The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) displayed an exhibit of historic photos to nearly 100 members of the Grand Junction Geological Society (GJGS) during their monthly meeting at Colorado Mesa University in December.
The exhibit, “DOE Grand Junction Office Marks 75 Years of Contribution to the Nation’s Defense Program,” displays photos of Grand Junction and its residents during World War II, the uranium boom, and the subsequent cleanup and reuse efforts made by DOE to address environmental issues. The exhibit was previously on display last fall in the lobby of Grand Junction’s City Hall.
This special showing was requested by the society, whose members include geologists, university students, and faculty interested in Grand Junction’s natural resources.
Verner Johnson, a former DOE geologist and current geological society member, was surprised to find a photo of himself in the display. The photo, taken in 1977, shows Johnson sitting next to a horse, while recording data for the National Uranium Resource Evaluation Hydrogeochemical and Stream Sediment Reconnaissance program in the Rawah Wilderness near Greeley, Colorado. He enjoyed the unexpected recognition for his work, and explained to his colleagues that horses were often used at that time to reach remote areas.
“I just love the history of this display,” said club member Sandra Hood. “The picture of Dr. Verner with his horse just blew me away. I didn’t know that he had done that.”
Many attendees were able to learn more about the history of uranium in Grand Junction during the event. LM Support, geologist, and society member Craig Goodknight answered their questions, and provided additional historical information about the DOE’s work in Grand Junction.
Heidi Schoenstein, GJGS past president, said the addition of the photo display to the GJGS agenda attracted nearly twice the number of monthly meeting attendees. She was very pleased with the event’s success.
“I have high hopes of showing this set of photos again because it is a wonderful display,” she said.