One of the main purposes of the NWFSC blog is to meet NW Forest Soils people. In our second installment, you will be introduced to your website manager -- me!
What is your title and where do you work?
I work as the Manager of Scientific Consultation in the Forest Resources Division at the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
How would you explain your job to a six year old?
Ha! No six year old has ever asked me what I do for a job. My four year old is only interested when I come home with my hardhat, orange vest, and knee-high rubber boots. At those times, I say excitedly “I worked in the forest today!”
My job description for a very young audience is: “I help protect forest habitat for endangered species.” Or, if I may offer one more, a 6th grade version is “I help agency staff implement the State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan and the Policy for Sustainable Forests.”
What made you interested in soil?
While working as a wetland consultant I took an online graduate course called “Reclamation of Disturbed Lands.” The professor (W. Lee Daniels) and I got talking and very soon thereafter I quit my job and found myself at Virginia Tech studying soils full-time! I was lucky to have some of the best teachers in the field and their passion was contagious. It just makes sense for anyone in natural resources to know about soil. Soil is the literal foundation of all ecological processes and is vital to all life on earth.
What is the most urgent policy decision/scientific research/or project related to soils that you would like to see accomplished?
Oh boy, there are so many things I would like to see accomplished! Digital soil mapping for local, small-scale forest management decisions is certainly near the top of my list -- but we're working on that in various arenas. The most urgent need is basic education and outreach. The best thing I heard recently was in response to a discussion of NRCS agency soils goals that could/should be accomplished by 2020. One audience member whispered to another “What we really need is 20 million people to know how soils function by 2020.” Now THAT is an admirable goal!