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Michael Abels

Michael Abels

Originally from New Jersey, Michael Abels came to Alaska in 1975 to study natural resource management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He worked as a student employee for Joe Nava at the animal care facility on campus and eventually shifted to work at the Toolik Lake Research Station, which is located at Toolik Lake at Mile 284.5of the Dalton Highway. The Toolik Lake Research Station was established in 1975 at the site of the former Toolik Camp road construction camp to support scientific research of the arctic tundra, wildlife and birds, geology/permafrost, and ecological systems of the region. In 1982, UAF's Institute of Arctic Biology took over management of the station, and the name was changed to Toolik Field Station. The station has hosted researchers from around the world, and as of the 1990s it is part of the Long Term Ecological Research Program of the National Science Foundation. Michael worked at Toolik as a student science support technician, logistics assistant, assistant operations manager, and field camp manager, all of which required many trips between Fairbanks and the station, so he became quite familiar with the Dalton Highway and road conditions. After forty years at Toolik and along the Dalton Highway, Michael also has observed environmental changes in the region. By 2006, he was Operations Manager for Toolik Field Station which is a year-round position overseeing all aspects of running and maintaining the station, supervising staff, supporting visiting researchers, and coordinating logistics of transporting supplies and people. From ensuring safety compliance and certifications to handling technical logistics for meetings, Michael kept Toolik Field Station running smoothly, and was often the first point of contact for researchers interested in working there. He also served on the design teams for all major Toolik facility upgrades, was presented the University of Alaska Merit Award in 1989, and received the Chancellor’s Cornerstone Award in 2021 for sustained outstanding contributions toward accomplishing and enhancing the UAF mission. After 45 years, Michael Abels retired in May 2021. Learn more about Toolik Field Station.

Michael Abels appears in the following new Jukebox projects: