The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Collegiate Soils Team took first place overall in the 65th annual Region 3 Collegiate Soils Contest, held Oct. 18-21. The event was held in Champaign, Piatt and McClean counties in Illinois and was hosted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Participating in the event were 68 students from seven universities: UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, Purdue University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Southern Illinois University, Grand Valley State University and The Ohio State University.
The event involves intensive field study of soils and landscapes and culminates in both individual and group competitions, which test the contestant's abilities to accurately describe soil and landscape features and classify the soil using a scientific system called Soil Taxonomy. The contestants also determine limitations of the soil for specific land uses, such as building sites, roads and septic systems based on specific soil properties, and indicate if the soil meets criteria of a hydric soil for wetland determinations. Scoring is based on the agreement between the contestant’s descriptions and those of a professional soil scientist serving as the contest official. Illinois State Soil Scientist Ron Collman, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Scott Wiesbrook, from the Illinois Natural History Survey, served as the contest officials.
UW-Platteville students participating in the event were Abigail Field, senior soil and crop science and agribusiness double major from Wonewoc, Wisconsin; Brooklynn Hill, environmental science major from Appleton, Wisconsin; Tresa Jo Koopmeiners, junior soil and crop science major from Reedsburg, Wisconsin; Ethan Neumann, senior soil and crop science major from Concord, Wisconsin; Isaac Nollen, senior soil and crop science major from Pontiac, Illinois; Nicole Plenty, senior soil and crop science major from Delevan, Wisconsin; and Hope Saroka, sophomore soil and crop science and environmental horticulture major from Canton, Iowa. The team is coached by Dr. Chris Baxter, professor of reclamation, environment, and conservation and soil and crop science.
Field, Neumann, Plenty and Nollen placed second, third, fourth and seventh in the individual competition, respectively. The team took first place honors in both the group judging and overall competition. By placing among the top three teams, UW-Platteville qualifies for the National Collegiate Soils Contest to be held in Spring 2023 in Oklahoma. This marks the 24th time that the UW-Platteville team has won the regional competition since it started competing in 1973.
Funding for team travel and equipment was provided by the Segregated University Fees Allocation Commission and by donations made by alumni and friends to the UW-Platteville Foundation - Soils and Crops Teams Endowment Fund.
For further information, contact Chris Baxter at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/UWPsoils.