Comments from the suggestion box
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. Discussion is noted below the numbered suggestions, according to the topic.
1) Team Squirrel thanks the TFS staff, especially Jeb, Molly, and the FOAs, from Jeannette Moore.
2) A common-use environmental chamber would be great!
3) It is great that the open sauna hours start at 9 pm now (3 comments)
4) Thanks to the TFS staff for the games and activities.
5) It would be great to have small hut for “alone time” and skyping.
6) Thanks to the Toolik GIS – you guys are awesome. Thanks for anticipating our project needs.
7) Please provide a ladle so that you can serve leftover soup when the kitchen staff is not present.
8) Screen doors everywhere, please.
9) Food comments included requests for fruity pebbles cereal, cocoa puffs cereal, homemade ice cream, chewing gum, and pistachio instant pudding mix. Appreciation was expressed for all of the awesome food.
Land status planning by BLM
The Toolik management team briefed the group about BLM’s upcoming revision to its resource management plan, which happens every 25 years. When more information about how to comment is available, we will solicit comments from the user community. Breck Bowden will contact NEON so that they can speak particularly to the status of Oks Creek.
Brian Barnes asked whether anyone else working at TFS would use a common-use environmental chamber. Nate Healy responded that he thought that Steve Oberbauer would use one. However, this would be a pricy item. Perhaps Steve and Brian could write a grant together to get one.
Dan White commented that the scintillation counter is going to have to be replaced in the future, as it is failing. Our direction from NSF is that George Kling will need to write an equipment grant for that, as it is outside the price range of common-use equipment.
Brian noted that the development plan for Toolik includes a dormitory, laboratory, and garage as top priorities. He told everyone that they have two votes (which they could spend on either a single building, or on two buildings), then asked for a show of hands. The vote was laboratory 14, garage 24, dormitory 4.
Nate Healy commented that we need a better picture of the lock at Imnavait, so that Alyeska, DOT, and Toolik researchers will not be confused about what should be connected together. Several Toolik researchers have been locked in at Imnavait, and others have been locked out, when either DOT or Alyeska bypassed the Toolik lock. This is a safety issue, especially if you don’t have a satellite phone. Chad commented that there is already a clear picture on the gate now. It was suggested that the chain be cut in the middle, so that the Toolik lock is not connected to the other locks, and can’t be bypassed. Jeb Timm will take care of this.
Construction on the Dalton Highway
The update on the frustrating road construction is that as soon as this round is finished, they will add another 18 inches of gravel on top of the new surface. Construction will continue through the next field season, at least. This continues to be difficult for researchers with sites that must be accessed by traveling on the Dalton Highway.
There was more discussion about vehicles. Brett commented that the white science support trucks are getting old, and we need some new ones for the long haul between Toolik and Fairbanks. Everyone expressed appreciation for the science support trucks. Thom would like to have one good one based at Toolik that can be used for the taxi runs to Prudhoe twice per week. Thom commented that all of the trucks based at Toolik are checked out on most days. Mike Gooseff commented that CPS is not providing science trucks to individual projects as much as they did in the past, and there is more demand for the science support trucks. Jeb added that the science support staff has had to do a lot of service on the project-specific trucks provided by CPS this year, as many of them have had lots of small issues. Jessica Drysdale commented that she appreciated having Jon Chapman available to drive for scientists on the Fairbanks to Toolik route, as she got into Fairbanks at 5 am on the day of her trip to Toolik. Mike Abels asked if having three truck runs between Fairbanks and Toolik per week would be helpful. Mike Gooseff thought that it would be very helpful, and would make it a lot easier to get in and out of Fairbanks, especially for people based on the East Coast. We would need more trucks to be able to do this, though, because it is not possible to turn them around fast enough with only two trucks in service on the long haul route. However, our most urgent need is to move the older trucks into “local” service at TFS, and replace them on the long haul route. A new truck is in our request to CPS for this year.
Dan White commented that common-use rafts would be useful. The MBL owns several, which are often loaned out. Cheap rafts, pumps and paddles are modest in price, perhaps $60-70 each. More canoes would also be appreciated.
A positive pressure hood for DNA/RNA extractions was requested. A vortex mixer and a minicentrifuge would also be needed, in order to extract and freeze DNA/RNA for later analysis. A positive pressure hood has recently been made available as surplus in IAB, and Toolik has spoken for it.
Thom wondered whether we need more drying ovens. Dan White felt that there are issues with drying oven space in the Wet Lab, but this may be partly due to people keeping samples in there longer than is necessary. Jessica Drysdale felt that more big drying ovens would be helpful.
Dan White thanked TFS for the 2-stage deionizer in the Dry Lab and Wet Lab. They are working great, and are very helpful.
Quality of life Issues
Dan White commented that screen doors on the labs would really be helpful. It has been a warm summer (once summer finally arrived) and ventilation in the wet lab is poor, so they like to keep the door open, but then the mosquitoes come in.
Brett commented that the new freight tracking system is linked to the reservation system, and should make the process of following your freight even smoother.
Persons who attended or provided comments afterwards:
Brie van Dam