Looking back on March: An Update from Dan

Happy Springtime everyone,

Tunnelling a passageway through the soil, furnishing our beds and borders with elegance and vitality is a floral promise. A promise of longer days, and lighter evenings; a promise to banish the clouds and cast off the rain. This promise, once dormant under thick clods of earth, now stands tall and dainty; a yellow delicacy swaying to the music of Springtime...

This must be one of my favourite times of the year. Colour has, once again, emerged from hibernation and there’s a great sense of rejuvenation and renewal in the air. I very much hope that this spirit has found you too, and that you’re energized now for the Summer ahead. Indeed, for Soil Science, the warmer weather often means the return of more serious spells of fieldwork; the extra couple of hours I find can frequently boost the 'n' in my dataset, and the Vitamin D in me! Whatever you have planned for the Spring and Summer, may I extend my best wishes to you.

Speaking of extra warmth, I’m glad to report that over the last month or two, I have made some heat maps which illustrate quite effectively the zones where our membership is prevalent and those where we, as a society, may be able to focus our recruitment efforts. It is after all one of my objectives in this position to help build the membership, especially the ECR membership. Please can I encourage all of our ECR members to spread the word about what our society does and, of course, if you have any ideas about how we may be able to recruit additional members, do drop me a line: student@soils.org.uk If you are interested in seeing these heat maps, please let me know.

Last month, I was honoured to be welcomed by President Wilfred Otten to my first official Council meeting as the National ECR Rep. With the World Congress in August and our Annual Meeting in September, the meeting was expectedly busy. Quite often, ‘from outside’ the boardroom, these meetings may feel quite distanciated from your day-to-day experience as an ECR member. In stark contrast, these meetings exist for you and our agenda is partly dictated by you. No matter how small or large your comment, feedback or enquiry, I will always be glad to share your ideas to the relevant committees. So, do contact your regional reps or, of course, send your correspondence directly to me. If you wish to retain anonymity, this is absolutely fine and it will be dutifully respected at all times. I’ll be having another video call with our regional reps at the end of the month to collect feedback from around the country.

Many of our regional groups are holding meetings in the next month or two. Indeed, I am delighted to have been invited to speak to the Welsh Soil Discussion Group in a couple of weeks. For those in the Midlands, there is also an event in May at the British Geological Survey. The meeting is set to be an exhilarating examination into the links between soils and geology and there is even a tour of the BGS core store. As someone who has spent many hours in this core store, I can definitely recommend it. Find out more information here: http://www.soils.org.uk/event/1444

Finally, don’t forget to check out the latest PEDcast. In this programme, IUSS President Rattan Lal broadcasts his monthly message, Professor Mark Reed from Newcastle University has another tip for achieving research impact and Kyle Collins, an ECR at the Florida Institute of Technology, talks about a project to cultivate soil on Mars. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1dIWVY0egg

Tomorrow, I shall be journeying to Vienna for next week’s EGU (European Geosciences Union conference). If you’re going too, it would be great to hear from you: student@soils.org.uk.

Until the next time,