About The Weekend Field Trip (October 2-5):  Soils in our neighborhood formed in sandy parent materials, since post-glacial time, in a humid environment, under predominately mixed woodland and grassland vegetation.  Hence, chemistry and morphology of these soils are variations on a theme.   In order to "Grok in Fullness" the subtle differences between soils in our area we will have to spend some more time looking at them.  Hence, off we go to the upper Peninsula of Michigan valley.  We will depart Thursday at 2:00 pm (or thereabouts), and return Sunday evening.  The itinerary will be provided in class.  Students with scheduling conflicts will have to make arrangements with me to make up the work on an individual basis.  Further details and estimated costs will be provided as the semester progresses (I'm going for inexpensive here). 

About the Final Group PresentationsThe class will prepare a final presentation detailing the results of our investigation of soils at the North Star Site.  The final .pdf version of the technical report is due no later than the last lab period of the semester. 

Your final technical report must include the following components:

1.        Introductory section that addresses site and soil profile location, physical setting (specifically discussing the 5 soil-forming factors - climate, organisms, relief, parent material, time plus evidence of human activity), soil map unit assigned to the area in the County Soil Survey, the research question and research objectives.

2.        Field methods and lab methods used to conduct the research. 

3.        Research results including:  description of each soil profile examined including gross horizonation (boundaries and thickness); soil texture, structure, color, consistency for each horizon and subhorizon;  laboratory data on particle-size (and organic carbon content if there is time) for all samples collected in the field (if applicable).

4.        Discussion, Conclusion, Interpretation:  provide an interpretation of soil genesis for each soil pit citing observed supporting evidence (again, the five soil-forming factors must each be specifically addressed); classify the soil exposed in the wall of each soil pit to the family or, if possible, the series level using the County Soil Survey; discuss evidence of human modification of the soil profile; provide a discussion of appropriate land-use for the study site based on capability units and tabular data presented in the County Soil Survey.

5.        Graphics, Maps, and Photographs.: A proximity map showing the area near your study site with respect to the county, city or other appropriate geographical area; a map of the study area; photograph(s) of the area around and adjacent to each profile; photographs of each entire profile with appropriate scale shown; close-up(s) photograph(s) of significant physical features in each profile with a scale of reference (could be a tape measure, a trowel, and/or people); particle-size data table(s); organic carbon data table(s); photograph of the authors conducting their work at the site;

6.        Report organization.  The report format should conform generally to that of professional technical reports.  Such reports generally include the title, who (authors), where (location and physical setting), what (research question and objectives), how (methods), results (what you found), conclusions (how what you found ties back to your research question and objectives), and recommendations/implications of their work (what your conclusions mean in terms of some broader goal, in our case, what your soil research indicates is good and bad land-use in the area associated with your profile). 

7.        A note about computer hardware/software.  Preparing a technical report collaboratively requires file sharing.  Network drive space has been made available to the class.   


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