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Charles Marshall  A letter from the Director, June 2015

Saluting our staff
The end of the academic year is an appropriate time for reflection on the many accomplishments of our UCMP students, faculty, and staff. This issue contains highlights of degrees finished, awards received, and milestones achieved. The contributions made by both graduate and undergraduate students to the UCMP can't be overstated and their tireless work on many grant-funded projects supervised by UCMP staff are part of the secret to our success. Under the guidance of Museum Scientist Erica Clites, nearly complete rehousing of the former USGS fossil collections has been achieved (90% of the specimens from the collection have been rehoused into new cabinets and drawers) with support from an NSF collections improvement grant. Under the guidance of Senior Museum Scientist Pat Holroyd, curatorial progress has been made on McKittrick tar seep fossils with support from an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant. Many of the McKittrick fossils are stored in the Campanile and the project comes just in time to highlight these unique Pleistocene fossils as part of campus centennial celebration of the Campanile (see the story in the February 2015 issue of UCMP News).

The UCMP will receive two new collections-based grants this year to support digitization of our fossils under the NSF Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC) program. Paleobotanist Diane Erwin is the lead UCMP contributor on a fossil insect PEN (Partners to Existing Networks) to make the UCMP amber collection more web-accessible through digitized images. A new four-year ADBC-TCN (-Thematic Collections Networks) grant awarded to the UCMP will allow us to digitize Cenozoic invertebrate fossils. The project will involve a wide swath of UCMP faculty, collections and education and outreach staffs, and seven west coast/one eastern museum partners. The title is Documenting Fossil Marine Invertebrate Communities of the Eastern Pacific: Faunal Responses to Environmental Change over the Last 66 Million Years. Please stay tuned for updates as these new grants get underway later this year!

Finally, as Director of the UCMP I've had an opportunity to work with all our outstanding museum staff and I want to thank two members from the education and outreach team who will be leaving us this summer to pursue the next chapters in their lives. Dave Smith, graphic designer, will be retiring after 37+ years of service at UC Berkeley, and Josh Frankel, webmaster and artist, will be pursuing opportunities as a freelancer. Their artistic and technical work on two of our popular award-winning websites, Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science, has directly contributed to the success of these sites. They will be missed, but we have not lost them completely, as they plan to continue making contributions to the museum in other ways. If you are a fan of Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science, or other UCMP education and outreach projects, please consider giving to our new UCMP Education and Outreach Fund to help ensure our educational efforts continue to reach beyond the university to as broad an audience as possible.

Sincerely,
Charles Marshall