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Various Field Camp Structures, Antarctica

Location: Multiple field camps throughout Antarctica

Size: Varying from soft-shell temporary shelters to semi-permanent laboratory and berthing quarters

The United States Antarctic Program consists of research conducted by the National Science Foundation, logistics performed by several companies, and transport by the US Air Force/National Guard as well as a helicopter contractor.  Other important entities are involved, but my participation with these organizations in particular as a lead field carpenter placed me in some of the most pristine and beautiful settings imaginable.  It was my reverence for these sacred places that motivated energy-efficient construction, creative [scarce] material application, minimal production of waste, and function-specific design.  The harsh polar environment further demanded durable construction and structures that are easily maintained.  Alternative power generation approaches such as photovoltaics, micro wind turbines, and others were typically implemented.  Planning for such projects required careful consideration for logistical preparation, execution, and documenting of the camp construction, special projects, periodic maintenance, and camp openings & closings.

Responsibilities included: leading the small group in project scheduling, design, construction, material & tool selection, proper winterization, personal protection equipment, accident hazard analysis, establishing effective and enjoyable interdepartmental team dynamics, basic food & shelter needs, sufficient acclimatization, redundant communications, regular meteorological observation, medical wilderness first responder certification, waste treatment, coordinating helicopter operations, and load planning.

Self-sufficient buildings

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