This past weekend, limnology students partook on an adventure-filled annual excursion to Castle Lake.
Castle Lake, located in northern California near the city of Mount Shasta, has presented students with the opportunity of gaining crucial information for UC Davis for the past 52 years due to Professor Charles Goldman’s planned annual trips.
Students were able to collect valuable data on the lake while gaining hands-on experience. The trip featured many activities for students beyond research.
“It’s one thing to learn something in a class, it’s another to experience it,” said Jenise Snyder, teaching assistant for Goldman’s Environmental Science and Policy 151 class.
Snyder said the trip was a great chance for students to get to know one another and the lake.
Students collected benthic samples from the lake that will allow the university to have samples on record. Synder described the weekend having started with an early morning trek through the snow to the lake, followed by the students having to dig holes in the ice for the research.
“The trip was an absolute blast,” said Adam Borchard, a junior environmental science and management major.
He said that they had to clear up to two feet of snow, and drill through 10 feet of ice to reach the surface of the lake. Borchard said the trip was very helpful in terms of data collection for the UC Davis limnology department.
“Castle Lake is probably one of the most intensely studied and observed lakes in the western United States,” Borchard said.
Nicole Elen, a senior genetics major said the trip was “absolutely amazing” considering the hands-on experience that they got to reach.
Elen thinks that the sampling data collected at the lake will be very important for the department.
“They have been doing this spring sampling for over 50 years. Long term data sets like this are rare, so with Castle Lake being so consistently sampled, it makes this trip very scientifically important,” Elen said.
Upon testing for water clarity, collecting benthic samples, testing for water chemistry, sampling zooplankton and many other gatherings of data, the students ended the day with Goldman’s cooking and stories.
“Professor Goldman is an absolutely amazing professor, and he has been around long enough to have plenty of great stories to go along the scientific aspects,” Elen said.
This past trip was Professor Goldman’s last trip with a class to Castle Lake, ending a 52-year span. However, students feel his influence will continue on.
“While probably the most senior professor on campus, Dr. Goldman truly cares about the interests and concerns of his students. I really enjoyed the opportunity to apply the concepts that I have learned in the classroom into a practical setting,” Borchard said.
Snyder said she hoped the trip instilled in students how lake research is done. She believes that this trip acts as a valuable recruiting tool, and that it promotes students working together in a community setting.
This may have officially been Goldman’s last sanctioned trip to Castle Lake, but others believe that the experience of the trip will be too much of a temptation for him not to return.
“I doubt that it is Dr. Goldman’s last; the lake has been such an integral part of his life, and I think that he won’t be able to resist the urge to visit.” Borchard said.
ERIC C. LIPSKY can be reached at email@example.com.