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Posts tagged: soil survey

U.S. College Students Earn Title of “Earth’s Best” in International Soils Judging Contest

Left to right: Coach John Galbraith, with students Tyler Witkowski, Kyle Weber, Emily Salkind, Caitlin Hodges, Nancy Kammerer, Bianca Peixoto, Julia Gillespie, Brian Maule, and Coach Chris Baxter.

Left to right: Coach John Galbraith, with students Tyler Witkowski, Kyle Weber, Emily Salkind, Caitlin Hodges, Nancy Kammerer, Bianca Peixoto, Julia Gillespie, Brian Maule, and Coach Chris Baxter.

While many tuned in to watch the World Cup to see which team would become the globe’s soccer champs, others watched a competition of a different kind: one that named the earth’s best identifiers of slices of earth.

College students from the United States competed with teams from nine other countries to see who could best interpret soil. America took first and second in the inaugural International Soil Judging Contest. And American contest Tyler Witkowski also won second place overall of 45 contestants.

“Soil and land judging at the high school and college level is a baseline entry for young people to study the land and learn to read the landscape so that they can better manage and protect it,” said Maxine Levin, with the National Soil Survey Center of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.  NRCS is the United States’ premier private lands conservation agency, originally founded to conserve and map the nation’s soils. Levin helped prepare the contest and served as a judge. Read more »

Los Angeles Soil Survey Unearths Cradle of the City

Kit Paris and Randy Riddle with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service are taking soil samples in downtown Los Angeles. (NRCS photo)

Kit Paris and Randy Riddle with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service are taking soil samples in downtown Los Angeles. (NRCS photo)

It has been 88 years since the hammers and crowbars went silent. Sweat ran for more than a month as teams of workers smashed and destroyed Los Angeles’s original buildings between First, Temple, Spring and Main streets.

Construction began in the 1850s, and these buildings quickly became known as the cradle for an infant city. The footprint is now buried deep below present day Los Angeles City Hall and its adjacent park. It was not until March 2014 that local historians were reminded of this past for the second largest city in the United States.

It started last fall when a soil survey team from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) began to dig a soil pit in City Hall Park adjacent to city hall, as part of the agency’s soil survey. Read more »