Peter Kirchner may have been born in California’s San Fernando Valley, but his heart and mind have always been close to the mountains. Much of his life has been spent living in Mono County, where he worked at a wilderness scout camp at age 15.
In the mid-1990s, he was a training officer for the Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team.
So when Professor Roger Bales, director of UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), invited him to work with him on a project in 2006, Kirchner knew it was a chance of a lifetime.
“I had just completed my master’s, and I came here to help (Bales) build a prototype hydrologic observatory, with an understanding that I would eventually begin a Ph.D. program,” Kirchner said.
Now, Kirchner is well on his way to earning his doctorate in environmental systems. He’s part of SNRI’s Mountain Hydrology Research Group, which is studying the impacts of climate change on the hydrology of mountain ecosystems.
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