Fermi National Laboratory

Volume 24  |  Friday, May 18, 2001  |  Number 8
In This Issue  |  FermiNews Main Page


Peter Hamilton

Bird watching Fermilab's woodland area echoed with the calls of birds in the breaking dawn, and water gently lapped the shore of a pond. The site was beautiful without the presence of man. But people soon flooded in on Thursday, April 26, for Daughters and Sons to Work day.

The day began with Fermilab physicist and accomplished ornithologist Peter Kasper, carrying a scope and a pair of binoculars, leading a group of 16 (including me) onto a gravel road inside the Main Ring for the Early Bird Walk. We saw geese, a blue heron attending its nest, tree swallows and redwing blackbirds.

"This is probably the worst time of year for bird watching,"Kasper commented. "But one of the great things about Fermilab is that it's one of the best places for bird watching."

Fire Department presentation We returned to Wilson Hall to join everyone crowding together for a picture-taking session. We stood facing the wind, waiting for the photographers to take all the pictures they needed. Everyone burst into conversation after the final photograph, and we filed into Ramsey Auditorium to hear a talk from Director Michael Witherell.

The festivities began with presentations and tours including the Fire Department tour, a butterfly presentation, and a virtual reality demonstration, which my brother and I attended. Next, the two of us arrived early for the cryogenics show, and we watched host Jerry Zimmerman set up his performance. He made a Pepsi bottle blow up with a sound equivalent to an M-80 firecracker. It made me jump.

At noon, Chris Ader, my stepmom, rushed my brother and me to the tree-planting field, where there was a picnic lunch of hot dogs, potato chips and pop. We ate first, then grabbed three nearby shovels and hiked about 100 yards to where a man in an orange shirt with the Fermilab logo said he was sorry but there were no more trees. So we helped Maurice Ball, a Fermilab engineer, and his friend's son, Alex, finish up with their tree.

We hiked back to the picnic area and jumped into our car to stay on schedule. Chris, an engineer at Fermilab, was one of four presenters for "Go For It!"a panel discussion encouraging young women to pursue careers in science and engineering. Mayling Wong, the first presenter, talked about how she didn't initially go into engineering when she graduated from college, but changed directions because she found it was such an interesting field. Chris had also begun studying another field, biology, when she entered college. But she had always helped her father fix cars, handing him the tools he needed. She followed her interest and earned an engineering degree at Illinois Institute of Technology.

"It doesn't really matter who you are,"she commented during the presentation. "Boy or girl, if that's what you're into, then go for it one hundred percent."

Debbie Harris, a new mother, was comforting her baby girl in her arms as she talked about how happy she is to be in science and what a good place it is. Linda Spentzouris concluded by talking about taking care of important things in life, and the rewards of working at Fermilab even if you're having a bad day.

"Work is one of the best pain relievers,"she said. "At work, everything disappears."

After the presentation, we went to see the buffalo. As we drove up, they were not moving a muscle--save one, the tail muscle. Then everyone made a mad dash back to Wilson Hall at three o'clock for the DASTOW posters. We were able to snatch four posters. As we were leaving, we saw a father and his child heading the opposite way. They were too late for posters, but Chris gave her extra poster to them. He thanked her, and we headed out to Chris's office to make our own webpages and create a record of our memorable day.

  • Dastow participants

  • last modified 6/4/2001 by C. Hebert   email Fermilab