UNH Senior Tyler King is
A) an inventor,
B) an Hydrology major,
C) an inspiration,
D) a vegetarian,
E) dedicated to a sustainable future,
F) All of the Above.
If you guessed F, then we are all in good hands as Tyler finishes his senior year at UNH and simultaneously starts his first year in graduate school.
Tyler is one of a handful of Earth Science students who study the science of water and more specifically, works in the field of groundwater resource protection. At first glance he is an unassuming, hardworking mountain man, a typical student at UNH. Just like the groundwater systems he works to protect, there is more to the story below the surface. Break through that layer and Tyler reveals that his motivation lies in his desire to protect one very precious resource – fresh water.
Like the river runs through, so does the theme for Tyler’s life – he is driven to make all things he touches better. His motto is: “Whatever you can or believe you can do, begin. For in boldness lie genius, power and magic.” When asked who had inspired him, he said “Everyone! It is impossible to have an interaction with someone and not have it influence who you are. Everyone has an affect on everyone else. We are the sum of our experiences.”
Following is some of the sum of Tyler King.
Calling NH his “home,” he was raised in a traveling military family. To this end, Tyler’s parents chose to home-school their children “to provide constancy throughout
a constantly changing environment.” Tyler self-schooled once he reached the equivalent to his junior year and then enrolled in college to simultaneously take his senior year and first year of college courses. Influences of note are his parents, an older brother, and younger twin sisters adopted from India, and his grandparents – one grandparent he grinningly likens to Socrates with an “unwavering dedication to fostering curiosity.” In addition, Tyler tips his hat to two UNH advisors, Matt Davis and Sheila McCurdy, his professor Rudy Seitz and his supervisor at Housing Nate Hastings who all have provided encouragement, direction and fostered his confidence
Tyler lives eyes and ears wide open. On the direction and urging of a UNH friend he applied for and won a prestigious NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) Hollings Scholar research fellowship to work with faculty members at any NOAA facility in the United States. Tyler chose Alaska, “because it was somewhere I wanted to go, but otherwise could not have afforded.”
During his 10-week program in Alaska, Tyler developed, prototyped and implemented a hydrologic
model at the Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center to forecast river temperature. In short, temperatures in the world’s rivers are changing. When stream temperatures rise, we lose precious spawning grounds because it isn’t cool enough for fish to spawn.
Tyler’s prototype bridged the gap between the environmental attributes (weather) and biological behavior (fish spawning) by linking weather conditions to water temperatures thus guiding conservation efforts on where to focus resources today in an effort to save viable spawning grounds for the future. The prototype continues to undergo testing with promising results.
Tyler’s senior thesis hits a bit closer to home. His work on the Spruce Hole Aquifer directly impacts
a water source for UNH and the Town of Durham. He is measuring the “recharge” or the filling back up of the aquifer, from snow melt. Tyler has constructed a snowmelt lysimeter with buckets, tubes and measuring devices to determine the volume and timing of snowmelt , as well as the chemical composition of that water.
During Tyler’s free time he hikes. Well, as you might have guessed, he doesn’t just hike; he is a leader for the UNH Outing Club with a hankering for sunrise hikes, which mean hiking through the dead of night to reach the peak by the inspirational “show time.” While Tyler loves the hikes, he dislikes being too cold or too hot – How do you find middle ground? You tear apart some outerwear and sew the bright red arms of a down jacket to the black wicking core of a runner’s shirt. The official prototype, created with the help of NH’s own Ragged Mountain Sports, displays the company’s tag and is made of a black Polartec Power Stretch Fleece core and arms of bright blue PrimaLoft synthetic down.
Tried, tested and true, volunteers wearing the Bear Hug riding a loaned Hamel Recreation Center Stairmaster under the infrared gun, borrowed from the Durham Fire Department, in the 25 degrees of the Holloway Commons freezer stayed comfortably “just right” during product testing for WSBE’s Holloway Innovation to Market competition. Although Tyler didn’t win the competition outright, the proof is in the HoCo pudding, he won double the money it cost him to make the official
proto-type - $250.
Completely down to earth, Tyler also holds a job as a Community Assistant at Woodside Apartments. He joined the team mid-year, however, he leads like a fullyear returner and is constantly on the move. The future for Tyler looks full and bright, as he hopes to be selected as a Fulbright Scholar to study water rationing and use by indigenous people in developing countries, in order to be better equipped to help manage future water shortages. In ten years Tyler will be doing exactly what he is doing now, promoting sustainable use of a precious resource. His advice for current UNH students? “Never forget what
“it’s” all about.”
Tyler has boiled “it” down to just one thing – WATER.