Looking back on January: An Update from Dan

Hello everyone,

It feels like just a few days ago that I sat down and wrote my New Year’s ReSOILutions. However, a month has passed already! There’s already a fine film of dust over the Christmas baubles and though we gaze out onto frosty mornings with dreams of summer, we realize that Spring – that season of hope and renewal – will be around soon enough. I hope you’ve had a wonderful January.

I am sad to report that no more than 32 days in to a new year, and I have already abandoned my own, personal New Year’s Resolutions. My first date with Rye Bread didn’t go well and I’m now back on the Crumpets; so much for being more healthy in 2018. However, I am pleased to say that, despite this falling through, I am still keeping my New Year’s ReSOILutions.

Society: “We know that soil functions better when aggregated and so too does our society”. In my first weeks of being ECR Rep, I have had the great pleasure of speaking to nearly every Regional Group Chair across the country, getting to know a little about each one and discussing how we can make everyone feel like they ‘belong’ to the society. I am eager to bring us, as ECRs, together more often and I have just submitted a proposal to BSSS about one such event that could take place later this year. I’m also delighted to say that this month, on the 22nd February, two of our regions – Northern and Scottish - will come together for a day to talk about the use of Spatial Datasets in Soil Science. This will be an excellent event and it’s not too late to register. Go to: http://soils.org.uk/event/1344

Outside: “I want us to reach out beyond our labs and offices and continue to inspire another generation of soil scientists to join our society”. This is, of course, extremely important for the sustainability of BSSS. I had some interesting discussions with Jack Hannam and Jenny Jones in January about the ways we can ‘reach out’. It may be slightly premature to be thinking about Open Farm Sunday taking place in June but this is a great opportunity to show non-members the fascinating work going on within the world of Soil Science. I have an idea up my sleeve which I’m sketching out in my head at the moment and if you too have a creative, fun, eye-catching idea and would like to trial it out, do let me know by emailing me..

Innovation: “I am keen to think innovatively not just about the ways we communicate but in other aspects of our year such as the ECR”. I think I championed this reSOILution the most last month, with the production and launch of a new pedological podcast: the ‘PEDcast’. (Watch the first, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPX6cX2nYHs ). Rather than write post after post on here, I decided that once in a while it would be nice for us all to receive the content in a slightly more interactive way. The PEDcast will come out at the end of each month and will feature, among many things: a BSSS Forthcoming Events guide, PEDBites ‘News Snippets’, and a special guest interview. In our inaugural PEDcast, I spoke to Professor Mark Reed from Fast Track Impact and do check out his tips for achieving genuine research impact. Next month, I’m speaking to Nick Skinner from Poppyfish People Development about the ways we can think innovatively as Soil Scientists. If you have an item for any part of the PEDcast, do let me know by emailing me.

Listening and Learning: “You are at the very heart of my reSOILutions and indeed my final one is to listen and learn from you.” I am easily contactable, but do also have conversations with your local Regional ECR Rep. (Currently we have vacancies in the Northern and South-Western groups; if anyone would like to find out more about the role, or apply, do send me an email). But Emily Dowdeswell (SEESoil), Paul George (Welsh), Ernesto Saiz (Midlands) and Tom Inglis (Scottish) are there to listen and learn from you, too. I am looking forward to Skyping all four of our current reps in a call later this month.

All that leaves me to do now is to wish you a very happy February. Check out the PEDcast and don’t forget my email is student@soils.org.uk and my Twitter is @DanEvansol

My very best wishes to you,