Soils project focus of event set at Giant City

Illinois soils tell both a story and reveal a history of how soils have changed over the centuries. 

To understand more, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign needs help from residents and landowners. 

During an upcoming free program, Andrew Margenot, Illinois Extension specialist and associate professor in the Department of Crop Sciences, part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, ACES, plans to visit Southern Illinois to share recent findings and to discuss how local residents can get involved with the Illinois Centennial Soil Archive Project. 

A key piece of Illinois’ agricultural heritage is a world-class, one-of-a-kind soil sample archive collected when local soils were first surveyed. 

As early as 1899, soil types across the state were mapped by sampling fields to three-foot depth and characterizing the distinct soil layers. 

Predecessors had the foresight to keep records of sampling locations and to store these soil samples on campus.

Margenot and his team have spent four years recovering and curating the archive of soils sampled from 1899 through the 2000s. 

With the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council, Illinois Farm Bureau and residents, researchers now want to resample these locations to identify how soils have changed over time in Illinois.

Margenot plans to discuss findings and share how landowners can contribute to the project during a free program at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the visitors center at Giant City State Park near Makanda.

To register for the program, visit go.illinois.edu/SoilArchiveProject. 

To learn more about the project or to discover a map with the location of sample sites, visit margenot.cropsciences.illinois.edu.

The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
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