College of Agriculture

Chico State Hosts Humboldt State Students for Collaborative Soil-abration

Announced on: Thursday, Jan. 04, 2018

On Oct. 13, Chico State students with a strong interest in soil and rangeland management gathered with likeminded Humboldt State students to evaluate the dynamic landscape and unique soil profiles in North Chico. The event took place at the 240-acre Chico State rangeland near Meridian Road north of Chico. The aptly-named “Soil-abration” offers an opportunity for students of the two northern-most California State University campuses to delve into soil evaluation while also fostering a professional atmosphere among students, industry members and university faculty.

Chico State professor Garrett Liles was accompanied by Humboldt State professor Susan Marshall and soil scientist Andrew Conlin of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to share the dynamic geological story of the site and guide students through the process of soil characterization. During the event, students evaluated several soil pits and analyzed their profiles in order to develop a narrative of the carving of the soil topography through the channel over time. They studied soil horizons, color, pH levels, texture and structure for each of three variable pits spread across the range.

Liles said this was the second year that Chico State hosted this event, and he anticipates many more to come.

“Hosting Susan Marshall and her class is a great way to expose students to the diverse soils found at the University Rangeland and build community around soils, which are critical to civilization. My goal is for a comparable field trip to Humboldt County in the spring for my PSSC 451 class, ‘Soil Genesis and Classification,’” Liles said.

The event also served as a preparation for Chico State’s newly established soil judging team, which is composed of students with a shared interest in soils under the moniker, CSU, Chico Soils. Chico State students in attendance included Jacob DeVor, Daniel Godinez, Melinda Gonzales, Ty Hagberg, Jorge Lopez, Rick Nye, Julio Paredes, Suzette Turner and Paul Zerbe.

CSU, Chico Soils will be hosting the California Collegiate Soil Judging event in early March 2018, bringing students from across the state to compete for the opportunity to attend the national collegiate soil judging event in Tennessee later that spring.

For more information regarding CSU, Chico Soil, contact Liles at gcliles@csuchico.eduor visit his office in Plumas Hall 211.