Posted by: atowhee | February 11, 2017


Are the U.S. Geological Survey Climate Science Centers doomed?

I ask as a one-time summer employee of the USGS.  The USGS gave me my first real job after high school.  The summer after my freshman year in college I worked as a rod-man for the field surveyor from the USGS.  We were in rural Minnesota, starting south in Madelia and ending up the summer in Red Lake Falls.  There the nearest city was Winnipeg.  August 12th it snowed on us.  Our truck was attacked by a badger because we’d parked over his sett.   The deer flies bit harder, faster and meaner than all the mosquitoes you could launch from whatever marsh you could find.  Breakfast at the diner was 90 cents, with bacon, toast (no brown bread), eggs and grapefruit juice.  I could drink that stuff in those days.

I was under age but the local used car man in Red Lake Falls sold me my first car, a beat-up, bluke-gray ’57 Chevy. Low-end model, not even a Bel-Air.  At high speeds (over 50) you had to hold onto the gear shift (it was an automatic) to keep it from sliding into neutral.  I spent a week’s salary on that old beater–$90. That was 1964. A hometown friend was working for the USGS over in North Dakota.  One weekend we drove to Winnipeg in that car to see a movie. Crossing the border meant nothing.  Those were the days…

Thus, I have a very warm spot in my heart for the USGS.  It had its Midwest map center in my hometown (that connection got me that job).  The man who ran that office lived just up the road from our farm on his own sixty acres.  The USGS gave me my first summer away from home.

The USGS should be revered by birders.  It afforded time and money for much of the original research on animals across the western U.S. after the Civil War.  Florence Merriam Bailey wrote the first field guide (1902) to Western US birds, and she did so after many summers camping with her USGS-employed husband who was doing rodent research in the West. She also wrote the first book about birding with binocs and the first full treatment of the birds of New Mexico.florencebailey

Anyway, you can click here for link to the climate centers’ website, which has not yet been deleted.

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