Soil Scientists from around the world gather in Philadelphia
There were over 2,700 oral presentations and posters at this year's World Soil Congress. Topics ranged from molecular level studies to global perspectives on land degradation. The keynote speaker, Jeff Sachs (who is a Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan), noted that humans have had such a huge impact on the planet - we are now moving into the "Anthropo-cene". This is a change from the current name given to the past 10,000 years which is usually labeled the "Holocene". The United Nations is very interested in the world's soil resource as it is a major factor in hunger issues and political stability. As was noted in many presentations at the conference, the number of graduate students in soil academic programs is dwindling yet the need for research in soils is critical. The thin crust of soil that supports much of the life on this planet remains one of the least understood parts of the ecosystem.
Soil Judging Manual - Now available for download
As the school year begins anew, teachers and students can use the soil judging manual to use as a reference for soil judging activities. Thom Villars the Soil Resource Specialist in White River Junction USDA Service Center is the coordinator of the Soil Judging Program in Vermont.