Opal Adams started out life near Leadore, Idaho, on a ranch where pure-bred Angus cattle and Shire horses were raised. There were 19 graduates (15 girls and four boys) in her senior class, a record until just recently. Opal decided to become a geologist at age 14 after her earth science teacher required a rock collection for the class and took students on fossil hunting field trips. That dream was realized seven years later. After spending several years working and avoiding bears in bush camps all over Alaska, she realized that additional education was needed and moved to Reno to attend graduate school at Mackay.
Opal graduated from the University of Idaho with a B.S. in Geology in 1977 and Mackay School of Mines with an M.S. in Geology in 1985. She worked in the mining industry as an exploration geologist until 1995 for companies such as Noranda, The Anaconda Company, Freeport, and Independence Mining. She has over 30 years of experience working with natural resource development, mining, and environmental issues in Nevada, California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming, and Costa Rica in a variety of geologic environments. In 1995 she took a job with Royal Gold, a precious metal royalty company which changed the direction in her career from geology to resource management (from the field to a desk and computer). In 1997, Opal moved from Elko, Nevada, where she had lived for six years, back to Reno. At this point she started working in the environmental field and became a writer and editor for environmental documents.
Opal is co-owner and Vice President of Enviroscientists, Inc., a Reno, Nevada company that she started with her husband, Richard DeLong in 2000. The company has grown from three to 14 people in the Reno office and a second office in Elko with three people. Opal is responsible for company project management, budgeting, proposal writing, scheduling and oversight of employee tasks and permit acquisition from county, state, and federal agencies. She is also involved in Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) project management and preparation. Opal acts as liaison between clients and government agencies, facilitating the necessary steps in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. She specializes in interpreting and implementing the NEPA for development projects and is responsible for organizing, preparing and managing environmental impact assessment documents. Opal is specifically responsible for designing, managing and conducting evaluations of the geology, minerals, paleontology, and visual resource areas for these documents. Opal loves photography and creates photo simulations for use in environmental documents.
Opal is currently on the Executive Advisory Board of the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering and the Executive Advisory Board of Geological Sciences and Engineering Department. She is a member of the Geological Society of Nevada (Co-Chair for five years for the GSN Symposium 2000 and an officer from 1990 through 1994, and again from 2006-2008), and is currently on the 2010 Symposium Committee. Opal served as a Trustee on the Board of the Northwest Mining Association for three years.
Opal's personal interests include photography, cats and dogs, drawing and painting, gourmet cooking, candy making, gardening, fossil collecting, reading, listening to audio books, studying the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, and global cooling.