To: ICS executive and subcommission chairs
I have started planning an ICS workshop that will be held in Prague, Czech Republic in late May 2010. The workshop will last 3.5 days and will be held in the Geological Institute at Charles University. Exact dates will be set once we known the date that the academic year ends and meeting rooms will be available. My colleagues Petr Kraft of Charles University and Petr Storch of the Czech Academy of Sciences will assist with planning and logistics.
ICS workshops held in 2002 in Urbino, Italy and in 2005 in Leuven, Belgium were most successful, in large part because almost all Subcommission chairs were in attendance. The first of these focused on progress on completing GSSPs; the second concentrated on resolving the Quaternary-Neogene issues. The ICS workshops held at the IGCs, in Florence in 2004 and in Oslo in 2008, were not nearly as successful because of limited time for the workshop, scheduling conflicts with other concurrent symposia, and the high cost limiting attendance.
I want ICS to address a range of issues in the Prague 2010 workshop. The focus will be on the GSSP concept - how successful has it been, what shortcomings and problems have arisen, what difficult boundary issues remain, etc. However, many other issues can and need to be addressed, including dual versus single nomenclature, particularly the dual use of Stage, the Tertiary, new Subcommission initiatives, revisions to ICS statutes, the ISSC project of producing explanatory papers, the ICS website, and education outreach. The agenda remains open, and I encourage all of you to suggest issues that you want to see addressed.
Whereas the workshops at Urbino and Leuven were restricted primarily to subcommission chairs, I want the Prague workshop to be open to all members of all ICS subcommissions, particularly the other officers (vice chairs and secretaries). I will apply to IUGS for extra support for the workshop. I will try to fund travel of all subcommission chairs who need it (hoping that some or many can also get support from their home institutions). I also want to fund lodging for all subcommission chairs, to fund a one-day field excursion for all participants, and perhaps a final banquet. Other attendees would have to fund their own travel and accommodations, but I foresee no registration fee, only travel, lodging and meals. I envision 2.5 days of workshops and meetings and a one day field excursion. There will be breakout sessions for focused discussion on specific agenda items. It is my desire that these discussions lead to recommendation/decisions that are approved by the ICS commission during the final half day of the meeting. The commission (executive and subcommission chairs) will meet separately in closed meetings, as needed.
I ask that you give me your immediate thoughts on the late May 2010 schedule and the objectives of the Prague workshop. I also ask that you notify all members of your subcommissions about this meeting, encouraging them to attend and participate. For me the strength of ICS comes from the participation of its members - yes the subcommission chairs and other executive officers but also all the members, both voting and corresponding, of the subcommissions. Let's make the Prague 2010 meeting one that addresses and makes positive decisions on many of the issues that have long been unsettled.
Stanley C. Finney, Chair
Department of Geological Sciences
California State University - Long Beach
Long Beach, CA 90840 USA
Phone: (562) 985-8637
FAX: (562) 985-8638
Co-Director, Environmental Science & Policy Program
Chair, International Commission on Stratigraphy (IUGS)