Commentary Masayuki Kawahigashi
Impression of the AKTRU 2018 Summer Scholl
We, three Japanese participants from Tokyo Metropolitan University (TMU) has joined to Aktru Summer school managed by Tomsk State University (TSU). For these twelve days including the bus transportation, we enjoyed great Siberian nature directly by attending the excursion programs and indirectly from lectures and from views of bus windows.
The Aktru station was well facilitated as compared to another research stations in Siberia where I have visited before. I was amazed quite well working sewer systems networking toilets. Again, water supply was also well managed. The water system is important to have good quality of life at the mountainous area. Public spaces (a dinning, bathrooms, a lecture room and a shower room: BANYA) are well managed keeping clean by working stuffs. To keep those public spaces clean were quite important for participants who will be tired due to tough excursion and research works. Furthermore, clean condition is essential to keep good healthy condition. Food services were also quite nice with different menu every day. We are always glad to eat warm dishes at the dining. Dishes cooked with fires always safe from the sanitary point of view. I appreciated to run the hot sauna room every day. When I caught a cold on the second day in Tomsk, I was recovered by the hot sauna taken on the first night. To keep good health, the sauna operation is also helpful for participants. Everybody could keep their health condition well taking the enjoyable sauna every night. It was tough work to manage the sauna every night. These basic conditions are essential to keep our physical and mental health. I deeply appreciate the quality of life at the Aktru station.
Since weather condition was not so good during our stay in the station, we could not accomplish all of the field excursion. After our arrival at the station, there were only two fine days. The other days were almost rainy. In the fine days, we could visit the small Aktru glacier and the Glacier lake (Blue Lake). These excursions were nice to learn geomorphology formed due to the glacial activity. It was impressive that big rocks which have been the edge of the glacier indicated how fast the retreat of the glacier during this several decades. Running water carving the blue massive glacier was also impressive for us showing how degrading the glacier. Rock falls which sometimes occurred also indicates still unstable and active glacial topography around the region. Participants who were excited by the beautiful and active landscapes finally jumped into the Blue Lake. This action indicates our impression to the nature in Aktru. Despite of rather low development of soils in this area, vegetation growth was well compared to other Siberian regions. Precipitation can be support the primary productivity in this area. Vegetation survey was a good experience for the participants. The participants can recognize more this area well from the view point of vegetation, if any basic data including vegetation composition, its productivity and stand ages were provided. Vegetation survey changing sites on two different facing slopes can be interesting. The accumulated data can be useful for future participants to compare the productivity or vegetation succession on the different slope aspects. It will be more productive for the summer school if a booklet including published research data is provided to participants. Any field lectures using the booklet will be fruitful to understand the geography and geomorphology. In the future, any joint research activities can return their fruitful data to the summer school. This activity stimulates participants who get hints for their researches to contribute further researches in the Aktru station.
Even in rainy weather, we have good opportunity to exchange our research activity through lectures and presentations. This program was also good for all participants. Lectures by Prof. Callaghan were impressive and powerful for all participants. For students, most of lectures were new and this new information can be confirmed through the excursion program. In this year, lectures seem to be much compared to field excursion due to the weather condition. However, it will be balanced between lectures and excursions. For participants of university stuffs, this is good opportunity to exchange our research activities. It will be seeds to construct next collaborative studies. Hopefully the Aktru station can be a good research base to achieve new collaborative researches. Many diverse topics from stuffs from different expertise can be fruitful to study this field. Handouts of lectures for participants could be helpful to understand.
The cultural programs were effective to enhance our friendship between participants from different countries. Since everybody has different culture and language, the mixer program was effective to get acquaintance each other. List of participants with e-mail address could be helpful to know each other faster. It was difficult for me to know names of participants. For further communication, e-mail addresses could be useful. Nowadays, for younger generation SNS communication is probably more useful than e-mail. However, name, affiliation and e-mail address are useful information.
We really appreciate for the financial support of our participation to this program and also for the management of this program. This opportunity can open mind of our students to foreign participants and open their eyes wider to the world research activities.