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> Toolik Talking Shop, Conversations about science
Tom_Crumrine
post Jun 22 2005, 04:22 PM
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Summer Solstice 2005

One of the great things about Toolik is that there are so many scientists working in the same area. It is great place for ideas to circulate and for them to be discussed thoroughly. At dinner, breakfast or at a table late into the night people are always talking science. Someone mentioned that it was like being a little kid at the dinner table with parents because everyone is always asking, "How was your day?, What did you find out?"

No where is this ongoing conversation more evident than at the Tuesday night Toolik Talking Shop. This is where scienists share their interests and what they are working on. Last night we heard from Diane Sanzone and Breck Bowden. Diane is with the National Park Service and did her post-doctoral work at Toolik. She is organizing a survey of the 20 million acres of NPS land in Alaska. Those 20 million acres represent 65% of the National Park Service lands and they are all in Alaska.

If you compare the lands in Alaska to the lands in the lower 48, Acadia National Park in Maine for example, they are not as used and not as well known. Diane task over the next few years is organizing the effort to understand the organisms and the resources in those lands. She is committed to working with scientists and spending the money she has in her control on science that will elucidate a better picture of Alaskan park lands. Given that she was speaking to a group of scientists her tack was for them to come and work with her on projects related to this effort. It seems like a gargantuan effort but she also seemed to be a person with the energy to do it.

Breck Bowden was a real treat. He and his team had been working until 2 am the previous morning analyzing some new results and he was happy to show them to us. He was still cautious as all scientists are but relatively--he was excited. Breck's work is on the hyporheic zone of rivers and streams in the arctic. I'm not going to lie to you--I don't completely understand all of what he presented. What I did understand was that the hyporheic zone is the area under the bed of a river where water flows within the soil. They had done some testing with a non-toxic dye that can be added to water and then monitored with various probes that had been previously inserted into the river. They were finding that hyporheic flows were occurring in the way that they thought they would.

At this point after writing quite a few words I have to wonder if anyone read any of it. With over 20 journal entries when people log on for the first time I bet they are overwhelmed. Are they focusing on the pictures and not reading anything. Well, I don't suppose it matters too much. I enjoy writing all of this stuff down and I hope that I'm fullfilling the missions of getting more science out to the public. And if people aren't reading that's ok because I'm going to bind all of this work in a little book and give it to people as a Christmas gift so they will have another chance (or at least be forced to look at the pictures again.)

At any rate the exchange of ideas at the Toolik Talking Shops--much like at other scientific meetings and conferences is constructive and useful. Just like when you put a bunch of teachers in one room and they cannot stop talking about teaching--scientists do the same thing. Even when they are at a social event they talk about what they are doing in their work. So another day has passed, another great experience learning about science at Toolik.

Off to the sauna...Did you know we had a sauna here?
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post Jun 22 2005, 05:45 PM
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Tom,

We read every word of what you write and enjoy every bit of it. Great journals and terriific information! I hope you enjoyed the sauna. biggrin.gif

Wendy
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Ute_Kaden
post Jun 22 2005, 08:22 PM
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Hi Tom,
Greetings from Texas. Believe me, we read your journal each day. Keep up the good work.
After seeing you in the photo taking care of the plots I am rather glad that my husband takes care of our back yard and garden. Well, in the name of science-Great job boys... biggrin.gif
Ute
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Leslie_Pierce
post Jun 23 2005, 12:31 AM
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Yes, I'm reading! And, looking at the pictures! smile.gif
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Tom_Crumrine
post Jun 23 2005, 03:01 AM
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I'm glad that you all got the little joke dry.gif

This is a surreal thing to send off all of these thoughts into the void.

You are all going to have a super time on your trips--I hope you are getting excited.

Tom
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Janet_Warburton
post Jun 23 2005, 05:44 PM
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Of course we are reading every word! Reading journal entries and viewing the photos in the gallery has become a morning ritual for me. I've also emailed entries of interest to others and now they are following both adventures. Reading the daily entries kind of reminds me of "radio-reader" on NPR....each day we get a new chapter and like a good book - we don't want it to end smile.gif

Janet
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Amy_Clapp
post Jun 23 2005, 06:02 PM
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I'm reading everyday too Tom, I love them....and won't your friends and family be excited to get them all as a Christmas gift!!!...the gift that keeps on giving....
keep it up and keep enjoying yourself--it's very clear that you are having a great time and learning a thing or two too!!!
Amy
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Robert_Oddo
post Jun 24 2005, 12:13 AM
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Tom,
These jounals are great. I have read almost every entry.
Bob
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Tom_Crumrine
post Jun 24 2005, 03:09 AM
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That's awesome everyone--I can't wait to read all of your journals.

Thanks so much!

Tom
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