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Accolades in Spades

Recognizing soil and plant science professionals.

Team of the Quarter

Alaska field staff by the Unalakleet sign.

Alaska Field Crews

From nominator Jessica Lene-Ashley, Soil Survey Regional Director, Alaska Soil Survey Region: “I was recently asked what the Alaska field crews did that was novel. It was not the tasks they completed, although impressive, (but) the novel thing was the manner in which staff completed field objectives and accomplished their goals. The work ethic and team work demonstrated, and positivity maintained while working in less than ideal conditions is what is deserving of recognition. The team worked many more hours than their timesheets reflected. In the evenings, after a long day in the field, they came back to camp and discussed the soils they saw and keyed out plants they had observed. They took the time to enter their data in entirety, and complete quality control. They took care of each other and worked as a unified team. They took pride in their work. They chose to forgo more than a month of contact and quality time with their families while in the field, wore the hats of multitudes of professionals, and looked after one another day in and day out all while maintaining the highest quality of work output with the most incredible attitudes. I cannot say enough about the performance and conduct of this group. There was never hesitation, from any individual on my staff, or on detail to do what was needed regardless of the day of the week or hour of day. The work ethic of this group is beyond compare. This is what is deserving of recognition.”  

Alaska field staff standing by a helicopter.

Field Staff includes:

  • Stephanie Schmit
  • Michael Singer
  • Claire Benton
  • Abigail Clapp
  • Phillip Barber
  • Bryan Strong (Salcha Delta Soil and Water Conservation District)
  • Jeff Mason (Salcha Delta Soil and Water Conservation District)
  • Michael Sousa
  • Scott DeBruyne
  • Gabriel Benitez
  • Tyler Annetts
  • Blaine Spellman
  • Timothy Riebe
  • Krista Bryan
  • Cathelyn Wang
  • Syndey Lance
  • Jack Ferrara
  • Travis Nauman
  • Adam DeWolfe


Photo of Charles Kome.

Global Soil Partnership

Soil Scientist Kome Represents USDA NRCS at the 11th Plenary Assembly of the Global Soil Partnership in Rome, Italy

Since its creation, the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) has become an important partnership where global soil issues are discussed and addressed by multiple stakeholders. Key outputs demonstrate that the partnership was needed to fill an existing gap in the promotion of sustainable soil management globally. It was a great honor and privilege for Kome to attend the 11th Plenary Assembly of the GSP in Rome July 12-14, 2023 as Rapporteur. Read more ...

Infrared Spectroscopy Program

NRCS-SPSD Infrared Spectroscopy Program Highlighted in Keynote Address at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Soil Science

Rich Ferguson speaks at the 2023 annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Soil Science.

In late June 2023, Rich Ferguson (chemist at the Charles E. Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory in Lincoln, Nebraska) was invited to present a one-hour keynote address on the topic of soil IR spectroscopy at the 2023 annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Soil Science (CSSS). The meeting’s theme was “Soils Go Digital” and took place at Dalhousie University in Truro, Nova Scotia, with more than 250 Canadian scientists attending. Rich’s talk was entitled, “Overview of Infrared Spectroscopy for Estimating Soil Properties.” Rich also led two soil IR spectroscopy workshops, and after the conference, he spent a day with graduate students, post-docs, and faculty doing soil IR spectroscopy research. Overall, Rich represented NRCS-SPSD expertise in computational chemistry and soil IR spectroscopy. Based on Rich’s interactions with a broad cross-section of conferees, a clear benefit to Canada was Rich’s qualified support for progressive and organized soil IR spectroscopy science taking place in Canada. Read more ...

2023 National Cooperative Soil Survey Awardees

In 1999, the Soil Survey Division (now the Soil and Plant Science Division) created two awards to recognize scientists involved in the Soil Survey Program. In 2005, the NCSS Cooperator Achievement award was added. In 2019, the criteria for two awards, the NCSS Scientist of the Year and the NCSS Scientist Achievement awards, were expanded to include both technical soil and ecological site services and project soil and ecological site survey work. Nominations for awards are accepted from any individual, agency, or group in the NCSS.

Scientists of the Year:

Photo of Donald Parizek.

Donald Parizek, Soil Scientist, USDA-NRCS, Special Projects, Soil Survey Office, Tolland, CT 

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Photo of Matt Cole.

Matt Cole, Soil Scientist, USDA-NRCS, Soil Survey Office, Minden, NV

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Career Achievement Awards:

Photo of Ronald Collman.

Ronald Collman, USDA-NRCS, Illinois State Soil Scientist

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Photo of Luis Hernandez

Luis Hernandez, USDA-NRCS, Regional Director, Northeast Soil Survey Region

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