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Baron and the Loch Vale Watershed featured on Exploring Estes Park podcast

By Caitlin Charlton

If you have spent any period of time around the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, chances are you have heard the words “Loch Vale Watershed” or “the Loch” thrown around quite frequently. Started by Dr. Jill Baron, senior scientist at the United States Geological Survey and senior research scientist at NREL, the Loch Vale Watershed in Rocky Mountain National Park has been a hub for long term ecological research and monitoring since 1982.

Dr. Jill Baron, USGS senior scientist and NREL senior research ecologist, at Sky Pond in the Loch Vale Watershed.

The collaborative research in the watershed between Colorado State University, the USGS and National Park Service has not only been a star in numerous seminal scientific publications, but also in various news articles and radio shows over the past few decades. Most recently, the ongoing research was featured on an episode of the Exploring Estes Park podcast.

Podcast host Aaron Millar, Loch Vale Watershed manager Tim Weinmann, and graduate student Caitlin Charlton on the hike up to the Loch, the subalpine lake in the watershed.

On March 2, 2021, Baron and her team took Aaron Millar, travel writer and host of Exploring Estes Park, on a winter field work journey up into the watershed. The podcast titled “Living Lab” documents live from the field the history of the Loch Vale Watershed, a unique day of winter fieldwork and the widespread impact the past 38 years of research in the Loch Vale watershed has on Colorado and beyond.

Sit back, relax and let the sounds from the field and words of Millar, Baron and others transport you up 10,000 feet into the heart of winter in Rocky Mountain National Park as we sit in these scorching summer days. The podcast is available for listening on all available streaming platforms.

The team drills a hole in the ice covered Loch to collect water samples.