See more from this Session: Innovations In Soil Science Education: I
Monday, October 17, 2011: 9:20 AM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 206B, Concourse Level
Soil science students love to be in the field – why not – that’s where the soil is. For the first 15 years of my career I took students on field trips to examine forest soils from different boreal ecosystems. Students worked in groups and classified soil profiles using traditional soil science techniques – texture, color etc as well as identifying under-story plant species and trees. Over these formative years I started to question: is this enough? Are there other ways to engage students using methodologies to enhance their learning experience in the field, to explore the relationships between soils and vegetation on a landscape? The methodological diversity I experimented with was art. For the past five years our course has been exploring how to incorporate drawing, painting and other creative processes into undergraduate and graduate education in our soil science field courses. Field courses are based at the University’s Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus which has a long history with the arts. Students spend a week at Kenderdine and are taught the basic techniques for drawing and painting. Participants are then allowed to use various mediums to capture the different soils and landscapes during the course in addition to classifying soil profiles. This interplay between science and art allows the students to experience a different kind of connection with the landscape. This presentation will outline the development of this creative engagement in these field courses, future directions for using soil pigments and the how this experience has impacted the students.