Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Artists, Epidemiologists, and Oatmeal: Stories from Third Session

By: Johnica Morrow

The final week of third session has begun! Last week we saw the arrival and departure of three artists in residence and the scampering of students perfecting projects that will be due by the end of this week.  This week is sure to be just as eventful. Students continue to monitor their crayfish, toads, minnows, snails, and damselflies that are being treated with everything from clay to antibiotics. We have also welcomed a new set of artists to the campus.

Art Continues at Cedar Point
Last Thursday, our three artists, Zach Jacobs, Trudie Teijink, and Kelly Weber, were kind enough to share their work with an audience of students, professors, and staff members. Zach is working on a creative non-fiction piece about his time working on an archaeological excavation in Turkey. Trudie is a printmaker working on a number of different pieces inspired by Lake Ogallala and parts of the surrounding landscape. Kelly is a poet who is also working on various pieces inspired by nature and the study thereof. Each of these artists had unique perspectives of the region and chose CPBS as the place to hone their skills and fine-tune their products. We were glad to have them and elated for them to share their works in progress with those of us living, working, and learning here at the station.

Kelly, Zach, and Trudie smile after presenting their projects to a CPBS audience.
Associate director, Jon Garbisch, enjoys the artists' presentations.
Though these artists have returned to their homes to continue working in another venue, we have seen the arrival of new artists in residence for this week. One artist is collecting plants as part of a photography project. The other artists are here to paint a mural in the computer/sitting area of the library in the Gainsforth Resource Center. The artists hope to integrate the local flora and fauna into their art in a way that captures the essence of CPBS and the nature of the research conducted here. Before, during, and after photos of the library walls' transformation will be forthcoming.

Epidemiology at Otter Creek
Students capturing damselflies at Otter Creek.
I was lucky enough to be able to tag along with the Field Epidemiology class last Friday as they embarked on an adventure to Otter Creek. This is a great region for collecting different types of damselflies from those that the class has been capturing for other aspects of the course. This site is home to Ruby Spot Damselflies (Hetaerina americana) and to Ebony Jewelwing Damselflies (Calopteryx maculata). The sexual dimorphism between the sexes of both of these species is astounding in and of itself, but that's not why the course instructor, Dr. Devin Nickol, has his students collect them. "The damselflies in Otter Creek seem to have far fewer gregarines and ectoparasitic mites than damselflies that we collect at other sites," says Dr. Nickol, "We don't really know why this is the case, but it demonstrates epidemiological principles like variations in the prevalence of disease and may be linked to ecological factors such as agricultural disturbance."

Field Epidemiology, 2015
After students had collected their damselflies, the class headed toward the Ash Hollow Cemetery to see a monument to an Oregon Trail traveler who had succumbed to cholera en route. Dr. Nickol spends some time talking about cholera in his lectures because the stories of people like John Snow (the original, not the Game of Thrones character) so perfectly introduce the early development of epidemiology. Dr. Nickol wanted to show students that cholera was a problem even in this country at one point in time, and the monument to Rachel Pattison demonstrates this concept from a local perspective.

Dr. Nickol points to the grave memorial for local cholera victim who died on the Oregon Trail.

Before heading back to the station, the class made one last stop at Windlass Hill. This area was a difficult place for travelers to traverse with their wagons. The ruts from these treks are still visible, and mark the entrance into the Ash Hollow area and into the North Platte River Valley. Students hiked to the top of Windlass Hill to see the landscape unfold before them, fairly different than the view seen by those traveling along the Oregon Trail so many years ago,  but still retaining the scars from the treacherous crossings made by early 19th century Americans.

Field Epidemiology student, Megan Wright, begins the trek up to Windlass Hill.

Culinary Art in Oatmeal
The fact that our kitchen staff prepares a wide range of different oatmeal flavors isn't new. The "Oatmeal of the Day" was a thing that started last summer. However, it hasn't really been talked about here on our blog, so I felt compelled to let all of you other CPBS fans out there know about a tradition that has carried over into this summer.

Even those of us who like oatmeal and recognize how healthy it can be for you can easily see how it would get boring day in and day out. There's only so many things you can put in it, right? Wrong! Our kitchen staff puts their culinary creativity to work almost every day as they prepare traditional and totally inventive versions of this classic breakfast food. We've had everything from your standard cinnamon-raisin, strawberries and cream, and blueberry oatmeals to deliciously different concoctions such as lemon poppyseed, pina colada, and coconut lime.

"It's fun working in the kitchen because we have the freedom to make all kinds of different things," says Sam Pellatz, a member of this summer's kitchen staff, "Especially, with making the oatmeal, we have complete culinary freedom to make whatever kind we want for the day. Be it classic or completely off of the wall. There are no limits."

Some of the other featured oatmeals of the day have included trail mix, cranberry orange, banana nut, red velvet cake, apple cinnamon, peanut butter banana, strawberry chocolate, turtle, peaches and cream, and pumpkin pie. There have been many other fun flavors over the last two summers and the staff members are continually working to create new and exciting dishes to start our mornings off right. I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Third Session Begins as the Fourth of July Approaches

By: Johnica Morrow

As Independence Day approaches, the station has been a flurry of activity. This week has seen the excitement of students enduring the beginnings of third session and the influx of people coming to the area to celebrate the Fourth here at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala. With the celebration right around the corner, the station is abuzz with excitement!

Students have been enjoying the nice weather as they collect specimens for their classes. For Dr. Bill Glider's LIFE 121 (Fundamentals of Biology II) course, students have been running around with insect nets hoping to back wasps and dragonflies to add to their collections. When the running gets exhausting, they have been able to pluck plants for pressing before curating them for their plant collections. Luckily, these organisms don't often escape during collecting! These students have been making good use of the station's resident herbarium and entomological collections to assist them with identifying the local flora and fauna.

Simultaneously, Dr. Devin Nickol's BIOS 452 (Field Epidemiology) course has kept students busy studying the core concepts of disease transmission. This class has taken field trips to classic collecting spots like Beckius Pond and Arapahoe Prairie to pick up things like grasshoppers, damselflies, amphipods, predacious diving beetles, and, most recently, toads. These organisms, and often their parasites, are then used as model systems to demonstrate epidemiological concepts, such as mortality rates and disease prevalence within populations.

The holiday weekend also has some of our resident interns busy with surveying people about invasive and endangered species. Our invasive species interns, Ty Trump and Ashlee Wright, hang out at docks around Lake McConaughy offering courtesy boat inspections to prevent the transmission of the dreaded zebra mussels that can devastate naive aquatic ecosystems.

Our plover interns, Peyton Burt and Jessica Tramp, are prepared to ask hundreds of people questions about the endangered birds that are nesting on the shores of Lake McConaughy during this busy weekend. With the excess of rain this year, the lake is almost at 100%, which is great except that much of the beach has disappeared. This leaves people to be more concentrated on the beach than in previous years, and makes our interns' jobs of monitoring the nesting sites of these birds all the more important.

Adult incubating eggs

People who willingly take surveys from any of these interns are rewarded for their time with free koozies to keep their water and sodas cool in the hot July sun during their days at the beach. These surveys are important for monitoring the wildlife around the lake and for preserving the natural history of the organisms that call Lake McConaughy home...even if only for part of the year.

So, if you find yourself out at Lake McConaughy celebrating this country's independence with your friends and family, please be sure to get your boat checked out for unwanted hitchhikers and to share the sand with the endangered birds that have a summer home here!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hello Goodbye: The Comings and Goings of CPBS Friends

By: Johnica Morrow

The wind is whipping through the trees here this morning as we begin the final week of 2nd session. Before long, the station will see the faces of eager educators here to engage in a geology workshop called the Earth Science Institute. They will stay through Thursday to learn all about the basics of geology through activities that can be used in their classrooms. This week's seminar will be geared toward the geology of CPBS and will involve a hike led by our very own Associate Director, Jon Garbisch. The hike will commence after dinner (around 7:00pm) on Wednesday.

The summer seminar series continued last week with a poetry reading. Dr. Larkin Powell, professor of conservation biology and animal ecology at the School of Natural Resources, read excerpts from his recently published book of prose and poems titled Cursed with Wings. This collection was inspired by Powell's time in the field both domestically and abroad. Some of the pieces were clearly written as a result of the time he and his family spent in Namibia as part of the Fulbright program in 2009. Others were written about the Nebraskan landscape and her history of human occupation. The book is divided into three sections; one about frustration, one about the flickering moments in life, and one about the end, loss, and grief. Powell read pieces from each of these sections and had the audience laughing, near tears, and in silent awe for the hour. This was an exciting and different way of utilizing our seminar series that went over well with students, faculty, and staff. We were lucky to have Dr. Powell agree to share with us...especially since he was asked the day before if he would be willing to speak!

All proceeds from the sale of Dr. Powell's book go to support the Future Professor Preschool in Namibia, a school that teaches rural children English to that they are able to attend elementary in the city. This was where his wife, Kelly, volunteered while the family was in Namibia. You can purchase a copy of Cursed with Wings online here.

Last week also saw the end of the 2-week art course, Eco-Printing into Bookmaking, and we said goodbye to our enthusiastic and hard-working group of newly-minted printing experts. The last few days of class were a blur of pressure-printing and experimentation with fabrics. The class created their own "Art at Cedar Point" woodblock and made t-shirts. They also pressed some of their designs onto tie-dyed bandannas that were laying around waiting to be used. The students used everything from plants to fish to create beautiful books inspired by their time here at CPBS. It was sad to see them pack up and leave...the library and conference room seem empty, forgotten, and abandoned without scraps of paper covering the tables and pots of ink waiting to be rolled onto blocks, stencils, and plexiglass. What's that saying? Art is ephemeral. I suppose that makes it fitting to know that there was magic happening (seriously, I saw how transferring worked...even after being explained the science, it still seemed like magic...), but now the class is over, the students have left, and it's time for new faces to use these spaces in different ways.

A new batch of tie-dyed CPBS t-shirts has made its way into our inventory over the last few weeks. The designs were created by staff and interns residing at the station. The brilliant colors come compliments of Dharma Dyes, a professional-grade product that has phenomenal staying-power. The shirts came out looking rather professional if I do say so myself! Be sure to grab one on your next trip out to CPBS to show support for your favorite field station!

The Comparative Physiology class is still going strong for their final week. Between tracking and temperature-taking, the students have learned a great deal about the biology of ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata).

After the educators taking the Earth Science Institute workshop leave at the end of this week, that station will see the arrival of 4-H students here for a weekend-long Insect Camp. This is sure to be a blast for kids learning all about the entomological life buzzing, fluttering, crawling, and swimming around the station. Pictures to come!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Snippets from Second Session

By: Johnica Morrow

The station's second summer session has been full of expression and excitement! We are almost half-way through this session and we have seen the bright eyes of budding scientists, the excitement of discovery, and the outpouring of creativity all at once.

Here's some highlights from the past week and a half:

Young Nebraska Scientists Enjoy Biology at CPBS
Last week a charter bus arrived at the station full of high school students anxious to start a week-long exploration into the biological world. These students came from a variety of schools throughout Nebraska to listen, learn, and immerse themselves in the station's culture. This is the third year that CPBS has hosted the Young Nebraska Scientists. The program includes a variety of activities led by biologists from a diversity of research realms. The students learned how to  track, trap, dissect, and identify organisms including turtles, insects, and the parasites of fish and small mammals. The students were able to stay on campus to get the full cedar point experience in the same way that UNL students do while taking our courses.
Zac Warren Presents Bat Acoustics Research for Seminar Series
Wednesday the CPBS summer seminar series continued with a talk given by new School of Natural Resources graduate student, Zac Warren. Zac spoke to a crowd of seasoned biologists, interns, and art students about the research he is conducting this field season. His work involved recording the sounds produced by a variety of bats across the state of Nebraska to gather range data on these winged mammals. His seminar provoked a discussion of bat ecology that involved artists and scientists alike and left the audience with new understandings for how researchers study these
amazing animals.

Comparative Physiology Students on the Move for Box Turtles
Dr. Gwen Bachman's Comparative Physiology class has been busy working with box turtles to understand the way that these poikilotherms function. The year-old turtle enclosure nestled atop the hill to the north of Goodall Lodge has seen lots of traffic from chelonian and mammal feet over the last week and a half. Dr. Bachman's graduate students, Abby Neyer and Ben Reed,  have offered additional help and guidance for the novice turtle researchers as they study what makes these tetrapods tick.

Eco-Printing Into Bookmaking Students Inspired by Nature
Students taking Dr. Karen Kunc's Eco-printing into Bookmaking course have also been busy this session. Bursts of creativity are scattered throughout the library and conference room as students press, paint, and transfer their work onto pages destined for hand-stitched books. The students have drawn inspiration from plants, protists, fish, snakes, and a variety of other things that the landscape has to offer. Using both traditional and experimental techniques for working with organic material, the class has produced a number of beautiful prints that have been integrated into their projects.
Experimenting in the Kitchen: Vegan-Friendly Meringues
This morning our kitchen staff also got into the experimental spirit. After preparing the lunch entree, which contained chick peas, they decided to try making meringues out of the left over juice from the beans. "Very skeptically, we placed chick pea juice in the mixer, turned it on, and walked away," said kitchen manager, Airrica Roddy. "When we came back, we were in utter disbelief because of how beautifully it had whipped up." A little sugar, vanilla, and almond extract later, one of this summer's best-loved desserts was born. We have had an unusually high number of vegetarian students this session as well as a vegan student. Making a vegan-friendly version of the classic meringue was certainly a first in station history and this method also utilizes what would otherwise be tossed out after extracting chick peas from their container.

Upcoming Events for Second Session 
The last week of this session (June 22nd-26th), CPBS will host a workshop for educators called the Earth Science Institute.

The station will also be hosting a 4-H Insect Camp over the last weekend of this session.

More about current events at CPBS to come in future posts!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cooking Up a Fun Summer

By: Airicca

Hello fellow CPBS lovers! I wanted to step out of the kitchen for a moment and brag on my staff just a little.

Over the past couple of years, we tried to partner with our Hospitality, Restaurant, and Tourism Management Department with small (but awesome) success. The HRTM program is fairly new to the UNL system leaving the pool of candidates petite in number but growing rapidly. We decided that we would try again this year, since we had let it rest for a year.

Our partnership with our HRTM program did not disappoint! I had an amazing staff consisting of three HRTM students, one friend of a student, an HRTM grad from a different university, and a dietetics major from yet another university. Everyone of them was unique in education, tastes, and styles creating a kitchen that was never dull. One found a love of garlic (hehe). One decided that they didn't want to go back to their old job because it would be too boring (because everyday here is very different... kinda like a grab bag). One made authentic Italian food that was to die for. One learned a ton of kitchen skills totally applicable to cooking at home.

All of them, however, gained a lot of confidence and rightfully so. There is a very steep learning curve in a kitchen that is only open for 3-4 months out of the year, and I expected a lot out of them. They flew over that curve with no trouble and were amazing people on top of that. I'm excited and worried about next year... They've set the bar pretty darn high.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Excerpt from RISE OF THE WOBANZI (A novel inspired by CPBS)

Excerpt Submitted By: J. J. Morrow
A few people have been asking me about my zombie novel lately, so I thought I might share some of it with my fellow Cedar Pointians. I wrote the novel as part of National Novel Writer's Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2012 and just recently felt it was ready for e-publication. The story has multiple settings, but the last half of the book centers around a field station inspired by Cedar Point.  The following excerpt comes from chapter seventeen, which is titled "Disrupting Homeostasis".  I chose this particular excerpt because the last few weeks have seen lots of parasite research, so it seemed appropriate. At this point in the story, the characters have made the field station their new home and have begun research to try to figure out what causes people to turn into zombie-like creatures known as "wobanzis". The book is titled Rise of the Wobanzi and has been published as an e-book, which can be purchased from the following website: 

The Excerpt:

Connie poked her head into the lab to see Zoey staring into her microscope.  Slides were scattered all over the table around her and she had skipped the last two meals with the group in order to keep working. 
Connie walked over to her, “Z? I brought you a burger…Cayson said this is how you like them, with pickles and ketchup!”  She paused for a moment trying to gauge the reaction…or more precisely the lack thereof…from the dedicated biologist. “You really should eat something.  The mind can’t work if the belly is empty.”

Zoey pulled her tired eyes back from the eyepieces of her compound microscope and rubbed her aching head.  She didn't realize how long she had been staring at the tiny red blood cells of seemingly healthy wobanzis.  “Thanks Connie, I shouldn't eat it in here though, let’s step outside into the hall.”

Connie smiled, “I made you coffee too, it’s on the table out there.”  Zoey grinned at the thoughtful librarian.  She couldn't help thinking about how much help Connie had been to everyone.  She carried her weight with chores (especially the gardening), she had practically memorized that book on edible fungi (which had been very helpful in supplementing their food supply), and she always seemed to intuitively know when someone needed a little cheering up.  Zoey was thankful to have such a wonderful friend who had survived all of the insanity that this new world had to offer.  She stepped out into the hall and began to eat the lukewarm burger. 

“Can I go look at your slide?” Connie asked with wide, curious eyes. 

“Sure thing,” Zoey replied, “Just don’t move anything, I need to know where I was when I stopped scanning.” An excited Connie ambled back into the lab as Zoey sipped her coffee and finished off her dinner. 

Connie came back out into the hallway a few minutes later.  “Cool stuff.  What are you looking at?”

“Blood.”  Zoey answered.

Connie nodded her head excitedly, “So what are all of those round thingies?”

Zoey gave a short laugh, “Which ones?  There are lots of red blood cells, which are the small, red, disc-shaped ones.  Then there are a number of different kinds of white blood cells, like basophils, neutrophils, eosinophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages.”

“Whoa…that’s a lot of different kinds of white blood cells.” Connie said in a stunned tone.

“Yeah, they are pretty important.  They all have different jobs, but basically they fight infection.  We've seen a lot of white blood cells in the samples, which makes sense because these came from people who are infected, but we can’t seem to find what’s causing them to become infected.  We don’t know what these cells were fighting off.” Zoey replied.

“So what is the one with the little squiggly things coming off of it?” Connie asked.

“What do you mean?” Zoey responded with a confused look on her face.

“You know, the squiggly things that were coming off of that thing that wasn't one of the red blood cells.” Connie said matter-of-factly.  She motioned Zoey back into the lab and pointed at the microscope.  Zoey sat down and looked at into the microscope. 

“Well, there are the red blood cells and that macrophage off to the right” Zoey said as she examined the field of view. 

“Yeah!” Connie exclaimed, “that thing off to the right, what are the little squiggly things coming out of it?”

Zoey stared at Connie for a moment as if she was crazy, and then returned to gazing into the eyepieces.  She stared at the macrophage and noticed a tiny flicker. “What the…” Zoey blurted out as she centered the field of view around the macrophage and went up to a higher objective lens.  Zoey adjusted her lighting and carefully brought the macrophage specimen into focus.  There, right under her nose, literally, she saw something she had not noticed in scanning the dozens of slides she had examined over the past few weeks.  The macrophage had tiny whip-like structures extending from its sides.  They were so faint that she had never noticed them before when scanning at a lower power. 

“Oh my God!  These are flagella!!!” Zoey shouted in excitement.  She jumped out of her chair and hugged Connie who was taken completely by surprise.  She started laughing and jumping up and down saying, “We found it!  We found it!  We found it!  Ha!  And it IS a parasite!!!”

Connie stood stunned wishing she knew what had just happened.  “What’s a flagella?”

Zoey’s teaching assistant instincts kicked in as she corrected Connie, “A flagellum, many flagella.”
Connie stared at her with a look of utter disorientation.  “Sorry,” Zoey replied, “I’ve been teaching biology for way too long.  That squiggly thing you saw,” Connie nodded her head as Zoey continued, “it’s not supposed to be there on a macrophage.  It is there because this thing isn’t a macrophage at all! This must be some new parasite! This could be what turns people into wobanzis!!!”

Connie’s eyes lit up as her jaw dropped, “You mean, I just did science?!” Zoey grabbed the beaming librarian for another big hug. 

“Yes!  Connie, yes!  You did wonderful science!  We have to go get the others.  I’ll grab Violet, and you go get Adelaide!”  Connie nodded enthusiastically and the two took off to find the others.
After a few minutes, it seemed like everyone had heard the news and made their way towards the laboratory.  The three biologists took turns gazing into the microscope and nodding at one another.  They spent the next few hours going through other blood samples and finding more and more of the macrophage-mimicking parasites.

The next few days were filled with a renewed sense of purpose for almost everyone.  The seedlings were growing fast and working in the garden became a new favorite pastime of most people in the group.  The raids were turning up lots of useful items that were not only good for survival, but also made living at the station more comfortable and exciting.  They were playing scavenged board games and card games that they kept in a bookshelf nestled in the back of the dining hall near the fireplace.  They were using thick, warm towels after showers.  They had even found a dehydrator and were making their own deer and turkey jerky as well as drying out some of the wild fruits that they were beginning to harvest. 

All the while, their researchers were starting to figure out how the parasite life cycle worked.  From samples, and from decapitating a few wobanzis, they had worked out more and more about the pathology of the parasites.  It seemed that the parasite mimicked macrophages in the blood to avoid being detected by the host’s immune system.  They moved and acted just like macrophages, and probably had similar receptors.  Some of the parasites would move to the salivary glands and come out in the saliva when an infected person bit someone.  This was how the parasites were transferred.  The parasites were ubiquitous in most of the blood samples they had examined.

They also found that the parasites were present in the amygdala of the brain.  This, Zoey hypothesized, was how people’s behaviors were changed.  The parasite probably changed hormone levels in the body by changing neurotransmitter levels in the brain, similar to the way that Toxoplasma gondii changes the behavior of rats. They also found that some people had the parasites in their retinas.  Violet knew that this probably caused the inflammation of the choroid in the eyes, which gave them that milky appearance in wobanzis that couldn’t see well.

It was all starting to make sense and they were learning more and more every day as the frenzied research continued.  They had taken their first steps to understanding the wobanzi disease and they now understood just why it was spread through bites.  Like all good research, the answers they discovered birthed an array of new questions.  The biggest question that was on everyone’s mind was now that the cause was known; could there be a way to prevent it?  Or better yet, could it actually be cured?

Check out other J.J. Morrow book here!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

CPBS Wraps Up Final Summer Session

By: Johnica Morrow

The final week of fourth session came to a close here at CPBS as students finished their final projects and turned in the last of their papers. With the conclusion of Field Parasitology and Ecology and Evolution, the station begins preparations to shut down for the summer. This season has seen lots of changes, which have been met with the extremes of both open excitement and resentful resistance. The summer has seen many ups and downs with students' misbehavior as well as students' amazing achievements. In this respect, the summer has been no different than any other summer here at CPBS. However, along with change often comes growth. The station has seen both literal and metaphorical growth throughout the summer.

CPBS has witnessed the growth of a garden near a kitchen where students grew their knowledge and skills as part of our partnership with UNL's Hospitality, Restaurant, and Tourism Management program. Thanks to all of our hard-working interns for rocking the kitchen this summer despite the whining of students and visiting researchers who wanted nothing but boring burgers every day! Our students picked up a wide range of culinary skills...from pastry making, to dough baking, to fish flaking, and temperature taking. They also learned all about meal planning, ordering, inventory tracking, scheduling, and other aspects of kitchen management. We've had amazing food representing countries from all over the world. We've had entrees that were both nutritious and delicious as well as desserts that were mostly just the later. We've been fortunate to have a wonderful group of hard-working individuals to represent our first successful summer with student interns all but running the CPBS kitchen. We hope that the future will bring new interns who will have very big shoes to fill after the group that graced Goodall this summer. 

CPBS has also witnessed the growth of students, two-three weeks at a time. Students arrived with enthusiastic ignorance and left with minds full of new knowledge about biological systems. It has been amazing to watch the transformation as students' faces light up while explaining a concept that they picked up during a session here at CPBS. The courses have been similar to those of the past, but something was different this year with class dynamics. Some sessions brought students with levels of discipline all too often not seen in college classes today, while others brought the opposite side of the student spectrum. With an increase in student enrollment this summer, there were many new faces in addition to familiar ones in our courses.

Today will be a flurry of cleaning, taking inventory, and putting away for the staff as the last of the students head back to Lincoln. We will have to fight the urge to sleep in this dreary weather while we prepare the station for her next big event, the Rocky Mountain Conference of Parasitologists, which will be held from September 4th-6th. This regional conference will bring in many prominent parasitologists as well as many students with promise to become such in the future. The kitchen staff is already busy planning out a menu for the conference and RMCP t-shirts have already been ordered. An experimental deal trading a waiver of room and board fees during the conference for 5 hours of volunteer help in the kitchen worked out well last year, so this year, the deal has been made more formal. A student volunteer application has been sent out to the RMCP members in hopes of getting help from some of the students who would like to offset their conference costs. This rare opportunity is mutually beneficial for CPBS and for RMCP student members who are tight on cash. If you'd like more information, you can contact Jon Garbisch or Airicca Roddy. (See CPBS website for contact information.)