Special Memberships for Students
- monetary prizes are awarded to the three best papers (Bentley Award) and the three best posters (President’s Award) presented by students at the Annual Meeting.
- travel awards are available for students to attend the annual CSSS conference.
- Register now!
Picture Yourself … as a Soil Specialist
Soil is one of Earth’s most important resources. It provides nutrients for plants which in turn nourish animals and feed people. Soil also acts as a living filter for drinkable water. Mismanagement of this precious resource can result in disaster. In the past, civilizations have perished because they failed to manage soils properly.
Many Canadians depend directly on the soil for livelihood, and we all depend on the soil for most of our food. The role of the soil scientist is to manage the earth’s soils in order to ensure that they remain a sustainable resource.
Soil Science offers opportunities in diverse career fields. Here are just a few examples.
Agriculture / Forestry / Environmental Assessment and Land Use
Soil Specialists working in the agriculture field are involved in research, extension, and technology development and transfer in the fields of soil chemistry and fertility, soil management and soil conservation. They are on the front lines, helping to ensure the sustained productivity of the earth’s soil resources.
The relationship between soil characteristics and tree growth, ecosystem stability, effects of forestry practices on site quality and sustainable productivity and environmental integrity are all areas of interest for the soil scientist in forestry.
Environmental Assessment and Land Use
Soil scientists work closely with others in areas such as environmental inventory and monitoring, environmental impact and assessment, water quality and management and land application of wastes. Soil specialists also work with governments at all levels in land use planning.
Industry and Reclamation
Industry employs soil specialists to work on site development, and to provide ongoing monitoring of industrial activities to ensure environmental regulation are met.
Soil scientists play an important role in planning and implementing development and reclamation plans for industries such as mining and oil and gas. Their input is integral in industrial site de commissioning and in repairing damage after environmental accidents.
Soil specialists are also closely involved in planning and other phases of research and development projects in most areas of the life sciences (agriculture, forestry, biology, etc.)
Classification / Research
Pedologists are soil scientists who classify soils and prepare soil maps. They also rate soils according to their suitability for various uses, environmental risk and risk of erosion and salinity. Remote sensing and GIS technology are often used in these tasks.
Soil scientists carry out research – in the laboratory and often in the field. Opportunities exist for soil science researchers in government, educational institutions and private sector.
Soil Specialists Keep Good Company
Soil scientists are employed around the world with a variety of companies, institutions and agencies. Here is a sample.
- Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration
- Canadian Forest Service
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Environment Canada
- Provincial Departments of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Transportation
- Canadian University Students Overseas (CUSO)
- Ontario Association of Conversation Authorities
- Private companies in Forestry, Agriculture and Agricultural Products, Coal, Oil and Gas, Soil Remediation, Soil Survey and various other Environmental Consulting areas.
Your first step to becoming a soil specialist is to complete high school with the appropriate university or college entrance qualifications. Requirements may vary, so contact the university or college directly for more information.
Your career in soils begins with a Bachelors degree or diploma. While obtaining your degree or diploma you may study soil ecology; soil and plant interactions; contaminated soil cleanup and reclamation; how to farm soils; and generally what makes soils tick.
You will learn: that soils are the foundation of life on our planet; how soils differ; how they develop; and what uses they are capable of and suitable for. You will also study the interactions of soils and water and how soils affect the quality of the water you drink. Understanding these relationships and complexities will provide you with the tools to make an important contribution to keeping our soil resource in excellent condition for generations to come. You CAN make a difference.
After your initial soils studies you may decide, as many have, to continue your education through Masters, Doctoral and post-Doctoral studies, or through other courses interesting to you. Or you may find yourself in an exciting career in industry or government work.
For more information, contact any university or college which offers programs in earth sciences, agriculture, forestry, environmental science or natural resource management.