Looking back on February: An Update from Dan

Hello Everyone!

“Beyond the glass panes, small and dainty flakes of white fluff are descending to a frosted ground. They fall with balletic elegance, whirling and pirouetting in the air without haste or impatience, but with that timeless, bewitching charm only natural wonders seem to master. It is possible to gaze up into a bleached sky and watch these white, feathery angels parachuting from the clouds above and floating down towards the outstretched hands of ecstatic children, towards a couple courting beneath a street lamp, towards the bare forks of trees and towards the grey slated roofs. Soon, the pavement will look like a baker’s floured breadboard. Houses will sit under whitened crowns. Verdant lawns will be tucked underneath snowy fleeces.”

I actually wrote this shortly before Christmas last year and imagined it would remain in hibernation until the following December. But here we are in March, offering a certain easterly Beast a breather on his westward journey. And, oh what a cold breath he has! I hope, wherever you are, you’re keeping warm.

Last month, shortly after chairing the first ECR Regional Rep Conference Call for 2018, I began to re-launch our ECR Regional Reps across social media platforms, so that our members could re-familiarise themselves with the representatives in each region. Knowing who represents you is vitally important, so that your voice can be listened to and your opinions and ideas can be respected at national level. Our Regional ECR Reps are essential in channelling your thoughts to myself and, thus, to the BSSS Council. Our current representatives are as follows:

South East England: Emily Dowdeswell - e.dowdeswell@cranfield.ac.uk.
Wales: Paul George - afp67e@bangor.ac.uk.
Midlands: Ernesto Saiz - e.saiz.val@keele.ac.uk.
Scotland: Tom Inglis - tom.inglis@hutton.ac.uk.

Feel free to get in touch with your Regional Rep or, of course, myself on: student@soils.org.uk. As many of you will realize, we currently have two Regional Rep positions vacant: Southwest and Northern discussion groups, in particular. The role is not demanding and would be a boost for your CV. If you would like more information about the positions, or would like to make an application, please get in touch on student@soils.org.uk.

I have also been busy recently, assisting with preparations for this year’s Annual Meeting held at Lancaster University, which will be spotlighting the role of soil in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Early Career Researchers are especially welcomed at this event, and you can find out more details by going to: http://soils.org.uk/node/1175. I shall be in touch soon about a new, fun ECR Social Event I hope to hold at this year's Annual Meeting, so do keep the 3rd-6th September 2018 free, if possible!

February also saw the second edition of the PEDcast; my new monthly Soil Science podcast. This month, I dropped by a Spatial Datasets event in Newcastle, Nick Skinner from Poppyfish People Development talked about workplace relationships, PhD student Grant Campbell discussed his research and I spoke with Daniel Batcheldor, a professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, who is working with NASA to create soil on Mars. You can watch the whole programme, or a series of bite-sized ‘MiniPEDS’ here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOT81EW0ta8&t=2s. If you have anything for March’s PEDcast – as long as it’s soily, it could be anything – don’t hesitate to email me: student@soils.org.uk

Finally, I shall be attending the first BSSS Council meeting of the year later this month. If you have anything you wish to share, please get in touch. It’s what I’m here for!

May I wish you the very best for March, and whatever it holds for you, I hope it’s comfortably warm.

Dan Evans