Past, present, and future.

2008-06-22 17:37:29.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Meteorologist

How I feel: Illuminati

My last week off, I watched “Kung Fu Panda” and there was a quote that I thought seemed fitting in describing everything that is going on at the Observatory. It wasn’t an original line but a parable that has been around for some time. It went: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.” The parts about yesterday and tomorrow are very true but the part about today is debatable. It is a gift but if feels like getting a book or a sweater for a gift. It is not what you wanted but you make the best of the situation and appreciate the thought behind it.

But let me back up and explain “yesterdays” history to define why I feel this way. Last month, Kyle caught us off guard in announcing that he would be ending his tenure with us on June 13th. He had given us a heads up that he might be leaving towards the end of the year but not in a matter of weeks. To say the very least, it threw us for a loop. It meant the lost of a shift leader, a staff meteorologist, a weather observer and a friend. So like every other time someone leaves here, the shell game of moving observers around returns.

I have been here going on three years (currently the longest observer) and I have worked with eleven observers, seven of which have left to pursue different careers. I worked with 24 interns, 1 extern and 1 space grant intern (there have been other space grant interns but only one has lived up here during their internship, usually they work in Bartlett, NH). I have also met close to 100 volunteers and hundreds of edutripers, close to 50 German students, countless hiking groups, and multitudes of tourists. So working with new faces is sort of to be expected. And now that we have three observers on each shift, it makes it easier to find a suitable replacement. Now that we have three observers on each shift, the only down side is, we each have a role which means we have to shuffle around to fill these positions and maintain a balance.

On each shift we have an education observer, a staff meteorologist, and an IT observer. Also, one of these observers doubles as a shift leader. Prior to Kyle leaving, the shifts were broken up like this:
Shift 1: Kyle (shift leader, staff meteorologist), Stacey (educational observer) and Mike (IT observer)
Shift 2: Brian (Shift leader, educational observer), Steve (IT observer) and Ryan (staff meteorologist)
After a list of ideas on how to fill Kyle’s position, the shifts will now be shuffled to look like this:
Shift 1: Steve (shift leader, IT observer), Stacey (educational observer), and Mike (IT observer)
Shift 2: Brian (Shift leader, educational observer) and Ryan (staff meteorologist)
Things will be mixed up even more once we hire another staff meteorologist (keep an eye here for when to apply). Mike, me and the new person, whoever they might be, will be shuffling the shifts even more. So this leads us to the present, the unwanted gift. It is not what we wanted but we are making the best of the situation and appreciating the thought process behind the shuffle.

So what about the future? Well, as far as I know, no other observers are looking to leave any time soon. We will get new interns this fall, hopefully (we only have one applicant as of this writing). We will meet plenty of new volunteers, edutrippers, daytrippers, hikers and visitors. We will be starting our Subaru Science in the Mountains, a series of free topics from interesting people in interesting scientific fielfs from across the US. And we will be holding our annual Hike-a-Thon, Seek the Peak. So never a dull moment here on the summit.

On a personal note, I am really excited about Seek the Peak because for the first time, I will be participating by hiking up. I have helped in the past by registering people, carrying boxes, and setting up but this year I decided to go full on. I even set up an online donation page , so if you have not sponsored anybody, I am an option. If you don’t want to help me, there are over 200 other people you can sponsor. But just to throw this out there, regardless of how much I raise, I will not enter my name in any of the drawings since I am all about supporting where I work, not myself. So I look forward to hitting the trails with everyone that has registered so far.

 

Ryan Knapp,  Meteorologist

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