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23 March, 2002

I believe that all of my journal entries from this day on would be meaningless unless I took time to introduce you to the SnowSTAR 2002 team. The team consists of an amazing group of men who have dedicated their lives to snow Science. Group dynamics are an integral part of the expedition’s success. This team has dynamics down to a fine art. A lifetime of science, cold, traverses, and friendship…..

That feels like a weak introduction to such a fantastic team. However, no words can accurately describe the excitement and work ethics that this team possesses. The biographies that are about to follow are brief and will only give you a small insight to the team.

Dr. Matthew Sturm is the expedition leader of SnowSTAR 2002. He is the co-principal science investigator of the research project. He works for the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) out of Fairbanks. Matthew received his B.S. in Geology from New Mexico Tech in 1978. He received his masters and doctorate in Geophysics in 1983 and 1988 from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Matthew does his work with the zest and excitement of a child. He looks at snow with the same awe and enthusiasm that one may do for the first time. He has major advancements in his career and science. He never seems to tire and hence never stops working, thinking or smiling. There are many great quotes that Matthew will say in one day but for now .. “Scientists are human, people need to know that there is humor and life in our work.”

Glen Liston is the co-principal science investigator of SnowSTAR 2002. He is a research scientist for Colorado State University. He is a modeler which means he takes the data received from the field and devises mathematical models to match the field work. He received his B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Washington in 1982. He received his Masters degree in 1986 in Geophysics from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. He received his doctorate in applied mathematics from Montana State University in 1991. Glen is an amazingly optimistic and patient person. He works in the field with utter detail. He is always thinking of ways to detail, fine-tune data collection. Glen says that the main reason he parcticipates in fieldwork is that “it allows me to know about the natural systems that Matthew is studying so I am able to make realistic mathematical models.”

Jon Holmgren is a Research Physical Scientist at CRREL. He received his BS in Geophysics in 1984. Jon is a mechanical genius. He is often thought of as a magician or wizard. He can design and build anything to accomplish any task. He smiles and chuckles while he works and sees every task as fixable. Jon says that “even the most complicated science is a make do with what you have it’s practical, hands on science” Jon is the inventor of the SnowSTAR 2002 heated sled and many of the instruments on the trip. When he is not doing work at CRREL, he spends his time working in his machine shop. His machine shop is his studio where great masterpieces are built and repaired.

Eric Pyne is the Senior Field Supervisor for the SnowSTAR 2002 expedition. He is the general Arctic field hand, handyman, and all around mechanic. He has countless years of working in the extreme cold and fixing all types of equipment. He worked in the Antarctic as a mechanic for the science staff. He describes his job as being fun “scientists describe what they want and you make things happen”. He quotes his job and responsibilities as “you keep breaking them (equipment) and I’ll keep fixing them.” When he is not doing repairs for cold science expeditions, Eric spends his time as a logger and owner of a sawmill. He is also a true Alaskan gold miner and a retired smoke jumper (forest firefighter). Pretty cool!!

Ken Tape is a Research Technician II. He is the youngest of the team and is just beginning his career as a cold scientist. He received his B.S. in Geology from Carleton College in 1999 and is currently a Masters student at the University of Fairbanks. Ken says “he likes the excitement of the process orientated science and remote wilderness in which it all takes place”

The team says that I cannot write about them without paying thanks to their mentor Carl Benson. He trained, taught and inspired all of them on Arctic science traverses. Carl was their father figure, teacher on Arctic exploration.

So there is a synopsis of the people in the SnowSTAR 2002 team. I will have to add a story so you the readers can get an understanding of the toughness and dedication of the group. Over the last 10 years, the group has spent a total of 365 days working in the field. There has been only 1 day out of those 365 days that it was too cold to work outside. It was 40 degrees with a howling wind chill. All of the other 364 days were spent doing work outside in the cold. Cold takes a whole new meaning to this team.

Ohh!! I did forget one member of the SnowSTAR 2002 team a young, female, southern school teacher who is looking for a way to excite and educate students about Science , that would be me April Cheuvront.

Temperature : 20 degrees F bright and sunny!


Still in Council finishing up some work:

Latitude 163.6 west

Longitude 64.8 North

The SnowSTAR 2002 team! Pictured left to right are: Glen Liston, Jon Holmgren, April Cheuvront, Matthew Sturm, Eric Pyne and Ken Tape

Science is happening! I am taking a SWE snow water equivalence sample. More details on SWEs later!

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