A Reflection on Dr. Thomas C. Winter
All of us have mentors from different stages and facets of our lives and careers. As an undergraduate geology student in a “work-study” position with the USGS, I had the good fortune to work closely with Bob Shedlock, Dave Cohen, Lee Watson, and others on cooperative projects with Indiana Dunes National Park. We examined water resource issues in important freshwater coastal wetland systems. One of the first things my supervisors did was nudge me to the scientific literature on wetland hydrogeology and ecosystems… authors like Siegel, LaBaugh, Richardson, Mitsch, … but I quickly learned that hydrogeology literature was dominated by one T.C. Winter. I soaked it up and I learned from it. I wrote Dr. Winter (really…I handwrote him) asking for copies of papers. He replied. My undergrad experience morphed into Ph.D. research in “The Dunes,” under the direct guidance of Dr. Colin Booth. I worked hard to use the methods, ask the questions, make the observations, and interpret the natural wetland systems in the ways I saw Tom Winter work. He “held my hand.” And then, somewhat to my disbelief, Tom invited me to contribute to his session on Wetland Hydrology in the 1989 International Geological Congress. Following that session, he nurtured me through the preparation of my first significant national publication in the Journal of Hydrology.
In the years that followed, I was also somewhat stunned when Tom cited my research in his summative papers on the science of groundwater-surface water interactions, including “Recent advances in understanding the interaction of groundwater and surface water,” in Reviews of Geophysics, 1995, and “Relation of streams, lakes, and wetlands to groundwater flow systems,” in Hydrogeology Journal, 1999, and other works that included Don Rosenberry. My career has broadened over the decades, but I’m happy to say I still slog through peat examining wetland hydrogeology “problems” along headwater riparian systems in the upper Midwest. And I still periodically reach out to Don Rosenberry to stay plugged into and benefit from that unparalleled foundation in the science of groundwater–surface water interactions that was built by Dr. T.C. Winter. I’m not sure whose shoulders Newton stood on, but Tom Winter’s shoulders gave me the boost and the view I needed. If I have been at all successful, I owe a measurable part of that success to Tom Winter.
–Dr. Paul K. Doss