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Mr. Ian Yesilonis Mr. Ian Yesilonis

Soil Scientist: Did you know more living individual organisms are in a tablespoon of soil than people are on Earth? Usually people donít know a lot about soil, and without it, our lives on Earth would be very different.Soil is important to our daily health and holds the evolving history of our planet.
Soils do a lot of things, like provide footing for plants to grow, homes for worms and insects, and filtration for water.
I enjoy playing in, learning from, and unlocking the mystery of soils. My favorite science experience is when I am out in a field, with a soil corer in hand; ready to discover something new about soil. Often, I feel like a detective, investigating the soil structure below the surface to search for the unique story it has to tell. To figure out the story, I first survey the area and look at the landscape for markers like hills; I look at the rocks to see what they are made of; I look at the plants, the streams, and the rivers. All of these first insights give me an idea of how the soil developed and how it interacts with the current environment.
Next, I get out my auger, dig out a soil sample from the Earth, and lay the samples down systematically to create a soil profile on a ground cloth. Then, I feel the soil, look at its color, and shape, and sometimes I even smell it. Combined, this information can tell me a lot about the soil. Using the soil profile, I can identify (1) if erosion took place hundreds of years ago, (2) if the area has been farmed or plowed, (3) how quickly water may or may not move through it, (4) if worms or mammals have made it their habitat, and (5) if the soil is old or young.For me, the best experience is going out into the field with my auger, on a nice sunny day, prepared to uncover the secrets of the soil.