May 2020 E Newsletter

the power of PLACE

Adaptation is Important

Field scientists enjoy studying evolution in the field but are less excited to be in the middle of it themselves.  Gothic will be different this summer!  Having operated through the Great Depression and World World II, RMBL curates one of the largest collections of long-term field studies.  The show goes on!

RMBL has received approval for an operating plan from public health that will allow us to house scientists in Gothic.  We are eliminating shared bedrooms, so we will operate at about two-thirds capacity.  To minimize having a scientist re-introducing the virus to Gunnison County and to keep the virus from spreading within Gothic, we will have aggressive containment procedures.  We will require scientists to self-isolate for 7 days upon arrival, conduct daily symptom-monitoring, and use face masks.

Ian Billick - Director RMBL

Ian Billick | PhD
Executive Director, RMBL


Rachel Dickson

Cold Comfort

In a normal year, RMBL scientists return to their universities at the end of summer and, except for the fall youth program, things get quiet around here. But Gothic doesn’t go into hibernation. While everyone else is back home, there are a few hardy souls who stay in Gothic through the long, snowy winter.

They clean and manage the Nordic ski huts used for winter rentals. They shovel snow off the dining hall roof. They take care of all the ongoing maintenance that keeps RMBL functional. One of those caretakers is Rachel Dickson, a graduate of the University of Montana, who has spent the last three summers at RMBL. She began as a student in the undergraduate program and then worked as a research assistant for the next two seasons. This past winter was her first as a caretaker. The snowpack was below average, so she adjusted quickly. It was only when spring and a global pandemic arrived that things got weird.

Dr. Ian Billick talks history with the Crested Butte Heritage Museum
Preserving Gothic's Buildings
RMBL Scientist Amanda Henderson on winter research
How Routine Monitors Weather the Pandemic Storm
RMBL Scientists Letter in Science Magazine
Support early-career field researchers
Dr. Dan Blumstein and Dr Ian Billick on WHYY Radio
Science Interrupted: The Impact of Coronavirus