were enthusiastically received by the Board. The
Board agreed to create a Committee to probe these interfaces, with Mark Waddington (academic
area), Gary Freebury (public schools) and Andy Valkenburg (industry) appointed and with the
intention of recommending that a member from industry be later appointed to the Executive
In total, this summary highlights the efforts of the Montana Section to serve the chemistry
community and the public at large. We look forward to continuing these efforts in 1995 under
the able leadership of Gary Freebury.