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UW-Stevens Point Soil Judging Team places second in National Soil Judging Contest

May 17, 2021

Soil students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point have been recognized nationally for their expertise and skills as future soil scientists.

A team of 19 students placed second overall in the 2021 National Soil Judging Contest, the highest placement ever for the UW-Stevens Point Soil Judging Team. The group also took first for identification and eighth for overall group judging. Eleven members of the team participated for the first time, and all team members have two or fewer years of experience in soil judging.

The contest requires students to identify, evaluate, classify and describe different soil profiles, with three components: description, classification and interpretations; soil texture; and identification of soil features. This year’s contest was held virtually, with 129 individuals and 22 university teams from around the country.

UW-Stevens Point’s individual winners included:

  • Emily Yulga – fifth place overall and second in the texture component
  • Nathan Stremcha – perfect pedon (soil sample) card
  • Mark Cook and Eli Halverson – tied for second in the identification component

“In soil judging, students are learning the exact skills (soil profile description and interpretation) that a soil scientist utilizes every day in the field,” said Bryant Scharenbroch, associate professor of soil and waste resources and the team’s coach. “For me, creating a soil profile description and interpretation is like working on a 10 to 1,000,000-year-old landscape puzzle. I love it.”