131-5 National Soil Science Field Camp: Today's High-Tech.

See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: Innovations In Soil Science Education: I
Monday, October 17, 2011: 9:35 AM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 206B
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Mary Collins1, Dawn Ferris2, Nicholas Balster3, Birl Lowery4, Carrie Laboski5, Patrick Drohan6, Nicholas Basta7, Fred Madison5 and Michel D. Ransom8, (1)Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Elkader, IA
(2)Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI
(3)1525 Observatory Drive, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
(4)UW Madison, Madison, WI
(5)Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
(6)Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
(7)The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
(8)2004 Throckmorton Plant Science Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
At many universities soil science requirements do not include field experience.  In fact, many universities are eliminating course labs, especially field labs to cut costs.  As a result, students who take our classes and specifically soil science majors are not receiving the field knowledge that was once a basic component of a college education, especially in a field-oriented major.   Because of this lack of experience, agencies and companies are dissatisfied and frustrated that our soil science students are not ready and in some situations not qualified for the soil science job position advertised.  This “gap” in the education of soil scientists is increasing.   The geosciences have been offering a field camp for students continuously since 1911.  It is a tradition and a “rite of passage”.  As a result, there are over 100 US colleges or universities offering these camps in locations ranging from Alaska to New Zealand.  Our students also need a field camp.  Thus, the Soil Science Society of America is proposing a “National Soil Science Field Camp” (NSSFC). The proposed NSSFC would be modeled after the geosciences camps.  NSSFC would address/teach/train numerous field techniques of soil science ranging from the basic (e.g. how to properly dig a hole to observe hydric soils) to advanced skills (e.g. using GPS technology as related to field circumstances).  The purpose of this paper is to: i) present the concept; ii) discuss the details (such as the where, when, how of offering a camp); iii) assess the practical and financial feasibility; and iv) most importantly, determine the interest in the soil science community to offer a NSSFC.  The field camp will be taught by instructors representing universities, federal agencies, and private companies who will share their field knowledge and experiences. The participants may be upper-level undergraduate students to school teachers to senior environmental managers.    


See more from this Division: S05 Pedology
See more from this Session: Innovations In Soil Science Education: I