History of the MESTA Organization

Many thanks to the MESTA Historian, Rod Cranson, for helping to get MESTA history published for our membership.

In The Beginning... (Published in the MESTA E-News May 2013)

On Saturday, April 15,1967, a small group of educators met at Lansing Community College to discuss forming an organization of Michigan Earth Science teachers. Although the Michigan Earth Scientist had been around for well over a year, it had not represented a professional teacher group. There were about 20 Earth Science teachers attending--drawn from both the high school and college levels. In this first formal meeting, the name selected for the organization was the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA). The group established the following:

  1. An Executive Committee to consist of a Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer, and Editor. Those selected to fill these offices were:

    Chairperson: Win Linderman from Portage Northern High School

    Secretary/Treasurer: William Hindle from Grosse Pointe University School

    Editor: K. R. Cranson from Lansing Community College

    The committee was also charged with developing a constitution to be presented to the entire membership at the next meeting.
  2. Dues of one dollar ($1) were assessed all individuals desiring to become members of MESTA. An application for membership was developed and included in the 1967 May issue of the Michigan Earth Scientist.
  3. In addition, the Executive Committee was charged with establishing a date and location for the next meeting, and was expected to handle any items of business that arose before then. All information regarding MESTA business was published in the Michigan Earth Scientist. A photograph was taken to preserve this event, however it has since been lost. From that very tentative group of Earth Science teachers, our Earth Science teacher organization began some 46 years ago last month.

Free, Cheap, and Inexpensive (Published in MESTA E-News August 2013)

The Summer 1983 (Vol XIX No. 3) issue of the Michigan Earth Scientist was a treasure chest of information for members. One interesting article written by long time member Steve Tchozeski detailed the history of MESTA’s Free and Inexpensive sessions. Initially, these sessions - perhaps the most popular of any activity MESTA has created – were called “Free, Cheap and Inexpensive” (F.C. & I.). The essence of the 1983 article outlined how to provide items and participate in Free and Inexpensive sessions. Detailed instructions on what and how to prepare materials, contribute them, and assist in this activity was presented.

F.C. & I. was first conceived in the mid-1970s as a result budget cuts in education along with a desire to create a way to share materials with Earth Science teachers. It started as an impromptu event at various science conferences and quickly became extremely popular with teachers at all levels. Later, MESTA assumed the role as a clearinghouse for the materials being offered. While Earth materials now make of the bulk items being offered, all kinds of materials show up at Free and Inexpensive sessions. As Steve noted “One teacher’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

What is now a common experience for hundreds (1,000s?) of teachers attending science conferences across Michigan was not obvious some 30 years ago when MESTA’s Free and Inexpensive was just beginning.

MESTA Suggests A National Earth Science Group (Published in the MESTA E-News September 2013)

At the 1983 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) in Dallas, Texas, the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) was formed. The idea for NESTA was “hatched” by a couple of Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA) members on their return to Lansing from a MESTA board meeting held in southeast Michigan. Harold Stonehouse and Rod Cranson presented their idea at the next MESTA board meeting-- asking for support and resources to explore the idea. Their request was granted.

The methods used to organize the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association, known as the MESTA Blueprint, was presented to teachers attending that initial NESTA meeting. It was a guide detailing how to organize Earth Science teachers on the state level. Thus, the dream of a few Michigan Earth Science teachers some 15 years earlier took root on the national level. (MESTA dates back to 1967.)

The first NESTA officers, elected at the April 9 organizational meeting, were featured in the 1983 Summer issue of the Michigan Earth Scientist. Jan Woerner, an active MESTA member for many years, was named NESTA’s first President. She sent out a proposed draft of a NESTA Constitution and Bylaws to the members present at the April 9 NSTA Conference. A NESTA Constitution and Bylaws was adopted at that meeting.

MESTA Slide Sets (Published in the MESTA E-News November 2013)

Forty years ago 35 mm slides were “State of the Art” instructional tools used in science classrooms. Slides were one of the best way to illustrate many aspects of Earth Science topics being taught. In MESTA's 1973 Fall Issue of the Michigan Earth Scientist three colored slide sets were announced as being available to members. These were a joint venture between the Michigan Basin Society and MESTA and were very affordable, priced at just $6 to $8 each.

Two of these slide sets featured Michigan Geology. Uncovering Michigan was created by Harold Winters, Professor of Geography at Michigan State University. The 34 slides in this set detailed the way the Pleistocene Ice Sheet melted and the features it left behind. Our Changing State illustrated the geology of Michigan - the relationship of rocks across both the Northern Peninsula and the Michigan Basin along with the Pleistocene cover. Jan Woerner, an Earth Science teacher at Freeland High School and long-time MESTA Member, researched and published this 50 slide set.

First MESTA Field Conference

The first MESTA Field Conference took place in June 1972. Click here for details.

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