Comments from the suggestion box
The suggestion box was quite full, as it hadn’t been opened since the User Forum in August of last year. A wide variety of suggestions were received, some more serious than others. Those comments concerning food were passed on to the cooks. Others are detailed below. Responses by TFS management are in parentheses. There was more discussion centered around these suggestions, perhaps because the box was opened first. Discussion is noted below the numbered suggestions, according to the topic.
1) No camp trucks should go south before 9 am without approval and a change to the user orientation. (In trying to avoid traffic problems, some trucks have been leaving early. This is only OK if all passengers agree to it.)
2) Please buy a set of soil sieves for common-use. (These will be purchased).
3) It would be great to be able to see who is scheduled on the science trucks ahead of time. (Passengers will be notified, but there are some privacy concerns with making this information available for all on the calendar.)
4) Please get a better screen for the community center, like the one that is in hanging in the former community center tent.
5) Please take the full-length mirror out of the sauna.
6) A portable hard-drive of movies would be great.
7) Thanks to Thom, Faye, Jeb, and Randy, from Tracy Dahl.
8) More canoes for use on the lake would be nice.
9) Camp bikes should have a rack on the back and panniers. A trailer hitch would also be good, so that it is easier to bring equipment. (Brett commented that TFS is in the process of upgrading the bikes, and this will be taken into account.)
10) More camp bikes, please!
11) Another snowmachine trailer that is capable of being pulled on the haul road would be nice (Jeb Timm agrees).
12) Please provide some magnetic stir bars for common use. (These have already been purchased).
13) Please provide a couple of copies of John Hobbie and Alex Huryn’s book for common use.
14) Please provide a spotting scope on the new dining hall deck, and some common-use binoculars in the dining hall, or for check-out from the EDC. (Binoculars are available for check-out from the EDC.)
15) The science support staff members are awesome!
16) Please provide a common-use hair dryer in the women’s shower area, for cold days.
17) The new sauna hours are great!
18) The new sauna hours are terrible! Women’s hour is not long enough, very crowded and rushed (2 comments).
19) A Conex with re-usable science supplies for general use would be very helpful to students.
20) Thanks to Pete and Brett for their terrific help in Fairbanks.
21) I love the plants in the dining hall.
22) Would it be possible to get a set of 5 and 8 lb weights for the health club, for people with smaller muscles?
23) Great camp, love it every time! – Joe Yarkin
24) Please provide a bicycle for the EMT.
25) Food comments included kudos to the chefs for providing a “middle-eastern” 4th of July dinner, and requests for popsicles, cinnamon Life Cereal, tamales, jello, flavored seltzer water, and cashew/almond butter. Appreciation was also expressed for club soda.
There was quite a bit of discussion about the internet, again. Greg Selby commented that connectivity from lab 5 (a tent lab) is hit or miss. Gus Shaver commented that it was terrible in the first few days he was here, but it is a bit better now. Mike Abels commented that our plan is to move the GIS connectivity to fiberoptic cable, rather than wireless access as it is now, and also provide fiberoptic connections to the wet and dry labs and lab 4, by running fiberoptic cable along the utilidor. Ultimately, we would like to provide fiberoptic connectivity to all of the buildings in camp, and also install a mesh network for wireless access. In the short-term, OIT has hidden the Toolik subnet (which has limited IP addresses and is primarily used for devices that require static IP addresses) from users, and is allowing Toolik users access to all of the IP addresses in the whole UAF system through the UAlaska network. This should improve the ability to get an IP address.
There was discussion about the camp vehicle. Randy Fulweber commented that the TFS camp vehicles are becoming expensive and difficult to maintain. Gus Shaver commented that it has become progressively harder for the Arctic LTER to buy vehicles using grant funds. He stated that NSF DEB will no longer support the purchase of vehicles, and the Arctic LTER group is under pressure to replace their aging vehicles. He would like to get another vehicle next year for the Arctic LTER group. He appreciates having the NSF science support trucks based at TFS, but feels that there are not enough of them to meet the needs of the Arctic LTER. There was some discussion about the possibility of buying trucks at the Alyeska auctions, or military surplus. Jen Mercer asked whether was an alternative to having more trucks. Brett Biebuyck commented that this would only occur if there was a revolution in logistics. More discussion is needed on trucks.
Construction on the Dalton Highway
Construction on the Dalton Highway to straighten out the curves south of TFS continues this year. Once again, Toolik researchers have to wait for a pilot car where the Toolik access road meets the Dalton Highway. Although it is planned that there will be no more than 30 minute wait for a pilot car, sometimes it takes longer. Jose Luciani commented that waiting for the pilot car takes a lot of time away from being in the field, and this makes people unhappy. There was general agreement about this, though now we understand the system, and the road construction workers are generally helpful.
John Moore commented that he is very happy that TFS is servicing his microscopes (which we do because he makes them available for common use when he is not here). He also requested that we consider purchasing a common-use inverted compound microscope for viewing protozoans. Greg Selby commented that it would be great to have a portable sink system that could be moved between the tent labs for washing glassware, etc. Jeb Timm commented on the need for snowmachine sleds for winter use by researchers, and the need to get an outboard motor for the boat that Anne Hershey’s group donated to TFS. Gus agreed that this would be great, and would take some of the pressure off of the Arctic LTER motor boats. Thom Walker commented that it would be good to have boat requests documented in the reservation system. There was also more discussion about the need for more bicycles in camp (as noted in the suggestion box). Jeb suggested getting some tricycles for use in camp, as they come with built-in cargo storage. Gus thought that was a good idea. Brett commented that the less expensive tricycles tend not to hold up well, but we might try one. Celeste Carter commented that the Biolink Depot has donated scientific equipment such as laminar flow hoods, and might be a good option for acquiring common-use equipment.
Quality of life Issues
The multiple comments in the suggestion box about the change in sauna hours implemented last year generated a lot of discussion (the sauna is always a hot topic at Toolik). Thom suggested modifying the hours further by starting the women’s sauna hour at 7:30 pm, which would extend the “hour” by 30 minutes. Then, the men would have from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, with open hours starting at 9 pm. John Moore stated that he likes to be able to use the men’s sauna after dinner. Greg Selby said that he was OK with starting at 6:30 pm if the water was already hot, and said that he thought the men don’t need as much time as the women. Thom agreed to have staff light the sauna at 4:30 pm, and we will see how this works.
Justin Johnson commented that the Toolik pad seems very rough, with lots of rocks exposed where the ground was disturbed by moving the dormitories last fall. Thom commented that a load of gravel would be nice.
Persons who attended or provided comments afterwards: