June 2019: An Update from Dan

I am writing this on one of those days when the skies decide to ‘spring clean’ the Earth. Strong gusts are vacuuming the dust from the country lanes that run like skirting boards around green carpets of cropland and pasture. Clouds unite to form impenetrable ceilings of lead from which millions of droplets are preparing to polish the rooftops. As I write, my train carriage window is becoming freckled with a shimmering galaxy of watery stars. Is there anything more inspiring than a clouded day? Clouds are the plot ideas held in suspension by the sky, soon to become the future chapters of our rivers and streams, lakes and oceans. When we see clouds, we are gazing into the future...

When I opened the BSSS ECR Conference in Sheffield and gazed out over the faces of nearly eighty delegates from over thirty institutions, I realized that I was, once more, looking at the future. From that assembly would evolve the unpenned chapters of the future of Soil Science. As a Society we can be comforted in the conviction of our Early Career Researchers to address the issues and challenges that confront the century before us. We witnessed, in oral and poster presentations, a myriad of novel and impactful research agendas; issue-focussed, evidence-based and already enriched by the virtues of cross-fertilisation and interdisciplinarity. In our networking breakout sessions, and our photo quiz at the local Botanical Gardens, I witnessed the aggregation of new friendships and collaborations as well as the nurturing of existing networks and communities. I was inspired to hear many fascinating discussions unfolding in our two workshops – one on Careers and one on the Viva experience – spotlighting, if nothing else, that our Early Career Researchers are invested not solely in their research but in their career development too. And that, albeit one of the lesser-cited ingredients of a healthy Soil Science, is essential.

I congratulate Katy Faulkner on winning the Best Poster Presentation and Thomas Murphy who won the Best Oral Presentation, and thank all of those who helped me in convening the ECR conference: the chairs, the panel experts, the Office team, the Presidential team and, of course, the unfaltering beacons of support that are my ECR Regional Representatives. Leading the ECR Conference was an unparalleled honour, a privilege, and a particular highlight of my time as National ECR Officer.

We hope, in the next month or so, to send all delegates feedback on their abstracts and/or their presentation. In addition, if you would like any of the resources (i.e: Viva Game cards) in an electronic format, please email me: student@soils.org.uk

ECR Conference News Report: https://www.soils.org.uk/news/23-apr-2019/ecr-conference-2019-highlights

ECR Conference Photographs: https://www.facebook.com/pg/BritishSoilScience/photos/?tab=album&album_i...

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BSSS ECR Time Capsule - #BSSSTimeCapsule

Our Society Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO, visited the ECR Conference to view oral and poster presentations and to officially launch the BSSS ECR Time Capsule. This will be on World Soil Day 2019, and we hope many of you will be able to watch it being lowered into the soil. The capsule will be retrieved at our Society’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2047. More details on these events will be broadcast in due course.

The Time Capsule will, we hope, capture your experiences of being a BSSS Early Career Researcher. We are ideally seeking a diverse array of photographs, anecdotes, memories, papers, thesis acknowledgments, and indeed anything else you feel sums up your early career experience.

There are two ways to ‘deliver’ your contributions. First, you can send your items digitally to me (Dan) by emailing student@soils.org.uk. Second, you can post your items to the following address: Mr Dan Evans, c/o: British Society of Soil Science, Building 53, Cranfield University, College Rd, Cranfield MK43 0AL. We would encourage you to indicate your name on either the item itself or on a slip of paper attached to the item, and maybe your institution. More details are available on the Student Forum page of the BSSS Website.

The deadline to send in your contributions is the 31st August 2019. If you have any questions regarding the Time Capsule, please don’t hesitate to email me on student@soils.org.uk

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Finally, I would like to officially welcome Benjamin Butler to our team of Regional ECR Reps. Benjamin is now the representative for Scotland, and I know he is enthusiastic to hear from you.

I wish you all a fantastic June and I look forward to seeing many of you at the BSSS Annual Conference: 'Managing Soil Resources to Secure Our Future'. (Don't forget, the deadline to submit an abstract for this is the 4th July and early bird registration closes on 22nd July).

Best Wishes,

Dan Evans