We have been trying to get in all of our last requests before closing out the field season for the Wormherders. There is a process for everything. To make sure there is an orderly procession from one year to the next, everything has to be checked off.
Most of the 1000-ish people in McMurdo will be leaving in the next few weeks. This will leave the station under the care of about 100 people. They will live here throughout the long dark winter, making sure all the systems are maintained and working before next season. All the labs must be cleaned out and up. All gear check outs, checked in. Lab equipment has to be put in storage. Samples and specimens have to be packed for shipping on the vessel. Final data has to be double checked. Dorm rooms need to be dusted, vacuumed, and inspected. P bottles bleached and turned in.
Celebrating a Legacy
The McMurdo LTER is 30 years old this year. There is a recent tradition of celebrating each year with a ceremonial movie showing in the lounge, This year it also involved celebrating some of the founding members and their 30 years of leadership. Kathy and Diane's hard work and perseverance were essential in making the MCMLTER such a scientific research success. From working with and getting to know the next generation of scientists (their students), I can tell you that the amazing discoveries will continue for a long time.
Today also marked the last day on ice for several scientists. Jeb Barrett will be heading back home to teach classes and continue his ecology research at Virginia. We took a few minutes to take the team photo this morning while we were all still together.
I got a text from a fellow teacher in Missouri. Both of our schools keep honeybees and use them in our classes. Her students are doing a project about beekeeping on the different continents. For one reason or another, they didn't have a beekeeper to interview from Antarctica. Our helo flights were cancelled today so I made a video about Antarctic Beekeeping. Dr. Byron Adams questioned, after I finally uploaded my video, whether or not bees have lived in Antarctica. He brought up that the last preglacial Antarctica may have had angiosperms, and a temperate climate. I will need to update my video. You can keep bees in Antarctica! You just need to travel back in time about 33 million years.