October 2021 Newsletter

the power of PLACE

Rain on Gothic Mountain

Low Tide in Gothic

Water. Aspen. People. To steal a metaphor from author Barbara Kingsolver, fall brings low tide to Gothic. But unlike oceanside tidal pools, our ebbs and flows come from the sun, not the moon.

Our highwater point? One summer a health inspector expressed concern about an outlet valve on our old water treatment plant not being a full foot above ground level. Just below Judd Falls, at almost 10,000 feet in elevation, he was worried about a flood filling the valley, backflowing into the treatment plant and spoiling our drinking water. Did he know something I did not? Perhaps it was time to develop emergency plans for two pollination biologists, two stream ecologists, and two behavioral ecologists. This was an adventure that our wayward marmot, Fork Kardashian (link to one of the articles) might be eager to sign on to.


Ian Billick - Director RMBL

Ian Billick | PhD
Executive Director, RMBL


Brittney Cleveland Summer 2021

Brittney Cleveland - Water and bugs

It’s interesting how a scientist’s research trajectory can change over a summer. One minute you’re all about the deep blue sea, and the next minute you’re overturning river rocks to find insects.

That’s one of the cool things about science. You never know where it may lead you, both geographically and intellectually. Brittney Cleveland is a graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a native of Los Angeles. She has spent her last two summers at RMBL. In 2020, her research at RMBL was funded through the National Science Foundation’s REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program. In 2021, she was awarded the Ryan Brown Fellowship, a RMBL fund established in 2000 in memory of former RMBL student Ryan Kenneth Brown.

Brittney graduated with a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental sciences, and she saw herself becoming a marine biologist. But that was before RMBL captured her imagination. Here she was, high in the Colorado Rockies, studying micro invertebrates in the ponds at RMBL last year and, this summer, studying the food source of trout in the East River.