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26 January, 2003

January 26, 2003

Meet the Team

As Pete gets ready to leave us to head back to the states, I realized I haven't actually introduced my team members to you. Today's journal will be to give you a close-up of each of these great people. To have been assigned to a group like this one was a stroke of luck. They are all hard workers, have a passion for what they do, and have fun while doing it. They are level headed, cool thinkers in a tight spot, and the team I would want to have with me in any emergency. I couldn't be prouder to call them colleagues…and friends. (The following is in no parcticular order except this is how I caught each of my team mates to ask them questions.)

Pete Spatz: Meet "Pepperoni Stick" or "Eats Bats" (radio nicknames)

Pete and I met in the LA airport, but I recognized him from the picture he had sent by e-mail of him wearing "froggy" as he took measurements in a river back home. I knew from that picture that he would be a fun guy with whom to work and travel.

Pete works for the USGS (US Geological Survey) out of the Wyoming office. He has been with the USGS for three years, and is on Diane McKnight's stream team to help collect data using the protocols established by his office. Before working for USGS, Pete was with the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).

He hasn't been to Antarctica before, but he did his senior thesis in Dunedin, NZ. He took a geology field trip for that course that traveled around NZ.

Pete's passion is fly fishing and whitewater kayaking. He hopes to eventually go back to Montana to live.

Jen Baeseman: Meet "Jelly Bean" or "Jimmy Buffett"

Jen is a PhD student who specializes in the study of acid mine drainage. Her passion is studying nitrogen transfer in eco-systems. She has been a TA (teaching assistant) for Diane McKnight at the University of Colorado at Boulder, or CU, and Diane asked her to head up "algae ops" on this trip to Antarctica.

Jen has been my "boss" on this trip, and often my roommate, too. I am lucky for that. We have worked well collegially and have formed a close friendship in the process. She has taught me a lot about the process of field science and methods in a science lab. And she can always make me laugh!

Jen grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, and went to school at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. She then got her masters degree at the University of Minnesota before continuing her graduate work at CU. Look out. Someday soon she will be a professor at a major university. I don't think there is any stopping her in her quest to reach her dreams and goals.

Erin Van Matre: Meet "En Vogue"

Erin has just finished defending her master's thesis under the guidance of Diane McKnight. She spent three years working with the phytoplankton collected from the Taylor Valley lakes in Antarctica, and this trip brings her to the field to see the area about which she has so much knowledge!

Erin loves to hike and run, and after a long day of working in the field she will often come back to F6 and do yoga to relax. I admire the active lifestyle she has. She loves to climb mountains and camp, and she coaches girls' gymnastics back home in Boulder. As a coach, she has first aid training, and that training came in handy when she was with me when I broke my thumb!

Daryl Moorhead: Meet "Dinty Moore"

Daryl gained an interest in Antarctica when he was asked to be an outside reviewer for the National Science Foundation. He critiqued the programs and wrote a review. He is one of the few, (maybe the only) scientist who is a modeler for both desert and Arctic eco-systems. Modelers describe systems in mathematical terms. The LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) team needed a modeler with his background, so he was asked to join them in their studies in Antarctica.

Daryl is a professor of ecological and environmental problems at the University of Toledo in Ohio. His wife is a horticulturalist at the Toledo Zoo and together they have three children. Their family enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. Daryl can't fish in Antarctica, but boy does he get in a lot of hiking and camping!

Karen Cozzetto: Meet "Krispy Kreme"

You have to love Karen's quick smile and her giggle, but I admire her take charge attitude. Karen came to Antarctica for the first time this year and arrived alone. She opened F6 with the help of one other person from another team. Everything was new and she learned by doing. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for her, but it was great for us. She had everything organized and ready to go when we arrived.

Karen is working on her PhD in water resources under Diane McKnight. She works twice as hard as everyone else as she does Diane's stream research and conducts her own studies of permafrost, too. I admire her dogged determination to get the job done even when she is dead tired.

John Gartner: Meet "JG" or "Johnny G"

John has been our comic relief. He is quick to jump on a snow mobile with no shirt just for laughs. But don't let his humor fool you. He is one of the hardest working guys around and completely serious about the science. John just defended his masters' thesis on erosion after wildfires. He was in the right place at the right time to be on Diane McKnight's Antarctica team, and we were lucky to get him.

John's passions take him outdoors. You will find him skiing, bouldering, surfing, and camping. He likes to sail and has been a leader on Outward Bound trips. He has wilderness first aid training, and I was glad he was also with me when I broke my thumb!

1. Pete stops for a moment to pose while working in the field.

2. Jen and Erin geared up and off to work they go. Every night we would pack our gear to be ready to go to a new site in the morning. Bottles and sample bags had to be labeled carefully and packed. All of our instruments and their rods and tripods and extra batteries had to be readied. Batteries for Theo, the surveying instrument, and our handheld radios had to be charged.

3. Daryl in the kitchen at F6.

4. Karen in her helmet, all strapped in for a helo ride to one of our more remote sites. Our helmets plugged into the radio system so we could talk to the pilot and helo tech. This helo is a "212".

5. John posing with an incredible ventifact.

6. After Pete and Daryl left the Dry Valleys, John was all alone with the four girls. It doesn't seem to bother him too much though!

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