Wednesday, November 4, 2009: 11:30 AM
Convention Center, Room 411, Fourth Floor
Most environmental professionals come from biological, ecological and other disciplines that lack adequate knowledge about soil. Many of these individuals have virtually no background in soil physics, particularly as it relates to water movement and transport of pollutants. These professionals regularly attend our workshops and seminars on land-based waste management systems, wetland functions, and environmental monitoring. Teaching principles of water movement and transport of pollutants through the vadose zone and ground water to them provides a number of challenges. For one, many of them and to some extent some soil scientists as well, are not fond of mathematical equations and will lose interest in the presentation if Darcy’s law or other formulas are presented without adequate background preparation. The challenge to the teacher is to find ways to keep these students interested in the lecture by using innovative approaches. This can be done using examples from daily life that are made understandable using slides and handouts. Each year, we train a significant number of professionals in areas related to soil hydrology by balancing the teaching of the principles of soil water movement and pollutant transport without relying on mathematical formulas. Some of these presentations are available to others for training professionals throughout the United States.