Field Station Use Policies

Making Reservations
Contact the Resident Directors to obtain permission to use the field station and to arrange for bunking space. Remember to ask for the current key-box combination for the field station. 

We do not accept reservations for "one-person-per room". Although you may initially be assigned a room to yourself, be prepared to share your room with others if they arrive during your stay. Couples may be assigned to a room with a double bed if there is no anticipated need for the other beds in the room. 

What to bring
You will need to bring all of your food, bathroom toiletries/towels, personal supplies for your research/class/activity, and a sleeping bag or quilt. 

What is provided​​​​​

  • Drip coffee maker with filters and a bean grinder! Filters are in drawer labelled "Coffee Supplies".
  • Recreational opportunities - ask reserve staff for suggestions, and see postings in the dining area.
  • A first-aid kit - in the glass cabinet next to the men's room door.
  • Outgoing mail is picked up before 9:00 Mon-Fri if left in the Reserve mailbox. Leave the "outgoing mail pickup" sign dangling out of the mail chute. We suggest you not leave mail in the box overnight.
  • Phone. The number is (707) 995 0739. Dialing out requires a calling card for non-local numbers outside of the Lower Lake area. You can receive incoming calls, and a message machine is hooked up to the phone.
  • Internet. There is one computer terminal for email access. The dining area is equipped with wireless. The connection is through satellite, so service is of moderate speed.
  • Some short-term storage space for equipment or large personal items can be arranged.
  • A classroom is available for use upon request. Some audio-visual equipment (slide projector, computer projector, overhead projector) is available for use through special arrangement with staff.
  • The lab workspace is available for use upon request. There is a fridge in the lab for refrigerating non-food items. A freezer is also available, but please arrange use of this freezer before storing samples.
  • A washer and drier are available upon request.
  • Bathrooms have one shower  and a place to stash some of your toiletries.
  • The kitchen is complete, with all necessary dishes, cutlery, and cookware. It has two stoves and two fridges, and cabinet storage space for dry goods.
  • The dining/lounge area has a TV with VCR and DVD players (TV gets no reception) and a few tapes/DVDs. Some games and free reading books are available.
  • Each bed has on it a fitted sheet and a pillow with pillowcase. Fresh linen is available for you to change the linens when you arrive.

Field Station Use Rules

  • When you arrive at the Field Station, please sign in. Make sure to indicate all days you are at the Reserve (including arrival and departure dates, even if you don't do field work on those days). The sign-in sheet is hanging from the kitchen counter, under the walkie-talkie radios. If you are a group leader, you are responsible to make sure that all of the people in your group sign in.
  • If you have not already done so, you and all members in your crew need to read and complete a Waiver. Spare forms are also hanging on the wall below the radios. Please leave completed forms on the kitchen counter, or hand them to Paul or Cathy. 
  • For safety in the field, we provide hand-held (walkie talkie) radios. One radio per field team, unless you've made other arrangements with Reserve staff. Instructions for the radios are posted next to the radios. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the radios before going into the field. Reserve staff and Homestake staff monitor the radios during regular working hours, and if we know you have a radio, we'll monitor it for as long as necessary. Why take a radio?  It is a long way to hike back to the field station if your car gets stuck. Or if you see a mountain lion, you may want someone to be aware of your safety concerns. Etc, etc.

Use of the field station and adherence to Use Rules is by the honor system, although Reserve staff are around enough that we'll notice if things are not running smoothly. You need to make sure you adhere to the general rules. There is no cleaning staff! If we grant you permission to use the field station, it is your responsibility to keep it clean for everyone who is there or may come after you, and to comply with all rules so that the field station functions well for all users. 

If there are any problems, kitchen implements you would like to see at the station, supply shortages (e.g. , getting low in coffee filters, cleaning supplies, etc), let us know.  Thanks!

General use areas

  • Clean up after yourself constantly (i.e. wipe down counters and tables, clean your dishes and empty the dish rack, keep the general-use areas cleared of personal items).
  • Each person must do 10 minutes of cleaning in the field station per night spent at the field station. The daily 10 minutes can be fulfilled daily, or can be accumulated for a few days to complete a more time consuming cleaning task. Example tasks: clean a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, compost bucket, bathroom sink, toilet, shower, etc. Sweep or mop kitchen, eating areas, bathroom, hallways. Clean all kitchen surfaces.   If you like, Paul and Cathy may have a special task which needs attention (eg there may be some weeding you could do in exchange for cleaning duty); if you're interested, ask us.
  • If you arrive late in the evening and leave early in the morning, please make sure you still squeeze in your cleaning task.
  • Make sure all exterior doors are locked if you are the last person out. If in doubt, lock the doors.
  • If you wish to watch a video/DVD, please consult other Reserve users to make sure you are not disturbing anyone trying to work. Similarly, if you are working in the general use areas, be respectful of those who may wish to quietly socialize or relax with a movie.
  • If you have personal items that you wish to have locked up, please discuss this with Reserve staff.
  • Please limit your time on the email computer in the library if there are others needing this computer for email.
  • Please limit your time on the phone if others are needing use of the phone. 
  • Please do not remove from the field station any of the reference books in the library . All books taken out of the library must be checked out on the sign-out sheet posted in the library. All books must be properly re-filed before you leave the field station.
  • Make sure you know the location of the first aid cabinet (next to men's room door) and familiarize yourself with all documents posted on the fridges in the kitchen.


  • When you arrive, change the linens on your bed if you wish. When you leave, please, just keep the linens on the bed, DO NOT change your linens or strip your bed!  Why do we ask this?  While we feel it is important to keep the matresses and mattress covers clean and provide you the option of fresh linens, and we are willing to launder one set per visitor because we are trying to prevent the yucky-mattress syndrome you may have encountered elsewhere, we don't relish the thought of doing more laundry than necessary. If you change your linens when you leave, the next person using your room may assume the sheets on your bed are used and will change the linens. . . .and make us wash clean linens unnecessarily. Not fun. Or if you strip your bed, the next person may  just sleep on the matress. . . .which we really don't want, and we're not thrilled with having to put sheets on beds that we find have been stripped (back to scenario #1).
  • Keep your bedroom neat. Please refrain from using the empty beds for storage. You may receive a roommate with little notice (although we try to provide notice as far ahead of time as possible).
  • Before you leave, and after you have packed up all your belongings, wipe down surfaces in the bedroom and sweep/mop the floor.


  • Not to over-emphasise the importance of coffee, but you wouldn't believe how many field stations I (Cathy) have used which left a coffee addict like me stranded high and dry. At McLaughlin, we know how important coffee is to some people!  The station has two drip coffee makers, a coffee grinder, and we provide filters too (in the "coffee supplies" drawer).  
  • We try to keep on-hand a supply of basic ingredients such as cooking oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and some spices. However, if you plan to use the field station for more than a few days, or if you are bringing a large group, please bring your own supply of these items.
  • The Reserve provides bottled water for drinking and cooking. The water that comes out of the sink is not intended for drinking or cooking, but it is fine for cleaning dishes, showering, brushing teeth, etc. Our main concern is that chlorination levels of the water fluctuate highly (the high levels can get pretty strong; this is a side-effect of using a water treatment system that was designed for processing thousands of gallons per day, but which now barely gets used for tens or hundreds). While the showerheads have chlorine filters on them, the taps do not. 
  • Trash: please don't throw out recyclables or compostables (see below). If trash cans get too full, please empty them and follow directions found on one of the kitchen fridges for trash disposal.
  • Please recycle. Clean all recyclables thoroughly; we do not want to attract animals to dried food residues, and we store our recyclables for months and don't want food residues to mold or rot. Recycling bins are located in the side-hallway between the men's and women's bathrooms. Please pay attention to the different labels above the recycling bins.
  • Please compost all vegetable or food scraps. . .yep, all. Even egg shells and bones. The compost bucket is beside the trash bin nearest the fridges. If a compost bucket is full, snap on the lid, put the bucket outside the north door of the field station, and set up a new bucket (found atop the fridges).
  • We don't tolerate gross fridges. We will regularly toss all unlabelled or what appears to be abandoned food in the fridge. This may include that food item you were hoping to eat for dinner if it is not labelled. So:
    1. Label all items you put in the fridge, and keep all your items as consolidated as possible (there are bins atop the fridge if you need, and you can label the bin for ease of labeling). On the fridge door is a list; please provide your name and your label, so that we know whose food it is and don't toss it because we think the owner is long gone.
    2. When you leave, take ALL your refrigerated items away, or if you donate them to a person who has agreed to accept them, please make sure the donee puts their label on the item so we don't assume you left behind a bunch of stuff.
    3. Keep all your unrefrigerated food in a cabinet and label the cabinet. When you leave, empty the cabinet and erase the label. You can leave unwanted dry goods in the "free" cupboard. If you will not be using the Reserve for several months, please take home your food instead of leaving it until your next visit in cabinet space that other Reserve users may need.