2021 CSSS Fellow Award Recipients

2021 Honorees

Fran Walley
University of Saskatchewan
Newton Lupwayi
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada


Don Flaten
University of Manitoba (Retired)
Bing Si
University of Saskatchewan
Jim Miller
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (Retired)

2021 CSSS Fellow Award to Dr. Fran Walley

All nominees for the CSSS Fellow award have made outstanding contributions to Canadian soil science but the breadth of Dr. Fran Walley’s contributions are particularly noteworthy. Dr. Walley was first hired into a joint Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist position in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan at the time when the adoption of pulse crops was underway in the Canadian Prairies. As a novel crop there was a need to research many aspects of pulse agronomy at both scientific and practical levels, and this was the main focus of Fran’s early research career. A second major emphasis of Dr. Walley’s research career was her more fundamental research on nitrogen and carbon compounds in soil using synchrotron-based techniques at the Canadian Light Source (CLS). During construction of the CLS, Dr. Walley saw the great potential of the CLS in soil science and trained herself as a synchrotron scientist. This ability to see the potential of novel techniques and approaches is a hallmark of Dr. Walley’s leadership throughout her career. A third and continuing thread to Dr. Walley’s research career is a concern about the sustainability of current cropping practices on life in the soil, specifically the microbial community. Her research has made a lasting impact on our knowledge of soils and agronomy but her contributions to soil science extend far beyond this.

A major current contribution is her role as co-editor (with Dr. Maja Kryzic) of the forthcoming Introductory Soil Science E-textbook for Canadian students. This project began during Dr. Walley’s time as president of the CSSS and came from her long experience as an instructor at the first- and second-year level in soil science at U. of Saskatchewan. Although many instructors prefer teaching at upper-year levels, Dr. Walley believes strongly in the importance of introductory teaching and has been a superb teacher of introductory courses.

In addition to her classroom contributions Dr. Walley has also been a leader in administration at the department, college and university levels. One noteworthy aspect of her time as department head was her championing of award nominations for her faculty colleagues and they received numerous college, university, and societal awards under her leadership. This raises the profile of the department and the discipline and ensures that soil science remains a well-respected member of the university and scientific community. In her role as Associate Dean (Academic) she has been a strong advocate for Indigenous students and programming in the college and served on several university initiatives in this area. She introduced an innovative diploma program for Indigenous land managers and participates directly in this program as well.

Dr. Fran Walley has made a deep and lasting impact on the soil science community and is a very worthy recipient of a Fellowship in the Canadian Society of Soil Science.

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2021 CSSS Fellow Award to Dr. Newton Lupwayi

Newton Z. Lupwayi is a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada with more than 25-yr of service, first at the Beaverlodge Research Farm and currently at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre in Alberta. Dr. Lupwayi has a B.Sc. in Agricultural Science from the University of Malawi, and received his M.Sc. in Soil Chemistry and Fertility from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland before obtaining a Ph.D. in Soil Microbiology from Lincoln University, New Zealand.

A long-standing member of CSSS for more than 20 years, Dr. Lupwayi has made significant contributions to soil science in Canada. He is widely-known across Canada, and internationally for his leading research on soil microbial community composition, diversity, and functioning in agroecosystems. Particularly, he evaluates the environmental sustainability of crop nutrition and crop protection strategies by observing the impacts of agricultural practices on the soil microbiome. For example, his recent work on “Profiles of wheat rhizobacterial communities in response to repeated glyphosate applications, crop rotation, and tillage” was recognized with the 2021 Editor’s Choice award from the Canadian Journal of Soil Science. Furthermore, Dr. Lupwayi is a renowned expert on nutrient release from organic soil amendments (including crop residues), biological nitrogen fixation, and endophytic bacteria.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Lupwayi has been actively involved in CSSS Council as its Secretary (2006-08) and then as Editor (2015–16), and Editor-in-Chief (2017–18) of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science. On many occasions, he has judged student oral and poster presentations as CSSS Annual Meetings. He has provided research training to many summer and cooperative education students over the years, and supervised two post-doctoral fellows working on soil microbiology. In addition, he was active in the provincial Alberta Soil Science Workshop Organizing Committee for 4 years, and was the Chair for its 50th Anniversary Workshop in 2013. Dr. Lupwayi did an exemplary job of leading the organization of a memorable and exciting meeting that celebrated half a century of advances in soil science.

Dr. Lupwayi is a prolific researcher of international stature who produces award-winning, highly-cited papers that advance our knowledge of soil biological health in innovative agricultural systems. He has been recognized on three occasions with “Best Paper” awards from the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. In addition to his leadership at the helm of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science, he is a long-time Editorial Board member of the top-ranked international journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, and was a 4-yr Associate Editor for Agronomy Journal. With the surge in interest in soil health in recent years, Dr. Lupwayi has become a highly sought-after speaker for farmer conferences and workshops in Alberta, and across the Prairie provinces. He effectively communicates the complexity of soil ecosystems to a general audience, and as such serves as a ‘soil ambassador’ to the community at large.

It is with great pleasure that the CSSS acknowledges Dr. Newton Z. Lupwayi’s fine qualities and dedication to soil science by bestowing upon him the prestigious honour of CSSS Fellow for 2021.

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2021 CSSS Fellow Award to Dr. Don Flaten

Don Flaten (Ph.D., FASA, FCSSS; Retired Professor at the University of Manitoba) has been a member of the CSSS since 1978 and has continually been generous with his time and talents to the society. Don’s contributions to the CSSS include service as Treasurer (2003-2008), Chair of the local arrangements committee for the 2013 Annual Meeting Conference in Winnipeg, authored 18 papers in CJSS, more than 37 manuscript reviews for CJSS, and the 2009 recipient of the CSSS Soil Science for Society Award.
Don cultivated his interest in agronomy while growing up and contributing to the family farm near Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He received his B.S.A. (1978), Agronomy Major, with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan, and Ph.D. (1989) in Soil Science from the University of Manitoba. Between these academic milestones, Don was a District Agriculturist (1978-1980) in Alberta and the Provincial Soil Specialist (1984-1987) in Saskatchewan. Don has worked in and/or visited many of the rural municipalities in the Prairies throughout his career. Students are often pleasantly surprised that he knows their family farm and also that of their relatives.

Dr. Flaten is nationally and internationally recognized for his research in soil fertility processes, especially phosphorus dynamics in Prairie soils and production systems. Don has also been recognized for his career contributions as a Fellow of the American Agronomy Society. Don is known for his unparalleled commitment to teaching excellence and student success with every student at the Diploma, Degree and Graduate level in Manitoba since 1998, learning soil fertility from him. This dedication and care to students is recognized with 12 major teaching awards. His service to the University of Manitoba has included being the Director of the School of Agriculture (1987-1999), Associate Dean in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (1990-1994), Chair of the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment (2008-2012), Chair (2012-2019) and Student Advisor (2014-2019) of the Agronomy Major Degree Program. Dr. Flaten continues to be frequently sought for his insightful, sound, and practical advice in soil fertility to farmers and industry on the Prairies. His contributions to extension have been recognized in eight major outreach awards.

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2021 CSSS Fellow Award to Dr. Bing Si

Dr. Si obtained his B.Sc and M.Sc in China, and in 1998 he earned his Ph.D from the University of Guelph. He started his academic career at the University of Saskatchewan as Assistant Professor in 2000 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2005 and Professor in 2009. Over the past 21 years, Dr. Si made a significant and measurable impact in serving CSSS.

Dr. Si is recognized internationally for his contributions to soil physics and ecohydrology. Dr. Si is especially known for characterizing soil spatial variability at the landscape scale, unraveling the “hidden” ecohydrological function of deep soil, and revealing the “unseen” eco-pedological impact of minor textural contrasts in a soil profile. He developed the theoretical relationship between water-conducting soil macroporosity and infiltration rates. His research on soil thermal properties and their interactions with other soil properties and processes has improved the performance of land surface models. He pioneered quantification of ecohydrological processes in deep soil, the results of which are incorporated into the crop rotation planning by farmers and reforestation policies and practises in Canada and China. He has created a sub-field of soil science: quantifying scale-specific variability in the landscape to unravel the complex interaction of underlying soil processes. His findings on the impact of minor textural contrasts across a soil profile have been utilized by industries operating in Canada’s oil sands to improve biodiversity and in-turn the success of post- mining reforestation, saving these companies millions of dollars.

Dr. Si is a popular and supportive supervisor, a mentor, and an extraordinary teacher to his students. Dr. Si is dedicated to student success and to ‘soil’. Soil physics is often viewed as an intimidating subject. He makes his teaching approachable to many students through inclusion of conceptual models, lab experiences and field trips, photos and videos, in-class discussions and critical analysis of facts, myths, and misconceptions in soil science. Dr. Si has developed graduate courses based on current developments in soil science, such as a course in spatial statistics, and ecohydrology. Additionally, he has developed a joint-training program between China Scholarship Council and University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Si has trained a new generation of soil scientists who carry his legacy and expand their research programs in different corners of the world, advocating for Canadian soil science education. 15 of his PhDs and PDFs have secured positions in Canada, China, Japan, and New Zealand.

Dr. Si has been an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Soil Science, and an editor for their special issues. He has co-authored publications sponsored by the CSSS and has contributed more than 20 papers to the Canadian Journal of Soil Science. Dr. Si has also served as an editor and associate editor for several international journals.

Dr. Si is one of those few soil scientists that make such a multifaceted contribution to our discipline. Dr. Si’s deep commitment to research and teaching of soil science is an example of exemplary service and speaks of a broad and substantive contribution to the public.

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2021 CSSS Fellow Award to Dr. Jim Miller

Dr. Jim Miller is currently an Honorary Research Scientist with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at the Lethbridge Research & Development Centre, Lethbridge, AB. Prior to his retirement in March 2020, he was a Senior Research Scientist in Water Quality with AAFC. He earned B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Ph.D in Soil Science from the University of Alberta (1989).

Jim has been an active member of CSSS since 1985 (37 years). He served as Western Councillor and supervised the CSSS website (2006–07), sourcing and uploading photographs of past CSSS Fellow awardees. He actively supports the CSSS Annual Meetings, presenting many orals and posters over the years, while also judging student competitions. Jim is an ardent champion of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science publishing 45 papers in the journal since 1985, an incredible 40 of them as first author, which is a record in the journal’s history.

Jim has achieved a significant and lasting career legacy since joining AAFC in 1991. He is internationally recognized for his innovation and impact in agri-environmental research, focusing on soil and water quality, soil productivity and biodiversity, and manure and fertilizer beneficial management practices. His goals always strived to reduce environmental threats from excess nutrients, pathogens or pesticides. Jim’s early research demonstrated the benefits of no-till, which further encouraged its adoption on the Canadian prairies. The field experiment he established in 1998 on optimum rates of stockpiled and composted beef feedlot manure for irrigated cropping is ongoing some 23 years later and has generated many valuable research papers and conference presentations.

A career highlight for Jim was his 9 years at the helm of the Alberta watershed of the national Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices (WEBs) project (2004–13). Under his guidance, this multi-agency project assessed the impact of streambank fencing, off-stream livestock watering, perennial land cover, manure management, and riparian buffer strips, on water quality in the Lower Little Bow watershed. The WEBs project garnered a national and international reputation for cutting-edge watershed-scale research. It’s success led to its integrated template, bringing researchers and farmers together, being embraced by AAFC’s new Living Labs Initiative.

Jim has an exemplary publication record, with 113 peer-reviewed papers, and a h-index of 23. His top-cited paper has 125 citations. In the last 4 years (2017–20), his productivity has been outstanding, with 28 papers, an exceptional 24 of them as first author. Jim’s door is always open to colleagues, students, and visitors. He has co-supervised MSc and PhD students, and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alberta.

Jim resides in Lethbridge, and is active in the local volunteer community, including the University of Lethbridge Senate. He plays classical guitar, mandolin, and Irish flutes and whistles. He enjoys listening to music, reading, golf, fly-fishing, going to the gym, and attending live music and sporting events.