My name is Aiden Goldie and I live in Carbondale, Colorado, USA. For a living, I am a high school science teacher. I am passionate about creating equitable spaces in both education and outdoor recreation – also, climbing mountains! I think it’s important to understand reflect on the privileges we have afforded to us when touring in the backcountry. Every day I try to remind myself about how gosh darn cool snow is. It is not this uniform blanket of white but has so much nuance and so critical for life in harsh winter environments.
Why did you join the Community Snow Observations program?
While performing research for my Master’s in Natural Science Education, I focused my thesis on the way that students construct and identity as scientists in outdoor classrooms. I used the CSO project as a treatment to help students develop intimate connections to science and natural spaces.
What does the term Citizen Science mean to you?
Citizen science, or community science, is a collaborative data collection method to answer greater scientific questions. Community science done correctly involves community members performing science with professional scientists rather than for scientists. To me, community science highlights the idea that some research can only be done with the help of a community of people.
What is your experience/background in snow science?
The bulk of my time spent in the outdoors in a snow science mindset is in the context of backcountry skiing and ski-mountaineering. With a background in Ecology, backcountry skiing has always been a way to develop a critical scientific mindset while recreating in the outdoors. I recently acquired an AIARE Pro 1 certification that has helped me refine these skills in a professional setting. Professionally, I have been lucky enough to guide groups of students through snowy environments. These educational experiences in the outdoors are centered around snow science and greater ecological themes as well as providing students with meaningful experiences in the outdoors.
Why should more people join Community Snow Observations this winter?
I think there are many reasons to be engaged in community science projects like CSO. For me, it’s a way to give back to the greater scientific community with a small action on my part. CSO needs data from remote sites that backcountry skiers are well equipped to access. While touring into the backcountry, we are already equipped with the proper snow science tools to submit data. By then submitting data, we are also building a stronger foundation of information that can help us better understand our changing planet.