Polar Bear Club

Gerrit and I have been participating in the year-long Gallatin Microplastics Initiative. The sampling in September was full of warm, golden light, but by the time December rolled around, our sites were hidden by a foot of solid ice. We found a thin channel to boat down, but the 30 degree water wasn’t conducive to especially functional hands, a real paddling challenge when you’re surrounded by ice undercuts and sieves. One of our sampling bottles rolled off into the frigid water, prompting Gerrit to join the “polar bear club” by diving in headfirst after it while I clung onto his sprayskirt in hopes I could prevent him from flushing under the miles of ice. He retrieved the bottle successfully, webs of ice immediately spidering across the surface of his drysuit and icicles forming off his beard.

Gerrit Before    ————————————————–>    Gerrit After

In Febuary, our site was completely bridged by ice, so we opted for hacking two feet down into the ice to reach the river. We’re looking forward to June when the river is high and we get to run some rapids while sampling! Here’s a link to ASC’s page on Nat Geo detailing what we’re doing and why we’re doing it! And here’s a slideshow ASC put together detailing our results so far on the Gallatin… 2/3 of samples have had microplastics.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/155752242″>Giving Back to the Gallatin River</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/adventurescience”>Adventure Science</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



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