Walter Anderson Fund

What the Fund Supports

The Anderson Fund supports educational activities of the Geological Society of Maine, including presentation of student research at the society’s spring meeting, student field trip experiences, teacher and professional training, and other activities related to geoscience education in Maine, particularly those initiated by members of the society. It supports what we do and what we love.

Inspired by Walter’s Vision

When State Geologist Walter Anderson retired in 1995 after nearly three decades with the Maine Geological Survey, he didn’t ask for a party to mark the end of something. He wanted to celebrate a new beginning. Walter’s vision for this fund came from years of listening to legislators, landowners, bureaucrats, and teachers, all dealing with various geoscience issues but lacking the basic information to make informed decisions. The key to effective natural resource stewardship is education. Reliable, professional, science-based education. And knowing from practical experience that lack of ready access to funding can stall creative ideas and impede educational opportunities, his vision was to create a discretionary fund with enough seed money to allow more geoscience education to happen in Maine.

A History of Growth and Desire to Do More

From Walter’s inspiration and in his honor, the Anderson Fund began with voluntary member donations of $3,730 and hope for the future. (See August 1995 GSM Newsletter.) After a generation of steady GSM member contributions and prudent financial management, the fund had grown to over $21,000 by 2018, even while continuing to support ongoing educational activities. In 2018 an endowment campaign committee was formed with the goal of stepping up the fund to a new, self-sustaining level. This jump start would enable the fund to make more substantial awards needed for geoscience education in Maine. This three-year campaign is in progress now.

Donate today to the Walter Anderson Fund Endowment.

Past Recipients

The Anderson Fund has consistently made awards and grants since its inception in 1995. Through 2018, recipients include 55 individuals or school groups representing 11 Maine-based educational institutions or projects. These awards have made a difference by recognizing outstanding accomplishment and initiative, and the impact of geoscience on individuals and communities.

Anderson Fund Impacts

Quotes from recipients of Anderson Fund awards.

“As a graduating senior, the trip to Iceland helped to cement what I want to pursue in graduate school.”

“An invaluable experience that will undoubtedly help shape my career as a future glacial geologist.”

“The opportunity to actually see a glacier up close for the first time was a truly amazing experience.”

“I view field experience as critical to my growth as an aspiring geologist.”

“I see the volcanoes, I see the glaciers, I see two continents… They are all in the books, but I feel them right now — in front of me.”

“The trip gave me access to see a variety of rock types that I would have potentially never encountered. I will say that I still do reflect on moments from that trip when considering the things I now know about geology.”

“While on this trip, I recorded 1000+ photos that I still use to this day in my earth science class at Winthrop High School. The experience itself allows me to tell a story of rock formations making the class even more interactive for my students.”

“It is difficult to pull one thing from this trip. It is more than studying abroad; it is networking with international professionals, experiencing the culture, making geological connections, and collaborating with other students to accomplish a common goal.”

Photo Gallery

2017 Chelsea Seabold, Mark Holden, Bob Marvinney, Phoebe Haslam GSM

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GSM members Mark Holden and Bob Marvinney discuss a student poster at the 2017 GSM Spring Meeting.

Inspired? Submit a Funding Request

The Geological Society of Maine welcomes proposals from groups and individuals including but not limited to undergraduate and graduate students, geology clubs, educators and/or professional geoscientists. Funding preference may be given to projects that serve larger numbers of persons. Preference may also be given to GSM members. Details for submitting funding requests can be found here (link).

Endowment Campaign Contributors

The Geological Society of Maine gratefully acknowledges all contributors to the 2019-22 Anderson Fund Endowment Campaign. Each contributor has made the choice to step up and support Walter’s vision to make this fund a reality. To join with those already on this list, go to the Endowment Campaign and invest in Maine geoscience education.

Reasons for Giving

Quotes from Anderson Fund donors

“I make several donations to worthy charities, but to me this is different. I have experienced such enjoyment in my life from getting to know the earth that I want to share it with others. One way to do that is through education. My donation to the Anderson Fund is an investment in changing people’s lives. I support Walter’s vision.”

Financial Management of the Fund

The Executive Council (link) of the Geological Society of Maine is responsible for oversight of society finances, including the Anderson Fund, according to the bylaws. From its inception, Anderson Fund contributions and disbursements have been handled by the GSM Treasurer. Contributions designated for the Anderson Fund were kept in a savings account and CDs separate from General Fund contributions and have been used only for purposes intended for the Anderson Fund. In 2008, the society voted to increase membership dues to use a portion of the income to augment contributions to the Anderson Fund. On October 22, 2018, an endowment account was established at Bath Savings Trust Institution, that is managed with a balanced portfolio in consultation with the GSM Executive Council. Financial statements are reported by the GSM Treasurer in the Society Newsletter and posted online.

Questions about the Fund?

Contact the GSM Anderson Fund here (link).