MARTIN, TENNESSEE – The Clemson University student soils team has shown its soil prowess again!

The Muddy Tigers go down into an earthen pit to study its soil profile.
Image Credit: Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

The team, Muddy Tigers, just returned from the National Collegiate Soils Contest at the University of Tennessee – Martin, where it placed 10thin the group contest and 13thoverall out of the 22 teams competing. The Muddy Tigers is a Creative Inquiry (CI) project led by professors Dara Park, associate professor of soil and water science,and Bill R. Smith, professor of crop and soil environmental science. The team competed in the national contest after it placed second in the regional contest held in November 2017.

“This is a huge accomplishment for our students,” Park said. “It was a great experience and the knowledge they gained from preparing for and competing in this contest is something they will be able to use throughout their careers.”

Students on the winning team are: Caleb Beigay, a junior plant and environmental sciences major from Easley; John Nisbet, a sophomore plant and environmental sciences major from Irmo; Emily Outen, a senior conservation biology major from Columbia; Anna Scott, a senior plant and environmental sciences soil and water major from Lancaster and Hunter Seiders, from Atlanta, Georgia. Seiders graduated from Clemson in December 2017 in plant and environmental sciences. In addition to the team’s success, Scott placed 7th out of 88 students in the individual contest and will compete in the International Soils Contest in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Clemson students and members of the Muddy Tigers placing at the National Collegiate Soils Contest are (top row from left) Anna Scott and Emily Outen. (Bottom row from left) Hunter Seiders, Caleb Beigay and John Nisbet.

Clemson students and members of the Muddy Tigers placing at the National Collegiate Soils Contest are (top row from left) Anna Scott and Emily Outen. (Bottom row from left) Hunter Seiders, Caleb Beigay and John Nisbet.
Image Credit: Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

The soils contest involves students going down into large earthen pits where they examine a soil profile and describe its natural characteristics. They use this information along with geography, topography and soil chemical information to identify what the soil can be used for and determine the potential extent of soil erosion and water runoff.

Soil judging is the field component of a branch of soil science called pedology, which is the study of soil in its natural setting. Pedology encompasses the formation, chemistry, morphology and classification of soils. The study of soils helps people better understand proper use and management of soils to increase quality of life and protect natural resources.

The Clemson University Soils Team is a multi-semester project – up to 3 hours in spring and fall semesters. Students on the team are expected to take part in these activities: characterize a soil profile, identify relationships between different soil characteristics and determine for what the soil can be used for, learn how to work together as a team, and network with other students, faculty, as well as state and federal officials. For more information, contact Park at darap@clemson.edu

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